Houston Methodist has received a $1 million philanthropic commitment from Susan and William “Dub” Henning, Jr. to support Alzheimer’s research at the Nantz National Alzheimer Center (NNAC) at Houston Methodist. This donation will create the Susan and William Henning Jr. Neurodegenerative Research Endowment to support research in neurodegenerative diseases at the NNAC. In recognition of the gift from the Henning family, a NNAC family room will be named in memory of Dub’s parents, Lena and William Henning, who instilled in their son a lifelong spirit of giving to their communities.



Dub and Susan Henning have a long history of generosity to various philanthropic causes in their home state of Louisiana and beyond, including research efforts at Houston Methodist. Deeply rooted in their faith, Dub and Susan are active in their Methodist church community and have also received care at Houston Methodist, so they were compelled to support the critical work being done in Alzheimer’s, a disease that Dub has seen close friends struggle with.



“Knowing the impact that Alzheimer’s can have not only on patients, but also on the immediate and extended family members experiencing the disease inspired us to support the work being done at the Nantz National Alzheimer Center,” said Dub Henning. “We want to give hope to families struggling with this disease and contribute to ultimately finding a cure.”



A world-renowned clinical and research center, the NNAC treats thousands of patients annually — more than 4,000 patient visits in 2021 — and aims to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, slow memory loss progression and improve patients’ quality of life. The NNAC is led by Joseph C. Masdeu, M.D., PhD, a 30-year veteran clinician, researcher and leader in Alzheimer’s and neuroimaging. The gift from the Henning family bolsters his team’s many ongoing research projects at the NNAC, including more than 26 current studies, 14 of which are clinical trials and 12 studies to clarify the nature of diseases causing dementia.



“One of our clinical trials will determine the effects of exercise in preventing deposits of amyloid and tau, two of the proteins that accumulate in the brain of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, and we’re also exploring the role of proper sleep in disease development,” said Masdeu. “Among other studies, we are collaborating with Baylor College of Medicine to define genetic and chemical factors predisposing to the accumulation of amyloid and tau in the brain of people at all stages of the Alzheimer’s spectrum. These promising developments would not be possible without the compassion and generosity of community supporters like the Henning family.”



One in nine Americans, or an estimated 6.5 million people age 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer’s according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Since its inception, Houston Methodist’s NNAC has become the premier center in the south and central U.S. for the care of people with dementia and research for new treatments. Its researchers publish approximately 25 peer-reviewed scientific papers annually.