Mehallis said the work taking place at UF’s Dorothy Mangurian Clinical-Research Headquarters for Lewy Body Dementia aligns well with the foundation’s mission.
“There are a couple of key ways to attack a disease,” he said. “One is to raise awareness to get people to care about it. The other is to allocate dollars for specific research and education. What Dr. Armstrong and the department of neurology are achieving at the headquarters is a perfect fit with our goals.”
While the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation supports other Lewy body programs across the country, its leadership is pleased with the relationship they’ve established with the physicians and scientists at UF Health. For that reason, they agreed to support the new brain imaging facility planned for the Fixel Institute, under the direction of Michael Okun, M.D., executive director of the Fixel Institute and chair of the department of neurology at the UF College of Medicine.
“Dr. Okun’s dedication and commitment to establishing the brain imaging program was so evident and contagious,” Mehallis said. “It was almost like he was recruiting a quarterback for the Gators.”
The new 15,000-square-foot laboratory space will enhance clinical research in Lewy body dementia, Okun said.
“There is a critical need for imaging capacity for both clinical patients and research patients,” Okun said. “We have important biomarker studies that will utilize imaging, and these studies are tracking the course of the disease, improving diagnosis and will ultimately help determine the effectiveness of future treatments.”
The Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation gift will be matched with university and private matching funds to add a magnetoencephalography, or MEG, scanner, which is used to map brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents.
Mehallis said he is happy with what the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation has been able to accomplish over the last two decades, and he is proud of the relationships that have been developed.
“When we look on the broad scale of our involvement across the country, I think we are helping to move the needle,” he said. “We’re proud and happy about that.”