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Center for BrainHealth Names Executive Director for Brain Performance Institute

A headshot of Leanne Young, M.A. against a blue backdrop. She has her arms crossed and is wearing a dark blazer with a light blouse underneath.

Center for BrainHealth

Leanne Young has joined the Center for BrainHealth® at The University of Texas at Dallas as executive director of its Brain Performance Institute™. A nationally recognized expert in blast injury research, Young previously worked with the Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office, the Office of Naval Research, the Medical Research and Materiel Command, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a variety of projects related to characterizing and preventing traumatic brain injuries in a blast environment. “Leanne’s experience and her wealth of knowledge will be an incredible asset as we develop and build a nationwide network of leading brain performance solutions,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director at the Center for BrainHealth and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “Her engineering and business background will contribute to advancing our vision to empower people of all ages to unlock their brain potential.” Before joining the Brain Performance Institute™, Young ran a division of Applied Research Associates Inc. and helped establish human vulnerability as a core business area for that company. With support from DARPA, she directed the first clinical trials of blast-induced brain injuries, and, in partnership with the Office of Naval Research, she led the development of a computer model for planning the medical response to a blast attack on a ship. “I am fascinated by the brain,” Young said. “The field of neuroscience is on the cusp of making dramatic breakthroughs in brain research that will revolutionize brain health, and I am thrilled to be part of furthering UT System and Chancellor McRaven’s Quantum Leap efforts on brain research by developing and delivering brain science innovations to enhance how people think, work and live. When people treat their brains the way they do their bodies in terms of exercise, training and a focus on prevention and health, lives will be changed.” Young recently completed all of the requirements for a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at UT Dallas. While studying under Dr. Daniel Krawczyk, Young combined her past career goals with a dual focus on social neuroscience and virtual reality-based characterization and treatment of functional impairment associated with traumatic brain injuries. Her degree will be awarded in December. “Leanne is one of the most capable and talented colleagues I have worked with at any level,” said Krawczyk, associate professor of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Debbie and Jim Francis Chair. “She combines a unique set of business skills with her insatiable curiosity about the brain. Most of all she has a tremendous passion for people and helping to make life better for those struggling with disease or injury."

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