Medical Research


In 2009, Richard Rainwater was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a neurodegenerative brain disease that has no known cause, treatment or cure. It affects nerve cells that control walking, balance, mobility, vision, speech and swallowing.

As a result of this diagnosis, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation expanded its focus to include this emerging field of neurodegenerative disease research. Mr. Rainwater assembled a team of the leading physicians and researchers from around the world and charged them with working together to find a cure for PSP and other tauopathies. This group of over thirty principal investigators, dubbed the Tau Consortium, researches the causes, progression and potential treatments of this disease. Tau Consortium members act with urgency and with patients in mind to develop novel approaches and cutting-edge treatments. More recently, the Foundation has expanded its impact within the field through the sponsorship of prize programs, open scientific conferences, and other special initiatives.


The Rainwater Prize Program was designed with a goal of increasing awareness of critical gaps in neurodegenerative researchers, attracting and retaining researchers to work on tauopathies and rewarding step-wise scientific achievements that can lead to effective treatments for patients.


The Tau Consortium’s mission is to accelerate the development of new treatments for frontotemporal dementias, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases involving the dysfunctional tau protein. We help scientists to work collaboratively, engage strategic partners, and establish the critical resources needed to accelerate progress for understanding the underlying causes of these tau-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Since founding the Tau Consortium in 2009, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation has committed over $100 million to the program and has helped to put eight treatments into human trials.



Today, in addition to the Tau Consortium, the Foundation supports other key initiatives including the Rainwater Prize Program and the Tau2020 Global Conference.