Rocket Companies (NYSE:RKT) founder and chairman Dan Gilbert and his wife Jennifer announced their Gilbert Family Foundation is collaborating with Henry Ford Health, Michigan State University Health Sciences and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab on the creation of the Nick Gilbert Neurofibromatosis Research Institute, a 72-bed state-of-the-art physical medicine and rehabilitation facility in Detroit.
The construction budget for the facility will be $179 million, with $119 million coming from the Gilbert Family Foundation and $60 million being financed by Henry Ford Health. It is expected to open in 2029 on the Henry Ford Health campus and will be managed by Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow on nerve pathways anywhere in the body. NF1 is the most common of the three types of neurofibromatosis, and often sees tumors develop in the brain or on the spinal cord. While NF1 tumors are generally not cancerous, they may cause significant deformities and health issues such as blindness.
The Gilberts’ late son Nick was diagnosed with NF1 as a child, and their foundation and sister nonprofit NF Forward have invested nearly $100 million into research to cure neurofibromatosis. The Nick Gilbert Neurofibromatosis Research Institute will be the first brick-and-mortar institute solely dedicated to neurofibromatosis, and one of the first institutes to leverage organoid technology and other novel models to address a single disease.
“Nearly every family will encounter unexpected health challenges at some point. While our family has faced severe health crises, we have been fortunate to receive some of the best medical and rehabilitative care in the country,” said Dan Gilbert. “Through these investments, we aim to enhance access to that same top-notch care for all Detroiters in times of need. Jennifer and I are extremely proud to work alongside Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University to play a part in bringing both the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Nick Gilbert Neurofibromatosis Research Institute to Detroit. These are important resources for Detroiters and residents across the state, and we are hopeful they will attract the brightest minds and most promising research to our rapidly transforming city.”
Photo: Artist’s rendering of the proposed facility.