The Euan MacDonald Centre was established by Mr MacDonald and his family in 2007, four years after he was diagnosed with the disease, which causes paralysis and premature death.
The centre received the funding from the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It will be used on a project being carried out in collaboration with King's College London and Columbia University New York.
The research, led by the centre's Professor Siddharthan Chandran, investigates gene TDP-43, which is mutated in a small number of patients with an inherited form of MND. The protein it produces is found in around 90 per cent of MND cases, appearing in clumps around the dying nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Professor Chandran said: "Slowing down the disease is the first aim, stopping the disease the second, and the home run will be to restore function."