COURTESY OF WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCES
The Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience is renovating a building on the WSU Spokane campus.
Avista Development owns the building, which is located south of WSU Health Sciences, at 325 E. Sprague Ave. Avista leases it to the institute for a nominal fee, according to the WSU Health Sciences Spokane website.
The pandemic has slowed the renovation progress, but the building is nearing completion. Renovations started last summer, and should be finished in three to four months, said Andrea Lazarus, executive director of the Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience.
Upon completion, the building will be outfitted with specific technology to help people with neurodegenerative diseases. The institute will start accepting patients at the end of the summer, Lazarus said.
“A lot of patients with ALS get diagnosed and may not see their physician again right away,” Lazarus said. “They don’t know where to go. We are a resource where they can come and find out more information about their condition.”
Avista and the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County helped fund the renovation, said Daryll B. DeWald, vice president and chancellor of WSU Health Sciences.
Although the physical building is located in Spokane, resources provided from the institute will be available to students on all WSU campuses, Lazarus said.
The institute plans on hosting a number of informative seminars, she said. They will also bring together WSU neuroscience students across all campuses to collaborate on various research projects.
“There is a lot of ongoing neuroscience research at WSU, but it hasn’t been all brought together under one umbrella,” Lazarus said, “And that is what we are hoping to do.”
The institute has a tripartite mission, DeWald said. This means they will focus on clinical services, research and student engagement with technology.
The three focuses set the institute apart from others like it because many have a combination of clinical and research experience, but lack innovative and adaptive technology, Lazarus said.
The institute uses technology like eye trackers to help people with ALS communicate, De Wald said.
“I am motivated, personally, to serve, to build and to try to address these diseases and understand how they work,” he said.
Lazarus said the institute partnered and is co-branding with St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. St. Luke’s treats patients with neurodegenerative diseases, like ALS.
The institute collaborates with St. Luke’s to outfit patients with technology that will help them manage their specific diseases, she said.
Lazarus said if the building is a success, they hope to build a second building later on to expand research opportunities and increase the number of patients they can serve.