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Frontiers of BrainHealth

BPI Brain Performance Institute event talk lecture


Take a deep dive with leading experts.

The spring 2023 season will be in person at Center for BrainHealth (lunch provided) and live-streamed. Register free of charge for the season and join us for as many talks as you are able.

Enjoy past Frontiers talks on YouTube

For more information, contact brainhealthevents@utdallas.edu or visit our events FAQs.

Spring 2023 Speaker Lineup

The Economics of Brain Heath: An Emerging Market

Dominic Trépel, PhD – Associate Professor of Health Economics at Global Brain Health Institute

Over the past decade, the concept of "brain health" has gained increasing traction and, now more than ever, must be considered an emerging market for health. Overviewing the work of Trépel Lab (Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience), Dr. Trépel's talk explores the nexus of health, economics and brain science, and how a multidisciplinary research agenda can optimize brain health through evidence-informed resource allocation. Specifically, this talk will consider the economic concepts of supply and demand, value, preferences and efficiency and their role in the research of current, and future, strategies to improve brain health throughout life.

Promoting Healthy Aging Through Music Activities

Claude Alain, PhD – Senior Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences

In the last 20 years, a surge of research has aimed to find ways of mitigating age-related cognitive decline, showing healthy diet, physical activity, bilingualism, volunteering, mindfulness training, "gamified" puzzle training, and playing music can help older adults maintain physical and cognitive fitness. Dr. Alain's talk examines the unique promise shown in playing music. Behavioral and neuroimaging studies provide converging evidence that musicians exhibit superior auditory and cognitive skills and cope better with age-related changes in hearing loss and cognition. The benefits of musical training on the aging auditory brain open exciting new avenues for developing innovative remediation programs and improved rehabilitation protocols to sustain healthy aging and brain health.

Promoting Recovery in People With Chronic PTSD, Stroke or Spinal Cord Injury

Michael Kilgard, PhD – Interim Executive Director and Chief Science Officer at Texas Biomedical Device Center

First developed ten years ago by students and faculty at the Texas Biomedical Device Center, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in therapy recently passed phase three clinical testing in 108 chronic stroke patients at 15 sites across the U.S. and U.K. In August of 2021, the FDA approved VNS therapy to treat arm impairments in people with chronic ischemic stroke. Dr. Kilgard's talk explores ongoing studies that show VNS can enhance recovery in neurological injury, including spinal cord injury, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recovery has been associated with neural plasticity in undamaged networks in the brain and spinal cord.

Differences in Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health

Alva Tang, PhD – Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas

How may individual differences in social and emotional development shape mental and physical health? Dr. Tang's talk delves into findings from her interdisciplinary research, investigating individual differences linked to temperament in children and adolescents (e.g., shyness) and exposure to early adversities (e.g. child maltreatment or neglect). Her research lab uses multiple neural and behavioral measures (e.g., EEG, lab observations) to conduct experimental and observational studies. Her work aims to identify neural, biological and social processes that alter risk and resilient trajectories and enhance our understanding of developmental risk factors and our ability to implement prevention strategies.

Impairment in Memory and Cognition

Brendan Kelley, MD – Professor and Clinical Vice-Chair in the Department of Neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Kelley specializes in the evaluation and study of neurological causes of impairment in memory and cognition. He earned his medical degree at The Ohio State University, completed a residency in neurology at the Cleveland Clinic and received advanced training in behavioral neurology and multiple sclerosis through fellowships at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Kelley also holds an executive MBA from The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business and a master’s degree in physics from Cornell University.

The Cerebellum in Cognition, Development and Disorders

Anila D'Mello, PhD – Assistant Professor and Jon Heighten Scholar in Autism Research in the Department of Psychiatry and O'Donnell Brain Institute at UT Southwestern

In addition to her position with UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. D'Mello also serves as faculty with the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). She received a BA in Psychology from Georgetown University and a PhD in behavior, cognition, and neuroscience at American University, followed by postdoctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. D'Mello is also an external fellow of UTD's Center for Vital Longevity and an affiliate of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

CANCELED: Advancing Brain Health and Well-Being in Older Adults

Vijeth Iyengar, PhD – Director of Global Aging at AARP

This event is canceled.A cognitive neuroscientist by training, Dr. Iyengar leads cutting-edge research, drives thought leadership on global aging issues, and cultivates relationships and strategic alliances to promote AARP’s vision in service of older adults everywhere. Dr. Iyengar has co-authored articles in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, JAMA Health Forum, Pan American Journal of Public Health, Scientific American, STAT News, and articles published by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. He also serves as co-guest editor of a special issue of the Clinical Gerontologist, examining cross-cultural strategies to address brain and mental health in underserved populations.