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Leadership

Logotype for the event series BrainHealth Presents.

Learn from top brain scientists and experts.

Executive Team

Sandi Chapman, Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth, Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project, Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor

Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

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

Dr. Sandi Chapman is one of the nation’s preeminent cognitive neuroscientists furthering society's understanding of what makes the brain stronger, faster and last longer.

Stephen White in a brown sports coat with blue and green lights, portrait. Chief Operating Officer

Stephen B. White, JD

Chief Operating Officer

With over 15 years as an executive in commercial healthcare products and services, combined with experience as a commercial attorney and CPA, Steve White sees brain health and performance as the next “big thing” to improve how all people think, work and live.

Daniel Krawczyk, Deputy Director, Center for BrainHealth, Debbie and Jim Francis Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Daniel Krawczyk, PhD

Deputy Director of Research Debbie and Jim Francis Chair and Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Dr. Dan Krawczyk, professor of psychology and neuroscience, focuses on research aimed at improving reasoning and decision-making. He holds the Debbie and Jim Francis Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Alfred Abundo in a gray blazer with green lights, portrait. Director of Finance.

Alfred Abundo, CPA, CGMA

Director of Finance

Al Abundo works in the Center’s finance and HR operations as a member of the Executive Team. He is a strong advocate of the BrainHealth® mission and plays a critical role in the Center's success and life-changing discoveries.

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Mary Tindall

Executive Director of Philanthropy

Mary Tindall leads the philanthropy team in securing financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations for BrainHealth® research and translational programming.

Jeremy Gray, PHD is wearing a white dress shirt with green and blue lights, portrait. IT manager

Jeremy Gray, PhD

Director of Information Technology

In an evolving career as a research scientist, educator and IT executive, Dr. Jeremy Gray seeks to systematize knowledge and empower people across formal and informal groups. Technology both liberates and constrains how people work, and how they work together.

Ruth Fitzgibbons is wearing a tan blazer with blue and green lights, portrait. Communications Consultant

Ruth Fitzgibbons

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Ruth Fitzgibbons joined the Executive Team of the Center for BrainHealth® in 2019 to help shepherd its bold vision of unlocking human potential around the globe through improved brain health and performance.

Research & Education

Tandra T. Allen is wearing a gray blouse with lights, portrait.  Head of Virtual Training Programs.

Tandra Allen, MS, CCC-SLP

Assistant Director of Research

Tandra Allen has led and developed social-cognitive research studies focused on advancing overall social health. Her clinical research areas include using virtual technology to train social-cognitive skills as well as evaluating the brain systems that change as result of high-level reasoning training.

Vince Calhoun in a striped blue dress shirt, portrait. Jane and Bud Smith Chair

Vince Calhoun, PhD

Jane and Bud Smith Chair

Dr. Vince Calhoun leverages data in unprecedented ways to help improve individual cognitive function and optimize the performance of the human brain.

Sandi Chapman, Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth, Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project, Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor

Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

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

Dr. Sandi Chapman is one of the nation’s preeminent cognitive neuroscientists furthering society's understanding of what makes the brain stronger, faster and last longer.

Lori Cook in a blue blouse with blue lights, portrait. Director of Clinical Research, BrainHealth Research; Head of Research, The BrainHealth Project; Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Lori Cook, PhD, CCC-SLP

Director of Clinical Research Head of Research, The BrainHealth Project Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Dr. Lori Cook, in her roles as both a clinician and research scientist, has focused largely on the long-term recovery of youth after brain injury, including supporting athletes with persistent effects of concussion.

Mark D'Esposito in a light-blue dress shirt in front of a red brick wall. Distinguished BrainHealth Scientist; Collaborator, The BrainHealth Project

Mark D’Esposito, MD

Distinguished BrainHealth Scientist Collaborator, The BrainHealth Project

In his medical career, Dr. Mark D'Esposito has seen the amazing success that has been achieved promoting cardiac health. Researchers now have the technology and tools to achieve this same kind of success promoting health for the most important organ in the body – the brain.

Francesca Filbey in dark blue blouse with lights, portrait. Professor and Director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research of Addictive Disorders; Bert Moore Chair; Associate Provost, UT Dallas

Francesca Filbey, PhD

Bert Moore Endowed Chair and Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Director, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory of Addictive Disorders

Dr. Francesca Filbey is a world-renowned expert in the brain mechanisms of addictive disorders. The significance of her research is in advancing the understanding of brain mechanisms to identify targets for prevention and intervention.

Julie Fratantoni in a black blazer with blue lights, portrait. Head of Operations, The BrainHealth Project. Head of Operations, The BrainHealth Project™, Research Scientist, BrainHealth Research.

Julie Fratantoni, PhD, CCC-SLP

Julie Fratantoni, PhD, CCC-SLP Head of Operations, The BrainHealth Project Research Scientist

Dr. Julie Fratantoni is a cognitive neuroscientist and head of operations for The BrainHealth® Project – a ten-year, longitudinal research study seeking to define, measure and improve brain health and performance across the lifespan. She manages user experience, content creation and development of the online Project dashboard.

Jacque Gamino in front of green lights, portrait. Director of Adolescent Reasoning Initiative, Assistant Research Professor

Jacquelyn Gamino, PhD

Director of Adolescent Reasoning Initiative Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Jacquelyn Gamino has worked with middle and high schools to enhance student academic performance in the near term and ultimately, lifelong success.

Katelyn Hinds is wearing a black blouse with blue lights, landscape. Senior clinician. SMART and Project coach. Katie Hinds

Katie Hinds, MS, CCC-SLP

Senior Clinician

Katie facilitates SMART™ Brain Training and BrainHealthy Workplace™ programs with a variety of military, law enforcement, corporate, and student groups. She also leads individual and group coaching sessions focused on empowering individuals to utilize strategies for improved brain health and performance as part of The BrainHealth® Project.

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Maria Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP

Director, Youth & Family Innovations Lead Research Clinician and Trainer, Charisma Virtual Social Coaching

Maria Johnson is committed to connecting and assisting youth and young adult organizations, clinicians, teachers and families discover how to best support social, emotional and cognitive brain health of neurodiverse minds.

Daniel Krawczyk, Deputy Director, Center for BrainHealth, Debbie and Jim Francis Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Daniel Krawczyk, PhD

Deputy Director of Research Debbie and Jim Francis Chair and Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Dr. Dan Krawczyk, professor of psychology and neuroscience, focuses on research aimed at improving reasoning and decision-making. He holds the Debbie and Jim Francis Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas.

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David Lary, PhD

BrainHealth Investigator Professor of Physics, Hanson Center for Space Sciences Founding Director, MINTS

Dr. David Lary's research primarily focuses on machine learning and data driven insights using observation and automation with a focus in human health.

Yune S. Lee is wearing a gray blazer with blue lights, landscape. Close-up.

Yune S. Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Director of Speech, Language, and Music (SLAM) Laboratory

Dr. Yune Lee’s research focuses on neural and behavioral connections between speech, language and music (SLAM), with the goal of developing non-invasive sound therapy to promote brain plasticity in connection with improved language and cognitive skills.

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Geoff Ling, MD, PhD

Jean Ann Brock BrainHealth Project Co-Leader

Physician, researcher and veteran, Dr. Geoff Ling sees cognitive neuroscience as where some of the most exciting, transformative discoveries happen today.

Michael Merzenich in a light blue dress shirt in office. Distinguished Collaborator

Michael Merzenich, PhD

Distinguished BrainHealth Collaborator

Dr. Michael Merzenich believes researchers can truly change how our society manages brain health. Novel, small-scale cognitive training programs have yielded exciting breakthroughs – showing it is possible to improve cognitive performance and real-world function in healthy adults as well as people with clinically significant cognitive disorders.

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Bonnie Pitman

Director Art-Brain Innovations Distinguished Scholar in Residence for The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History (EODIAH)

As director of art-brain innovations at the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth®, Bonnie Pittman expands her research and teaching of the art of observation, meditation and compassion. Her Power of Observation initiative connects neurological research with the experience and process of seeing, looking and observing.

Audette Rackley is wearing a tan blouse with blue lights, portrait. Assistant Director of Strength-Based Programs

Audette Rackley, MS, CCC-SLP

Assistant Director, Strengths-Based Programs Research Clinician

As assistant director of strengths-based programs, Audette Rackley currently focuses on impacting the broader Alzheimer’s community via online delivery of the center's strengths-based program for early Alzheimer’s and spearheading an online research initiative targeting brain health for caregivers.

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Ian Robertson, PhD

T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project

Dr. Ian Robertson is a leading researcher in the field of mind's attention systems to maximize and reshape the capacity giving every person sense of control over their emotions.

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Bart Rypma, PhD

Principal Investigator Professor, Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas Meadows Foundation Endowed Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Director, Sammons BrainHealth Imaging Center

Dr. Bart Rypma’s research is aimed at exploring the cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms of human memory and how these are affected by aging and disease. He uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the activity of younger and older adults as they perform cognitive tasks.

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Jeffrey S. Spence, PhD

Director of Biostatistics

Dr. Jeff Spence’s research interest, for which he has received NIH funding, involves the development of theory and methodology applied to analyses of functional neuroimaging studies of the human brain.

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Aaron Tate

Director of Emerging Technology

Aaron Tate is committed to getting the Center’s groundbreaking research out of the laboratory and into the hands of those whom it will benefit most. Aaron is a co-creator of the Charisma™ Training Platform and technology lead on The BrainHealth® Project.

Erin Venza in a black blouse with lights, portrait. Lead Clinician

Erin Venza, MS, CCC-SLP

Head of Clinical Operations

Erin Venza’s work at the Center for BrainHealth® initially centered around optimizing function and recovery in light of a brain disease or disorder. Much of her current efforts focus on overseeing content creation and support for The BrainHealth® Project.

Stacy Quiroz Vernon in a blue blouse and black cardigan with blue lights, portrait. Clinical Program Manager

Stacy Vernon, MS, LPC

Head of Adult Assessment

As head of adult assessment for the Center for BrainHealth®, Stacy Vernon leads the adult assessment program. She also trains and supervises The BrainHealth® Project coaching team.

Jane Wigginton, MD

Chief Medical Advisor

As chief medical advisor, Dr. Jane Wigginton serves as the “go-to” medical expert at the Center for BrainHealth®. She assists with clinical trials, research protocols, client evaluations and recommendations for care.

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Jennifer Zientz, MS, CCC-SLP

Deputy Director of Programs and Head of Clinical Services

Jennifer Zientz’s work focuses on the translation of Center for BrainHealth® research to improve how people think, work and live.

Operations

Alfred Abundo in a gray blazer with green lights, portrait. Director of Finance.

Alfred Abundo, CPA, CGMA

Director of Finance

Al Abundo works in the Center’s finance and HR operations as a member of the Executive Team. He is a strong advocate of the BrainHealth® mission and plays a critical role in the Center's success and life-changing discoveries.

Jeremy Gray, PHD is wearing a white dress shirt with green and blue lights, portrait. IT manager

Jeremy Gray, PhD

Director of Information Technology

In an evolving career as a research scientist, educator and IT executive, Dr. Jeremy Gray seeks to systematize knowledge and empower people across formal and informal groups. Technology both liberates and constrains how people work, and how they work together.

Julie Heckman is wearing a red blouse with green and blue lights, portrait. Assistant Director of Development- hero (?)

Julie Carter Heckmann

Assistant Director of Philanthropy

Julie Carter Heckman helps lead the philanthropy team in securing financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations for BrainHealth® research and translational programming.

Stephanie Hoefken in a white blouse with red, orange, blue lights, portrait. Director, Communications and Marketing

Stephanie Hoefken

Director of Communications and Marketing

Stories of transformation inspire Stephanie Hoefken. Working on – and even leading – innovative research has shaped the careers of emerging scientists. Participating in our programs has improved the quality of life for thousands of people, from all walks of life.

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Cecilia Perez-Verdia

Digital Brand Manager

Cecilia Perez-Verdia enjoys using her strategy and marketing experience to build awareness of the Center's incredible mission.

Cindy Samuelson is wearing a black blouse with lights, portrait. Assistant Director of Sponsored Research

Cindy Samuelsen

Assistant Director of Sponsored Research Research Sponsored Projects

Cindy Samuelsen has experience in research and healthcare administration. Her research expertise includes grant submissions, research regulatory issues, financial management and facility and personnel management.

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Aaron Tate

Director of Emerging Technology

Aaron Tate is committed to getting the Center’s groundbreaking research out of the laboratory and into the hands of those whom it will benefit most. Aaron is a co-creator of the Charisma™ Training Platform and technology lead on The BrainHealth® Project.

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Mary Tindall

Executive Director of Philanthropy

Mary Tindall leads the philanthropy team in securing financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations for BrainHealth® research and translational programming.

Stephen White in a brown sports coat with blue and green lights, portrait. Chief Operating Officer

Stephen B. White, JD

Chief Operating Officer

With over 15 years as an executive in commercial healthcare products and services, combined with experience as a commercial attorney and CPA, Steve White sees brain health and performance as the next “big thing” to improve how all people think, work and live.

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Jennifer Zientz, MS, CCC-SLP

Deputy Director of Programs and Head of Clinical Services

Jennifer Zientz’s work focuses on the translation of Center for BrainHealth® research to improve how people think, work and live.