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Indiana University School of Medicine alum and renowned neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon, MD, has provided a $1 million gift to support a leader in research dedicated to neuroscience innovation.

$1 million gift to support professorship focused on neuroscience innovation

Joseph Maroon, MD

Joseph Maroon, MD, has provided a $1 million gift to support a leader in research dedicated to neuroscience innovation. Source: Department of Defense

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University School of Medicine alum and renowned neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon, MD, has provided a $1 million gift to support a leader in research dedicated to neuroscience innovation.

The contribution creates the Joseph C. Maroon, MD, Professorship in Neuroscience Innovation within the school’s Department of Neurological Surgery. Through this generous support, IU will recruit a leader to help revolutionize how we prevent, treat and rehabilitate brain-related disabilities that affect up to 5.3 million Americans.

"As a medical student and resident in neurosurgery at Indiana University, I learned never to be satisfied with the status quo, to always seek constant improvement in the art and science of medicine — and in my life,” Maroon said. “The goal of the Professorship in Innovation is to stimulate in perpetuity curiosity, inquisitiveness, creativity, and to provide the means through technology to prevent or alleviate patient pain and suffering — without, at the same time, hardening the human heart by which we live. There is no better place I could imagine this being done than at the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery and under the leadership of Dr. Mitesh Shah.”

The ideal scientist will be deeply versed in emerging fields like machine learning, artificial intelligence and bioinformatics. They will apply that knowledge to analyze large data sets, uncover new biomarkers and drug targets, and use those findings to tailor therapy better. Additionally, the chairholder will have experience designing and running clinical trials. 

IU School of Medicine also offers critical resources to support this bold work. 

It is home to the nationally respected Center for Neuroimaging, the nation’s largest biobank for neurodegenerative diseases and cores of expertise at the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. IU is also one of 18 sites for the Track-TBI consortium and its partnership with IU Health offers access to a network of 16 hospitals across Indiana. 

The Department of Neurological Surgery aims to establish a Neuroscience Innovation Center, which will bring experts in these cutting-edge disciplines together with researchers skilled at developing new drug therapies and medical devices.

“No one I know is more loyal about his beloved alma mater, Indiana University, or more passionate about being innovative in the neuroscience space than Joseph Maroon,” Shah said. “The establishment of the Joseph Maroon Professorship in Neuroscience Innovation will be the catalyst for developing a world-class Neuroscience Core for Innovation inside the Neuroscience Institute.”

Joseph Maroon, MDThis research interlocks with the spirit that has shaped Maroon’s career. Over four decades, he has focused on developing minimally invasive surgical procedures for the brain and spine, preventing and treating traumatic injuries to the central nervous system and finding innovative approaches for brain tumors. He is the author of over 330 scientific papers, 60 book chapters and six books. Additionally, Maroon has delivered more than 200 presentations at national and international conferences.

He is also the co-developer of ImPACT, the first computerized system to assess concussion severity and the timing for an athlete’s return to the field. Today, the tool is part of standard concussion protocols across professional sports and is used by more than 12,000 colleges and high schools across the United States. Twenty-three million tests have been administered to date.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Maroon earned a football scholarship to Indiana University in Bloomington, where he garnered Scholastic All-American Honors for the Hoosiers. Afterward, he earned a medical degree and pursued neurosurgical training from the IU School of Medicine. He received further training at Georgetown University and Oxford University. In 2022, Maroon received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Medicine in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements. 

In 1972, Maroon established his practice at the University of Pittsburgh, where he remains a clinical professor and the Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience. He is also the vice chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 

Maroon is a long-serving neurosurgical consultant for professional and college athletes, including more than 40 years as the team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The NFL Physicians Society has awarded Maroon the Arthur C. Rettig Award for Academic Excellence, an honor bestowed to a team physician who advances the health and safety of the league’s players. 

Despite a packed professional schedule, Maroon remains a devoted triathlete who competed in over 100 races, including eight Ironman distance events.

About IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability. According to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, IU School of Medicine ranks No. 13 in 2023 National Institutes of Health funding among all public medical schools in the country.