Leadership change at BRNI

Max Francis is new Director of Operations

MORGANTOWN, WV - D. Max Francis has been appointed director of operations for the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI).  After serving for two years as CEO and executive director, Mark Cochran, Ph.D., has left BRNI to pursue other interests in the pharmaceutical biotechnology industry. 

“Dr. Cochran helped to move BRNI forward and guided the construction of the new building in Morgantown, which will be completed soon,” Ralph Bean, chairman of the BRNI Board of Directors, said. “We thank him for his service.”

Cochran’s two-year contract expired at the end of March. The BRNI Board decided not to renew the contract.  BRNI is a not-for-profit organization that operates under the direction of an independent board, which includes representatives of the scientific and medical communities, and West Virginia University.

Francis is the executive director of the Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia.  The Foundation, through charitable giving and community support, works to improve quality of life, drive the economic future and increase philanthropic interest in the region.   He will continue to serve on the Foundation board.  Francis also served as president and CEO of United Hospital Center in Clarksburg, W.Va., from 1971-1987.

“Max Francis has many years of experience in health care and as a top executive,” Bean said.  “We are pleased that he will be joining us during this exciting time of growth for BRNI.”

The new $30 million building will open in September on the West Virginia University Health Sciences campus. The research facility will house programs to study cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

The building has the capacity to support the research activities of up to 40 scientists and their associated laboratory, administrative and support personnel.

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia founded BRNI in memory of his mother, who died of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about BRNI, visit www.brni.org.


For more information:
Amy Johns, (304) 293-7087

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