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Phyllis Sohn Endowed Chair advances neurology research on Jacksonville campus

UF Health Jacksonville

Ramon Bautista, MD, MBA, professor and chair of the department of neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, has been named the Phyllis Sohn Endowed Chair in Neuroscience. The $2.6 million endowment supports the advancement of neurology research and will push the envelope of discovery on the Jacksonville campus.

This endowment comes at a time when neuroscience research is making great strides at UF Health Jacksonville and the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. By developing studies that directly impact the lives of patients, Bautista and faculty in the department of neurology have been able to bolster research and the recruitment of top-level clinicians and investigators.

Research has grown significantly, optimizing the use of telemedicine across various neurologic conditions, improving techniques to enhance stroke care in the acute phase, addressing women’s issues in epilepsy, and helping golfers with Parkinson’s disease to continue to enjoy the sport they love. The department has been involved in scholarly works that seek to better address social determinants of health that results in health disparities in neurologic care. That research has led to the creation of a multi-foundation grant-funded Epilepsy Wellness Center that helps patients and caregivers deal with the psychosocial impacts of the condition.

Faculty are also in partnership with researchers from the University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute to develop a cadre of UF Health Jacksonville-based neuroscientists whose work focuses on developing strategies to optimize cognitive functioning in the elderly and apply advanced techniques such as acute intermittent hypoxia for neuro-restoration following trauma or acute stroke. Collaboration extends to local institutions with investigators from Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida in a study that aims to incorporate AI techniques when providing tele-rehabilitation for patients with multiple sclerosis.

The future of neuroscience research in Jacksonville has never been brighter. Clinical services are also expanding into St. Johns and Flagler counties, where a mobile stroke unit will soon be providing state-of-the-art acute stroke care. The department is also spearheading a 48-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit at UF Health North, where artificial intelligence, simulation and brain-computer interface will be integrated into the functional recovery of patients.

“Our researchers at UF are intentional and strategic, studying and finding the best solutions for our patients,” Bautista said. “Clinical studies on the Jacksonville campus address the needs of those living in Northeast Florida and range from topics as varied as preventing the symptoms of dementia to improving the health of women with epilepsy. This endowment raises the visibility of the extraordinary research we are already conducting on this campus and throughout UF as a whole. This is what we do best.”

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Kristian Thomas
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