Our focus areas

We fund ambitious science to build companies that will extend healthy brain lifespan

As a passionate community of brain health enthusiasts, we seek to fund “moonshots” in brain health – highly novel projects which are higher in risk but have revolutionary potential. Below are the key focus areas our community seeks to fund and why.


Neuroinflammatory changes in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and other dementias are characterized by the activation of glial cells, particularly microglia and astrocytes, and the release of inflammatory mediators, which contribute to disease progression and severity. The continued release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and associated neurotoxins from microglia serves to exacerbate the neuroinflammation and contribute to neurodegeneration, leading to the activation of yet more microglia. We seek to fund projects that search for inhibitors of neuroinflammation and novel biomarkers specific to neuroinflammation.

Metabolic alterations, reactive oxygen species, and mitochondrial dysfunction

Hundreds of metabolites are altered in the brain affected by AD (1). Metabolic alterations, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), and mitochondrial dysfunction are interconnected processes that occur early and play a significant role in neurodegeneration. Altered bioenergetic pathways, including glycolysis, branched-chain amino acid metabolism, cholesterol, mitochondrial oxidation, and osmotic alterations are closely correlated with cognitive decline. An imbalance between the production of ROS and the ability of cells to detoxify them can lead to increased inflammatory responses and promote aging-related neurodegeneration. We are seeking proposals targeting early metabolic alterations, with a specific interest in mitochondrial dysfunction.

Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)

The BBB is a highly selective, semipermeable structural and chemical barrier that ensures a stable environment for the brain. However, in AD, the BBB becomes dysfunctional, leading to the failure of Amyloid-Beta (Aβ) transport from the brain to the peripheral circulation. This dysfunction is associated with decreased levels of low-density Lipoprotein Receptor-related Protein 1 (LRP-1) and increased levels of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products (RAGE), which are involved in Aβ transport across the BBB. Aβ deposition in the vasculature leads to pro-inflammatory, cytotoxic events and is associated with cerebral blood flow reductions and impaired hemodynamic responses. We seek proposals targeting early BBB changes and novel BBB disruption biomarkers.

How our funding process works

Cerebrum DAO’s Neuroscience Dealflow team works with you to ensure a swift and uncomplicated funding application process. With brain health, time is of the essence – we focus on having a fair and thorough, yet quick, review process. A dedicated community member becomes your single point of contact to guide you throughout the application journey, and applications receive an answer within two weeks of submission. If not approved, you are welcome to incorporate the feedback given and reapply.

Project qualification & due diligence

After the initial application is received, we will evaluate the project’s Intellectual Property (IP) and its commercial viability. If the IP is compelling and we can see a viable pathway to commercialization, then additional diligence will be conducted on the team and application entity  – lab /institution or company.

Expert review, community presentation, and recommendation

Project applications that pass the first stage will then be screened by a diverse panel of experts selected by Cerebrum DAO with focused knowledge in neuroscience and the field of the IP. The expert panel’s recommendation will be provided to the community, and the project will be granted a community presentation. Following the review of the expert panel and community discussion after the project presentation, the community will decide whether to recommend the project for funding and propose the key terms.

community vote

Projects which receive a recommendation to be funded will be posted for a community vote, which will be recorded by Cerebrum DAO token holders voting and memorializing the vote on the blockchain. Projects will either pass the vote and proceed to the next steps or not pass and be formally turned down.

Execution & incubation

For projects which pass the on-chain community vote, the funding will then be executed contemporaneously with the investment instrument, which is usually an IP-NFT or a share purchase agreement for equity in a corporation. Funds will be distributed to the project per the terms of the agreement and in local currency.

Get funding and translational support to turn your neuroscience into impactful solutions!

Contribute expertise from anywhere in the world and help us turn the tide on neurodegenerative disease

Research & Funding FAQs

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Cerebrum DAO.

Why a DAO?

Cerebrum DAO operates on the principles of decentralization, community governance, and democratic decision-making. We provide community support from our network of engaged individuals all over the world who may offer expertise, collaboration, and advocacy as the project develops. From the inception we are interested in developing your project to the stage where it demonstrates potential value and impact for people in the field of brain health. Our goal is to fund research that leads to real world impact outcomes. If the milestones are hit and medical impact and outcome value is clear, we are here to support you as a community in every way - funding, science, translation, data, trial participation and beyond - for the long haul.

Who can contribute?

Cerebrum DAO is a mission-driven community open to everyone interested in fighting neurodegeneration and extending our brain longevity. Our members cover a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and professions. 

In terms of funding, we are more interested in the quality of the project than its career stage. We are currently looking for projects that have translational potential and that have already acquired preliminary data on a promising target specific for neurodegeneration and/or brain longevity. From the experience of the other DAOs, proposals like these come from PIs having their own lab. If you are an early career researcher, you might consider finding a lab where your project can be developed over a longer period.

How does your research focus differ from other funding organizations?

Historically, the focus of research has predominantly centered on misfolded proteins as the primary cause of neurodegenerative diseases. It is hard to find any research area that would not see amyloid or tau accumulation as the origin of the disease. Nevertheless, anti-amyloid antibodies brought to the market recently have only moderate effects if applied to early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While we wait for anti-tau trial results, we believe that time is not on our side. We need to stimulate the development of alternative hypotheses and test their validity. 

What projects are you funding?

At Cerebrum DAO we believe that neurodegeneration is irreversibly tied to aging and we are looking to accelerate research areas that target the processes involved in both aging and neurodegeneration. Our first focus areas are (neuro-) inflammation, metabolic stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and vascular changes, with a focus on Blood-Brain Barrier dysfunction. 

We seek to fund research on promising targets with translational potential either in the field of diagnostics or therapeutics, which can be both digital and molecular. For promising therapeutic targets we hope to see proposals with a large effect size shown at least in one or two animal models or human samples. For promising diagnostic biomarkers, we seek proposals whereby a disease-specific biomarker might be used for early diagnostics. 

The research project needs to show a sound theoretical background and include a minimum of pilot data. We welcome both preclinical and clinical studies with a well-developed translational outlook. If you have or know of a solid proposal on biomarkers or disease diagnostics at the early stage, please complete the proposal page below.

Still have questions?

Our community actively discusses ongoing work in the Discord channels and regular calls. Feel free to join and approach us directly.