FIELD OF HOPE • Sounds of the Valley

Showcasing World Class ‘Made in Michigan’ Entertainment Benefiting Cutting Edge Research at the Field Neurosciences Institute

    icon Sep 03, 2015
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Since its inception over 25 years ago, the Field Neurosciences Institute (FNI) has embraced the goal of helping others by providing the highest quality programs of clinical care, education, and research for those struggling with a disorder of the brain or spinal cord.   Although many people throughout our region are somewhat familiar with FNI programs, few people are familiar with the complete picture of the many special programs that are offered to help neurological patients and their families.

Each year the annual benefit concert & dinner for FNI is undoubtedly one of the premier social events of the Fall Season, bringing together broad segments of our community to enjoy gourmet cuisine and top-flight musical entertainment, while helping support one of the nation’s most cutting-edge medical institutes.

This year the Field of Hope: Sounds of the Valley Benefit will be happening on Friday, September 25th at The Temple Theatre, beginning with a bountiful top-notch buffet at 5:30 PM and followed by a stellar musical performance featuring acclaimed regional musical artists Dave Bennett, Nathan & Rod Bieber, Michael Brush, Rob Clark, Darbi Dunbar, Honesty Elliott, Catherine McMichael, Morgan McMillion, Julie Mulady, Leigh Shindelar and The Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma Chorale, with formidable musical backing provided  by the one and only Bijou Orchestra at 8:00 PM.  Tickets for this incredible event can be purchased at the Temple Theatre box office and start at only $20.00 for the concert, or $125 for the show & buffet.

Funds from the 2015 Fundraiser will be used to purchase one or more of the following four key pieces of equipment necessary to augment FNI’s new research and rehabilitation programs for stroke and other neurological disorders. These items include:

  • Driving Simulator: This device allows one to assess abilities and provide training to help stroke and other patients to safely regain their driving skills.
  • Trazer System: This is used to accurately measure sensor-motor functions of patients to augment their physical rehabilitation.
  • Body Composition Monitor. This is utilized for accurate measurement of muscle and fat composition in patients for assessing the efficacy of their rehabilitation program.
  • Laser Doppler Monitoring System. This is used for monitoring blood reperfusion in animal models of stroke incidents.

The major impetus for the program came from the vision that was shared by Dr. Malcolm Field and his close friends and colleagues who joined forces in an effort to push the envelope of clinical care for victims of head injuries and devastating diseases to the nervous system.

In this effort, FNI has attracted local surgeons and neurologists to contribute to the effort of providing first-class clinical care for area patients. Through these annual fall fundraisers and the numerous gifts provided by the many friends of FNI throughout the years, they have been able to acquire critically important state-of-the-art surgical equipment, such as the Stealth System for operative imaging, and the CyberKnife (for pinpoint radiation treatments) that have helped elevate the level of clinical care for local neurological patients to a world-class level.

In conjunction with their many educational programs that spider throughout the region, a major aspect of FNI’s mission is to promote research in the neurosciences. Led by Heather Clark, their clinical research program has been involved in major projects ranging from testing new devices to reduce pain generated by degenerative disc disease, to a variety of new treatment paradigms for a large range of neurological disorders including stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Moreover, the pre-clinical research program at the FNI lab is gaining international recognition. Led by Drs. Mee-Sook Song and Panchanan Maiti, who have specialized expertise in delineating some of the causes and potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s Disease, this past year Dr. Song has prepared two important manuscripts – one for her work on use of brain derived neurotrophic factor for preserving function of cultured neurons from AD mice; and the other for her work on protein changes that occur during hypoxia ( a cellular model of stroke).

A major impetus to the pre-clinical research program at FNI is the collaborative partnership with Saginaw Valley State University and Central Michigan University. The collaborative arrangement with CMU has especially produced an extraordinary array of scientific findings and generated world –class research opportunities for students. Under the direction of Doctors Gary Dunbar and Julien Rossignol, the NFI lab at CMU produces scores of presentations annually, including major translational research discoveries, such as the use of genetically modified adult stem cells for treating Huntington’s disease, a discovery at the FNI lab at CMU that is the basis of a $17 million grant to collaborators at the University of California.

The more recent discovery at CMU’s FNI lab of a new method of producing induced pluripotent stem cells is gaining international attention, as it may provide a promising approach for replacing brain and spinal cord cells lost in a variety of disorders.

This annual gathering and celebration is indeed one of the most worthwhile community endeavors that you can become involved with that manifests profound and long-lasting results. For tickets and more information, please call The Temple Theatre at 877-754-7469 or visit

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