Perry Praises Research at Center for Vital Longevity
Governor Joins Supporters Celebrating Efforts to Predict and Treat Alzheimer's
Sep. 15, 2010
Gov. Rick Perry and other supporters gathered Monday to celebrate the UT Dallas Center for Vital Longevity and its mission to understand, maintain and improve the vitality of the aging mind.
Speakers joined Perry in praising the center’s scientists, who will use cutting-edge imaging technology and advances in cognitive science to focus on one of the most important scientific challenges of the new millennium — identifying the “neural signature” of people at risk of impairment and preventing problems before symptoms can occur.
Perry lauded the center’s efforts, which will involve research cooperation with UT Southwestern Medical Center and UT Arlington, in fighting for more vital lives for Texans.
“Far too many people in Texas and around the world have suffered the pain of watching a family member slip away into Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders associated with aging,” Gov. Perry said. “This center will help draw researchers committed to the pursuit of better health into a collaborative environment of exploration and discovery that will lead to life-saving ideas.”
“I see great things in the future for the center,” Perry said.
UT Dallas President David E. Daniel said the center will create a “halo effect” that will stimulate the local economy with new businesses and further drive research efforts in Texas.
“UT Dallas has great expectations for the work that will be done by Dr. Park and her colleagues at the Center for Vital Longevity. This center is tackling critical scientific problems that diminish quality of life, and working on discovering how to maintain the vitality of the mind with age. The center is expected to play a key part in bringing UT Dallas' research activity to a higher level and to form beneficial collaborative partnerships that will contribute to raising our region's profile in biomedical research,” Daniel said.
The Center for Vital Longevity is the inspiration of Dr. Denise Park, who is serving as its first director. A world-renowned neuroscientist, she has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and six books on the brain and aging. She has held multiple offices in national scientific organizations, and she is UT Dallas’ Distinguished Chair in Behavioral and Brain Science, as well as a University of Texas Regents Research Scholar.
Dr. Park joined UT Dallas in 2007, working with the Center for BrainHealth. Her success in expanding the scope of her work on aging and the mind—including growth in the number of faculty on her team and an associated need for dedicated space—resulted in a University decision to establish an enterprise specifically devoted to that work and related questions. The Center for Vital Longevity was spun off of CBH in early 2010.
“We are at the moment of discovery in understanding the aging mind, and it is a thrill to lead this research center. We are recruiting the best cognitive neuroscientists in the world to the center to focus on understanding what makes a mind vital and how to keep it that way for life,” Park said.
Gov. Rick Perry praised the center's mission to identify the causes of and potential treatments for cognitive impairment in aging adults.
From left: Dr. Denise Park, director of The Center for Vital Longevity; Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Provost Hobson Wildenthal; and UT Dallas President David E. Daniel.
From left: Graduate student Gérard Nisal Bischof; Texas State Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas; Gov. Rick Perry; and Dr. Denise Park.