The primary, overriding mission of the Burke Medical Research Institute (BMRI) is to develop novel therapeutic approaches that give hope to the acutely and chronically disabled. We are pioneering new therapeutics that impact the growing prevalence of neurological disability from stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury to neurodegenerative diseases and retinal degenerative diseases.
The growing prevalence of disability is a paradox of progress in the United States and the world. Even as we find more effective and technologically advanced ways of reducing the risk of diseases like stroke and heart attack, the paradox is that the number of people afflicted and disabled by these diseases is growing. More than 700,000 Americans are afflicted by stroke every year leaving more than five and half million Americans chronically disabled from this common disease. Hundreds of thousands more are afflicted by traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. While these statistics may be hard to conceptualize, the personal toll experienced by patients who can no longer speak, walk, or see is tremendous and easy to appreciate. Our scientists are working at many stages in the translational pipeline, from pre-clinical models to clinical interventions in order to encompass all of the challenges associated with finding effective treatments for these afflictions.
A second, critical part of the mission of BMRI is to foster and cultivate a pool of talented young scientists, clinicians, and clinician-scientists who will lead the next generation in studies on repair and rehabilitation of the nervous system.
BMRI also strives to educate the general public about the ways in which we are working to better the lives of those afflicted with neurological disorders. In order to convey this message to the public at large, our faculty and staff routinely interact at a local level in the form of speaking at public forums, judging science fairs in the community, as well as personally discussing their research with Burke Rehabilitation Hospital patient and their families. In addition, our faculty attends and gives lectures at national and international meetings, giving Burke a strong presence in the scientific community at large.