Research banner - O'Donnell Brain Institute, Dallas TX


At the UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, our next-generation research programs don’t end in the lab. Our discoveries make a difference in our patients’ lives and across the world. Led by investigators who span basic and clinical science – such as circadian rhythm pioneer Joseph Takahashi, Ph.D.; Marc Diamond, M.D., founding director of the Center for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases; and schizophrenia researcher Carol Tamminga, M.D., to name a few – our innovative research programs build on new technologies and foster integrative studies.

Programs and Resources


Faculty from the O’Donnell Brain Institute constituent departments are automatically members of the OBI and are eligible for funding to support educational and community outreach initiatives.

Investigator Program

All UT Southwestern faculty are eligible to apply for “Investigator” status within the O’Donnell Brain Institute. Faculty granted this designation must meet one of several scholarly criteria. This program is meant to foster scholarly excellence and to enhance connections among UT Southwestern faculty working on brain science-related research. Details about being an Investigator and how to apply.

Internal Grant Support

The O'Donnell Brain Institute offers support for researchers at all levels. We currently have three programs. The Visionary Neuroscience Program supports highly innovative new research that because of its novelty and risk profile is not suitable for NIH funding, The Sprouts Grant Program supports new ideas from trainees working with OBI Investigators. We also provide funds for research interest groups to hold networking events and focused workshops. Learn more about internal funding.

Syed Faaiz Enam

I am deeply grateful to the O’Donnell Brain Institute, the Sprouts Grant mechanism, and the reviewers who selected my project for funding. This grant has given me freedom, autonomy, and an outlet for creativity in the middle of my residency - these gifts are unquantifiable.

Syed Faaiz Enam, M.D., Ph.D.

Sprouts Grant Recipient

Research Project

Dr. Enam, a Neurology resident, is working on a prototype of a novel and implantable neural device to deliver cytostatic hypothermia. Learn more about his research in Science Advances.

Perot Neuroscience Translational Research Center

The PNTRC is a core in the O'Donnell Brain Institute and is comprised of staff and facilities that support the clinical research requests of providers and scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and its affiliated hospitals. Our team offers a wide array of clinical research assistance including contracting and budgeting negotiations, new study planning, ongoing coordinator support, regulatory support including IRB submissions, biospecimen collection, processing, and banking. Learn more about working with the PNTRC.

Our Facilities

A dedicated research tower and new neuroscience wing at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital break down traditional barriers between departments and promote quick translation of findings from the lab to the clinic.

Our faculty has access to the latest technology to pursue new treatments and techniques, including two state-of-the-art TissueCyte 1000 multiphoton microscopes and NanoZoomer 2.0-HT and Zeiss Axioscan.Z1 digital scanners and additional resources below:

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanner

7 Tesla MR scanner

Meet Some of Our Researchers

Brad Pfeiffer

Brad Pfeiffer, Ph.D., studies how the brain forms neural representations of experience, how those representations are consolidated into long-term memory, and how those representations can be later recalled to inform behavior.

Dr. Pfeiffer’s Lab

Kimberly Huber, Ph.D., focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse and neural circuit development and plasticity, as well as the role of genes implicated in human autism and intellectual disability.

Dr. Huber’s Lab

Todd Roberts, Ph.D., studies the circuit and cellular mechanisms of vocal learning. His lab’s research seeks to identify general mechanisms and principles for how brain circuits learn from experience and how disorders known to impede speech and social development in children derail the learning process.

Dr. Roberts’ Lab

Elan Louis, M.D., studies the genetics, epidemiology, and pathophysiology of tremor disorders and is considered the world’s leading scholar in essential tremor. His research has challenged many of the prevailing notions about ET and has substantially recreated the dialogue in the ET field.

Dr. Louis’ Profile

Marc Diamond, M.D.

The research of Marc Diamond, M.D., is focused on neurodegenerative diseases linked to protein aggregation, and the role of prion mechanisms in the normal and abnormal physiology of protein amyloids with the goal of developing accurate, presymptomatic diagnosis and effective therapy.

Dr. Diamond’s Lab

Nader Pouratian, M.D., Ph.D.

Nader Pouratian, M.D., Ph.D., focuses on further developing brain mapping techniques to improve the precision and targeting of neurosurgical procedures and develop therapies for new indications. He is particularly interested in treatments for patients with movement and psychiatric diagnoses.

Dr. Pouratian’s Lab