World-renowned DJ and two-time Grammy-nominated producer Steve Aoki has collaborated with dozens of talented partners (BTS, Linkin Park, Lil Jon) over the course of his career. His latest collaborating partner hails from West Virginia University: Dr. Ali Rezai, executive chair of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.
Rezai and Aoki met when they both spoke at the Collision conference, a major tech event that drew more than 32,000 virtual attendees in 2020. The two immediately connected over their shared interest in neuroscience. Learning of the RNI’s innovations and successes left such an impression on Aoki that he donated $20,000 to the RNI during a virtual Celebrity Pokemon Box Break with Aoki and #RealKingPokeon, a Pokemon-focused streaming event hosted on the gaming platform Twitch. The RNI’s Rezai, Victor Finomoreand Laura McCall appeared on the livestream to accept the donation, along with several other benefiting organizations including Autism Speaks. The video can be seen here.
“As we work to tackle some of the most pressing public health challenges of our time, it is critical to collaborate with a broad range of creative partners,” Rezai said. “We are grateful to Steve and the Aoki Foundation for their support, as their tireless efforts to advance research and awareness in the area of brain health strengthens the work of our entire field.”
In addition to a successful music career, Aoki founded the Aoki Foundation, which supports organizations in the brain science and research areas with a specific focus on regenerative medicine and brain preservation. The Foundation’s vision is to one day see a world where degenerative brain diseases do not exist and science and technology play a direct role in extending healthy lives.
“When artists and scientists work together towards a common goal, we can produce powerful results,” Aoki said. “I’m inspired by the work of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and hope to continue its collaboration with the Aoki Foundation. Together, we work towards a world where degenerative brain diseases do not exist, and where science and technology play a direct role in extending the healthy lives of ourselves and our loved ones.”
As a result of their initial conversations, Aoki agreed to participate in the RNI’s COVID-19 study, which uses wearables, a mobile app and AI to better understand health outcomes, such as stress or the onset of viral symptoms.
The RNI has developed a digital platform that analyzes a patients’ physiological, cognitive and behavioral data to analyze and forecast a person’s state of health. The Institute deployed this approach in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is exploring its use in a range of other health outcomes and conditions.
About the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
We are improving lives by pioneering advances in brain health. With the latest technologies, an ecosystem of partners, and an integrated approach, we are making tangible progress. Our goal is to combat public health challenges ranging from addiction to Alzheimer’s and beyond. Learn more about the RNI’s first-in-the-world clinical trials and the top caliber experts joining us in our mission. For more information, visit WVUMedicine.org/RNI.
About the AOKI FOUNDATION
The AOKI FOUNDATION has a primary goal of supporting organizations in the brain science and research areas with a specific focus on regenerative medicine and brain preservation. Our vision is to one day see a world where degenerative brain diseases do not exist and science and technology play a direct role in extending the healthy lives of ourselves and our loved ones.
CONTACT: Jake Stump
WVU Research Communications
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