Neuroscience Innovation

Driving Neuroscience Innovation

 Thanks to a $1 million gift to create the Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment, physicians like Dr. Chris Zallek can work with engineers to rethink neurological care for patients and caregivers.

An average of 15 people are newly diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease every day, according to the ALS Association. The incurable disease attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord, eventually leaving those suffering from the disorder paralyzed.

Thanks to a $1 million gift to create the Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment, Dr. Chris Zallek, a neurologist with the OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute is working on projects to not only help diagnose the disease sooner, but help those with Lou Gehrig’s participate in drug trials, no matter where they live.

It takes an average of 11 months to diagnose ALS, costing patients valuable time to get access to medications that could potentially slow the disease.


Dr. Zallek and researchers

In partnership with engineers from Jump Simulation, a part of OSF Innovation and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Zallek has created four devices.

  • Two are designed to help health care providers-in-training learn to identify muscle weakness and stiffness, which are characteristics of ALS and other neurological diseases, sooner.

  • One device helps clinicians more easily learn to detect the type of muscle stiffness a patient has, leading to quicker treatment of those with Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis and those who’ve suffered a stroke.

  • The last tool allows physicians the capability to examine and quantify muscle strength in ALS and other neurological patients directly or from another location. 

Revolutionizing Care

The Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment

Ed Rapp retired as Caterpillar Group President in 2016 after being diagnosed with ALS. Since then he has made it a personal challenge to support efforts to find more effective treatment options and, ultimately, a cure. While the Rapps have relocated to Cary, NC, they remain committed to their philanthropic support of the Peoria area they once called home.

The Rapps created an endowment at OSF HealthCare in 2017 to support neuroscience excellence with a focus on driving innovation and collaboration between OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute, Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, and engineers from the University of Illinois. The Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment will attract and inspire teams of clinicians and engineers to work together to rethink what is possible and revolutionize neurological care.

For more information about the Ed and Ann Rapp Family Endowment or to learn more about neuroscience innovation efforts at Jump, visit or call (877) 575-5678.


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