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.; structural biologist Ryan Hibbs, Ph.D.; 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
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.
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
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 researchin Science Advances.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Departments, Divisions, and Programs
Research Centers and Collaborative Partners
Super Resolution Microscopy Core