How did you get interested in neuroscience?
To be honest, it was all Dr. Chapman. When I began my graduate studies at The University of Texas at Dallas in Communication Sciences and Disorders, I was assigned to be Dr. Chapman’s research assistant for her pediatric traumatic brain injury study. As a result, I was exposed to and discovered a whole new area. What was just happenstance quickly turned into an incredible passion.
What do you do at the Center for BrainHealth?
I currently serve as the Director of Clinical Research for the Center. In addition, I serve as a senior clinician for the Center’s translational Brain Performance Institute. My specific research and clinical service is focused on youth with brain injury, working to enhance our understanding of the rehabilitative effects of long-term follow-up care. Ultimately, we hope to develop a successful format for identifying, monitoring, and maximizing the potential of children with acquired brain injuries. We want to stay on top of these children in order to help them avoid backsliding and “falling through the cracks” academically and to empower and equip them to be successful in their home, school, and community environments.
Why study the brain, especially brain injury?
From the moment I first got involved with children with traumatic brain injury, I saw an incredible need. The initial study opened my eyes to the often overlooked long-term effects of pediatric traumatic brain injury, and I have been able to see firsthand how brain injuries can affect every facet of life. However, through our research, we are also able to bear witness to the brain’s remarkable plasticity.
How does your research benefit the world?
Our research provides hope for families and children who have been burdened with so much bad news after a traumatic brain injury. I am fortunate to be able to share positive, hopeful news about how the brain can change and heal itself to restore function, even in the long term.
What are three adjectives to describe you?
Thoughtful, positive, and perfectionist