Houston Methodist today announced it has received a $10 million philanthropic commitment from The John M. O’Quinn Foundation to support research, education and patient services across a full spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders. This commitment will establish the John M. O’Quinn Foundation Neurodegenerative Disorders Laboratory at Houston Methodist where physicians and research scientists in the Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology are conducting innovative research and clinical trials on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease and spinocerebellar atrophy.


Dr. Jun Li, chair of the Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, also serves as The John M. O’Quinn Foundation Presidential Distinguished Chair in Neurology, leading the newly established laboratory where he and his team of physician scientists are exploring the best possible combinations of preventive interventions and targeted treatments in neurodegenerative diseases. Li’s research in peripheral nerve diseases and myelin biology has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for nearly two decades. His vision to provide unparalleled care, clinical trial opportunities and subspecialty programs in the Greater Houston area to support those battling neurodegenerative disorders is strengthened because of this gift.


“Many neurodegenerative diseases are chronic and significantly impact the quality of life, causing pain, weakness, loss of ambulation and sensory loss,” said Li. “Our team is committed to working with patients to help make their lives better through treatment, and this generous gift fuels our determination to do even more and to help find therapies for these neurological diseases. This commitment from The John M. O’Quinn Foundation will support an interdisciplinary team of neurologists and neuroscientists to further explore treatment options.”


Longtime supporters of Houston Methodist, The John M. O’Quinn Foundation and its President and Executive Director Robert C. Wilson III said several people within their organization have battled neurological diseases.


“With the ever-increasing number of people being diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases and little to no cures on the horizon, The John M. O’ Quinn Foundation felt it was crucial to support Houston Methodist in its pioneering research efforts in common neurological diseases that have affected so many of our loved ones,” said Wilson. “As our population continues to live longer, we believe it’s critical to help now, and we know Houston Methodist is best positioned with its renowned researchers and clinicians like Dr. Li to help those with neurodegenerative diseases to have a better quality of life, and ultimately, a treatment for these diseases that impact so many.”


This philanthropic commitment from The John M. O’Quinn Foundation also supports the recruitment of neurodegenerative disorders specialists through endowed research chairs, research fellowships and funding to support innovative pilot studies and breakthrough discoveries that benefit patients with neurodegenerative diseases.