Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Phil and Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience

Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute

A lucky few of us will reach age 100 with our mental acuity intact. For many more, our memories, movements, thoughts, and even personalities will be siphoned away as we age by the scourge of brain degeneration.


The Phil and Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience asks: Why?

What causes brain cells to die in people with conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease? 


Why do our brains become vulnerable to degeneration as we age? 


And how can we promote resilient aging so all of us can live out our lives with our mental faculties intact?


By uniting the Stanford neuroscience community around these unsolved questions, the Knight Initiative, based at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, aims to inspire new discoveries in brain aging and resilience and usher in a new era for brain science and health.

Learn more

Read our launch announcement

Initiative leadership


Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience Postdoctoral Scholar Awards

Inaugural 2022 Brain Resilience Innovation Grants

Stay tuned for updates

Follow us @StanfordBrain    |     Join our mailing list   

“This initiative will examine long-standing assumptions about the causes of neurodegeneration and advance our understanding of how to maintain brain resilience into old age, which is a cornerstone of quality of life.”

 Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne

“We are calling it the ‘Initiative for Brain Resilience’ because we want to focus on the positive outcomes this important research may yield—healthy aging and the possibility of helping all people live fuller, more vibrant lives late into life. We are excited to invest behind our belief that Stanford is the place to make this happen, and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to do so.”

 Penny Knight

"About one in ten thousand individuals reaches age 100 cognitively unscathed—seemingly resilient to the effects of time. The Phil and Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience seeks to emulate this sidestepping of the aging process and raise the hope of reversing brain aging altogether to rejuvenate the mind.

— Tony Wyss-Coray, Knight Initiative Director