DALLAS, Texas (March 7, 2005) — The Caren and Vin Prothro Foundation has pledged $500,000 to The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth to be used exclusively for collaborative brain research projects with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
The joint projects will be led by the UTD center and will include studies about brain plasticity as well as research into how the brain works and rewires itself after treatment.
One important aspect of the collaborative effort will be the use of a new federally funded, state-of-the-art functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) instrumentation located on the UT Southwestern campus. The machines, which detect changes in blood flow to particular areas of the brain and provide both anatomical and functional views of the brain, are expected to provide opportunities for answering some of the most important questions concerning the human brain.
“I am very impressed by the work being done by the Center for BrainHealth, and I think amplifying that with the world-class expertise and facilities of UT Southwestern may lead to dramatic breakthroughs that benefit many, many people,” said Mrs. Caren Prothro. “It is with that hope in mind that we decided to make this donation and to request that it be used for collaborative research.”
Dr. Bert Moore, dean of UTD’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, of which the Center for BrainHealth is a part, praised Mrs. Prothro and the foundation for the “generous gift to UTD to conduct brain research with UT Southwestern” and said the collaborative nature of the work “might produce results that neither institution could achieve on its own.
“The Prothro Foundation is deeply respected for its strategic investment in community institutions,” Moore said. “This contribution will enable us to build upon the many existing joint efforts we have with UT Southwestern.”
UTD and UT Southwestern have a rich history of research collaboration in such areas as sickle cell disease, audiology, molecular imaging and brain and neurological disorders.
In the past, the two institutions have co-sponsored a symposium on reprogramming the human brain, featuring Nobel laureates and world-renowned scientists. Together, they also have received several National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants: one, for more than $1 million, concentrates on the neurobehavioral outcomes of children with head injuries; the other, for $1.1 million, is focused on genetic factors in outcomes of traumatic brain injury.
According to Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, director of UTD’s Center for BrainHealth and holder of the Dee Wyly Distinguished Chair for Brain Health, brain research could be one of the most significant scientific endeavors of the 21 st Century, and research partnerships with other academic and medical institutions likely will be a key to producing important breakthroughs in the field.
“Achieving new discoveries in the brain sciences is a major motivating force for the ongoing joint research between UTD and UT Southwestern,” Chapman noted. “We hope to build an even more expansive network of expertise in this rapidly emerging area, because brain health is an issue that touches everyone.”
“UT Southwestern is excited about the new opportunities afforded by the generous gift to UTD from the Prothro Foundation,” said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern. “The combined strengths of our institutions will foster major progress in our study and treatment of brain disorders.”
Civic leader and philanthropist Charles Vincent (Vin) Prothro, who was one of the founders of both Mostek Corporation and Dallas Semiconductor Corporation, died in November 2000. Prothro and his wife, Caren, made numerous personal gifts to UT Southwestern over the years. Mrs. Prothro serves on the Southern Methodist University Board of Trustees and the Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees.
About the Center for BrainHealth
The Center for BrainHealth integrates research, treatment, academic training and community outreach and is one of the few facilities in the United States to provide continued follow-up to enhance and monitor functional recovery in children and adults with brain injury, brain disease and complications of normal aging. Through this innovative approach, the center is discovering commonalities across brain maladies that are yielding similarities in brain repair mechanisms and resulting in new treatments for improving life for patients with brain injuries and diseases. One of the center’s top priorities is achieving healthy mental aging by translating scientific findings into treatment. For more information about the Center for BrainHealth and its work, please visit the organization’s web site www.centerforbrainhealth.org.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.
About UT Southwestern
UT Southwestern is one of the nation’s leading medical centers specializing in biomedical research and clinical treatment. UT Southwestern’s faculty includes four Nobel laureates, 15 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 17 members elected to the Institute of Medicine, a national honor reserved for individuals of exceptional distinction and achievement in health sciences research, clinical care and medical education. For additional information about UT Southwestern, please visit the medical center’s web site at www.utsouthwestern.edu.