The Center for BrainHealth’s vision to empower people of all ages to unlock their brain potential would not be possible without its dedicated scientists and clinicians, as well as generous supporters and collaborating organizations. 

As we look back at 2016, we remember 10 breakthroughs that advanced brain science, six new faces who shaped our year and celebrate more than 60,000 people we have reached in 24 states through our research initiatives and programmatic offerings at the Center for BrainHealth and its Brain Performance Institute.

  1. Center for BrainHealth’s “socialization lab” made national news when it was featured by the Today Show.
  2. Dr. Sandra Chapman and her team found brain training may benefit individuals with mild cognitive impairment and bipolar disorder. Other research revealed how mental exercise affects your brain differently than physical exercise.
  3. Dr. Bart Rypma and his lab, working in collaboration with colleagues in Sweden, revealed a link between dopamine and an individual’s ability to recognize faces.
  4. Dr. Francesca Filbey and her team found that the starting age of marijuana use may have long-term effects on brain development and long-term marijuana use changes the brain’s reward circuit.
  5. Computational psychiatry research from Dr. Xiaosi Gu’s lab demonstrated how the brain responds to nicotine depends on a smoker’s belief about the nicotine content in a cigarette.
  6. The 2016 Reprogramming the Brain to Health Symposium honored Professor Karl Friston, FRS, FMedSci, who is considered the father of modern brain mapping.
  7. Research from Dr. Daniel Krawczyk’s lab identified complex brain connectivity patterns in individuals that may explain long-term higher order cognitive function deficits in chronic phases of traumatic brain injury.
  8. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society awarded Dr. Bart Rypma more than $490,000 to study effects of  MS on brain blood flow and cognition.
  9. Dan Branch was honored with the 2016 Legacy Award for his legislative efforts to further higher education in Texas.
  10. Center for BrainHealth joined an eight-university research collaborative to help simplify medical decision-making for patients with rheumatoid arthritis who may face life-changing choices.

Six New Faces Who Shaped Our Year

Dr. Leanne Young took the helm as Executive Director of the Brain Performance Institute. Young previously worked in the private sector as a Department of Defense contractor and is a nationally recognized expert in blast injury research.
Cindy Samuelsen joined the Center for BrainHealth as Assitant Director of Sponsored Research Projects. Tasked with providing strategic guidance, she helps scientists manage and obtain new research funding.
Dr. Sven Vanneste joined the team as the Director of Neuromodulation. He is spearheading initiatives that investigate and seek to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases using neurostimulation technology.
Dr. Ian Robertson completed his first year as T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist at Center for BrainHealth. His new book, The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger, hits U.S. retailers in January.
Center for BrainHealth tapped Dr. Robert Rennaker, II to be its first Chief of Neuroengineering. Dr. Rennaker is executive director of the UT Dallas Texas Biomedical Device Center where he and his team developed a vagus nerve stimulation device that is poised to be an affordable solution that helps individuals with tinnitus and stroke.
Although a part of the Center for BrainHealth team for more than a decade, Dr. Daniel Krawczyk became the organization’s first Deputy Director, a position created to advance and expand research initiatives at the Center. Despite his expanded role, he found time to give a TEDx talk that explains why Our Brains Are Wired to Collect Things and launched a research initiative to investigate Deception in the Brain after receiving a $401,000 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biotechnology Office.


We celebrate these brain health strides and look forward to many more in 2017!