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A "Moonshot" for Strengthening the Brain: UTD’s Center for BrainHealth at 25

Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Sandi Chapman speaking about the Limitless BrainHealth Campaign.

Dallas Innovates

Glenn Hunter

Now a quarter-century old, the Dallas-based cognitive neuroscience facility has grown from a "ragtag team" to a globally significant research institute dedicated uniquely to building better brain function. Here’s how it happened under chief director Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD.


Cognitive neuroscientist and founder of UT Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth, Dr. Sandi Chapman is celebrated as a pioneer in advancing brain health research and awareness. Her journey began with a vision to explore the potential of strengthening the human brain, leading to the establishment of the Center in 1999. Chapman's leadership has propelled the institute's growth from humble beginnings to a global hub for cognitive neuroscience with a focus on proactive brain health measures.The center's groundbreaking research aims to demonstrate that cognitive function can be enhanced and extended through proactive brain health practices. Key initiatives include The BrainHealth Project, a landmark study involving over 33,000 participants, and the Adolescent Reasoning Initiative, which targets underserved youth to improve academic performance and graduation rates. Collaborations with renowned institutions and leaders, including Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and retired Admiral Bill McRaven, underscore the BrainHealth's impact and reach.


"When we started, we were in about 2,000 sq ft. of space in a back room at UTD’s Callier Center on Inwood Road in Dallas. And we had about 26 people. We called it the clown car because, at the table, when you got up from your seat, people would take it, because we didn’t have much space! Even the UTD provost called us the ragtag team. Today, one of the accomplishments I’m proudest of is that we’ve been able to pull in collaborators from all over the world to be part of what we’re doing. Whether they’re from Johns Hopkins or Berkeley or Stanford or Oxford or Trinity University, they’re working with us because they say our focus is so unique. So, we’ve grown from 26 to more than 150 scientists and research clinicians, including our research collaborators from leading universities across the U.S. and Europe." – Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD
Looking ahead, Chapman envisions a future where brain health is prioritized and optimized through collaborative efforts across sectors. With a strong executive team in place, she is confident in the center's continued success and legacy beyond her tenure.Read the full article at Dallas Innovates

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Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project

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