About the Initiative

The Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience envisions a world in which our brains remain fit and healthy as we age. We are harnessing the collective genius of science and breaking free of established dogma to extend the healthy lifespan of the human brain — building the foundations for a world in which the word “dementia” is forgotten. 

"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

We are:

Pursuing bold, untried approaches to advance the science of brain aging and resilience

Now, as part of our mission to stimulate bold new approaches to tackling the drivers of dementia, the Knight Initiative is bringing together experts in aging and dementia as well as new collaborators and ideas from outside the traditional neurodegeneration field through grant calls, seminars and symposia. 

Learn more about our research programs

Sharing data, technologies, and know-how to drive progress across the field

The Initiative is also building a first-of-its kind atlas of the aging human brain in our in-house research laboratory. This resource will enable researchers at Stanford and around the world to track human brain aging at an unprecedented level of detail and identify specific genetic, cellular and circuit-level factors that predict resilient aging or cognitive decline.

Learn more about the Brain Resilience lab

Achieving together what none of us can accomplish alone

We welcome scientists of all stripes, from pathologists to data scientists and beyond, to join our growing, interdisciplinary community focused on the science of resilient brain aging.

Join our mailing list

Attend an event

Our Backstory

The groundwork for the Initiative was laid in part by the Brain Rejuvenation Initiative, a Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Big Ideas in Neuroscience project led by Tony Wyss-Coray and Aaron Gitler, which brought together over a dozen leading researchers from across campus to pursue non-traditional approaches to reversing brain aging. 

In April, 2022, Stanford announced the launch of a new initiative to understand healthy brain aging and advance new approaches to neurodegeneration, supported by a $75 million gift from Nike founder Philip H. Knight, MBA ’62, and his wife, Penny. Tony Wyss-Coray was appointed the initiative's inaugural director.

Read more about the launch of the Knight Initiative

Learn about our benefactors, Phil and Penny Knight

“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