For over four decades, The Blue Bird Circle has funded life-saving research to develop effective therapies for the most complex, devastating neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Since the inception of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, the Duncan NRI has pioneered 1,400+ discoveries, co-discovered 70+ genetic mutations, and led to major breakthroughs in autism, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. The multidisciplinary group at NRI, made up of 30+ physicians and scientists, is led by Dr. Huda Zoghbi. Her 1999 discovery of the defective gene that causes Rett syndrome was funded by The Blue Bird Circle.
To commemorate its 100th year anniversary coming up in 2023, The Blue Bird Circle gave a $10 million transformational gift to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute which will widen the scope and significantly advance research leading to treatments for children with pediatric neurology disorders. The purpose of this donation is to establish and help fund a program under the NRI, actively led by Dr. Huda Zoghbi as Director of NRI, that will assemble a consortium of top scientists working together to accelerate life-saving research and to develop effective therapies for the most complex, devastating pediatric neurological diseases. The program will be named the " The Blue Bird Center for Advancing Treatments” and will seek to achieve its goals by taking actions that will include, without limitation, performing genomic sequencing on thousands of patients, conducting functional/mechanistic studies, initiating pre-clinical trials, supporting trainees conducting research, actively seeking research grants from NIH, pharmaceutical companies, and other governmental and non-governmental sources, and developing new drug modules in the Texas Center for Drug Development. TCH will also acknowledge the donation by naming the auditorium in the NRI, The Blue Bird Circle Auditorium.