Mind Matters

Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

Shining lasers on patients’ foreheads to map brain networks. Measuring the impact of collapsing micro bubbles in the brain. Tracking the effects of blast shockwaves on the blood-brain barrier. These are just a few of the ways UTA researchers are working to uncover the mysteries of our most important organ.

For something that weighs only about 3 pounds, the human brain looms large. Physiologically speaking, the body could not function without it, of course, but as the home of our memories, emotions, and thoughts, neither could we. When things go wrong with the brain manifesting as depression, dementia, epilepsy, stroke, and more—the collective result is an enormous health burden, with brain disorders affecting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide.

In April 2013, President Barack Obama launched the ambitious Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN, Initiative, pledging $100 million for the first year alone toward the development of new tools to elucidate how the mechanisms of the brain actually work, ultimately shedding light on the underpinnings of neurological and psychiatric disorders and possible treatment approaches.

We really do think there is a revolution taking place in brain health, and we are determined to play a leading role in it.
UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven

A year later, The University of Texas System picked up the call, launching the UT BRAIN Initiative to bring together the wide range of talent and expertise available across its 14 institutions and drive interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research collaborations. The UT System further cemented its commitment by pledging in November 2015 to lead the revolution in brain health as one of its nine Quantum Leaps.

“We really do think there is a revolution taking place in brain health, and we are determined to play a leading role in it,” says UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven.

Here at The University of Texas at Arlington, that revolution is evident in a variety of ongoing research projects, including two investigations of a phenomenon linked to traumatic brain injury in veterans and an analysis of the use of infrared light in cancer detection, memory retention, and other interventions.

To learn more about the UT BRAIN Initiative at the University of Texas at Arlington, finish reading this article here. This article first appeared in the UTA Inquiry Magazine

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