Duncan NRI at Texas Children’s Hospital Accelerates Neurological Research and Therapies with Historic $10M Gift from The Blue Bird Circle


The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (Duncan NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital announced today that it has received a $10 million donation from The Blue Bird Circle.

The Duncan NRI is a multidisciplinary group of over 30 Baylor College of Medicine physicians and scientists working together to accelerate life-saving research and develop effective therapies for the most complex, devastating neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. Led by renowned neurogeneticist Dr. Huda Zoghbi’s rapid discovery rate of the Duncan NRI helps bridge the gap between basic research and life-saving clinical care. Since its inception in 2010, the Duncan NRI faculty has published over 1400 articles reporting exciting research advances, discovering or co-discovering dozens of disease-causing genes, and major breakthroughs in autism, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and other neurological and neurological disorders psychiatric disorders.

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Founded in 1923, The Blue Bird Circle is Houston’s oldest organization of women who volunteer their time and efforts to support pediatric neurology. This historic donation is being made to commemorate Blue Bird Circle’s upcoming centennial and brings the organization’s donations to Texas Children’s to over $25 million who will help advance life-changing neurological research at Duncan NRI.

“As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, we are honored to mark this significant year with a transformative gift to Duncan NRI,” said Abigail Tony, President of The Blue Bird Circle. “Under the direction of Dr. Huda Zoghbi, we know that this gift will only help further Duncan NRI’s important work and keep it at the forefront of neurological research in Texas.”

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The Blue Bird Circle has worked tirelessly for nearly 40 years to fund neurological research focused on unraveling the mysteries of Rett Syndrome, a complex neurological disorder that primarily affects young girls. At the Blue Bird Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Texas, Blue Bird volunteers provide more than 5,000 hours per year of administrative assistance—the equivalent of three full-time employees. Since becoming affiliated with Texas Children’s in 1998, the philanthropic organization has made significant donations to help open two research centers where clinical trials transform innovative discoveries into life-changing therapies. Through income from its volunteer-run resale business and other fundraising activities, The Blue Bird Circle makes over $1 million in additional donations each year to support child health in Texas.

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“In 1983, the Blue Bird Circle awarded the seed grant that enabled my initial research into Rett Syndrome,” said Drs. Huda Zoghbi, Director of the Duncan NRI at Texas Children’s Hospital, Distinguished Service Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “Since then, we have made great strides in our research, culminating in several exciting discoveries. This $10 million gift enables the Duncan NRI to expand the scope of our translational research and accelerate the journey of therapies from the lab to patients.”

For more information about the Duncan NRI or to make a donation to fund research, please visit nri.texaschildrens.org.



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