About the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute

Vision

Leading Transformative Change at Medicine’s Ultimate Frontier

The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute is dedicated to improving patients’ lives by bringing together transformative research and patient-centered care — today and for generations to come. Few places in the world are as primed for discovery and development as UT Southwestern. With six Nobel Prizes awarded to our faculty since 1985, a continuous recruitment of internationally recognized scientific investigators, and an environment that breeds collaboration and interaction, it’s no wonder that UT Southwestern has taken the lead on brain disorder research and care.

There are multiple disorders of the brain — ranging from neurologic and psychiatric to cerebrovascular disease and cancer — all of which exact a tremendous toll on individuals, families, and society. Continuing in the forward-thinking spirit of UT Southwestern, the interdisciplinary team at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute has made it their mission to improve patient care and well-being with the knowledge gained from discoveries across this vast frontier of medicine.

  • Uncover the secrets of how the nervous system functions and how it generates integrative behavior and cognition.
    At the forefront of biology, neuroscience represents a vast frontier for exploration of some of the most profound questions concerning living systems. Answering these questions remains among the most difficult and most rewarding challenges that science faces today.

  • Apply advanced imaging tools and analytics in novel and more precise ways.
    For years, one of the great obstacles in diagnosing and treating brain injury was that conventional imaging tools often failed to show abnormalities even when evidence of brain injury was apparent to patients and physicians. New technologies within UT Southwestern’s Advanced Imaging Research Center offer opportunities to directly visualize disruption of brain function and structure in unprecedentedly precise ways.

  • Fill the need for new, targeted therapies.
    Our clinical fields have suffered from a lack of drugs and treatments that can restore and improve brain function. Based on our improved understanding of brain circuit properties, critical areas for breakthroughs are on the horizon in the development of drug, molecular, and neuromodulation (brain stimulation) therapies to treat neurologic disease.

  • Leverage UT Southwestern’s clinical expertise across multiple specialties to provide the nation’s best acute and restorative care.
    UT Southwestern will become a national center for excellence in the precise diagnosis and treatment of the full spectrum of brain disorders and facilitate collaborative care for our patients. Seamless coordination for patients from the point of access throughout the continuum of care will help drive outstanding patient satisfaction, safety, and clinical quality.

About Peter O’Donnell Jr.

Peter O’Donnell Jr., for whom the Brain Institute is named, is a longtime UT Southwestern benefactor whose support has been critical in making UT Southwestern one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers.

The focus on advancing medical science and attracting high-quality people to conduct it are two hallmarks of Mr. O’Donnell’s philanthropic investment in UT Southwestern. In the late 1990s, he conceived and provided financial support for the Endowed Scholars Program in Medical Science, which has brought nearly 100 of the country’s brightest early-career scientists to UT Southwestern as faculty members. In addition, he has provided support to each of UT Southwestern’s six Nobel Prize winners, as well as many UT Southwestern members of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine.

The O’Donnell Foundation provided a $36 million leadership gift to UT Southwestern, which empowered UTSW to create the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. The support of the O’Donnell Foundation substantiates that one of the greatest challenges of our time is brain injury in its various forms. The gift enables UT Southwestern to accelerate progress in injury prevention, novel brain preservation strategies, and restoring brain function lost by injury and disease.

About — Peter O’Donnell Jr.

Leadership

Senior leadership

  • Dr. Christopher Madden headshot

    Christopher Madden, M.D.

    Executive Clinical Director, Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute

    Dr. Christopher Madden is Professor of Neurological Surgery at UT Southwestern and Executive Clinical Director of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. The goal of the Brain Institute is to better understand the basic molecular workings of the brain and apply those discoveries to the prevention and treatment of brain and spine diseases and injuries.

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  • Dr. Hunt Batjer headshot

    Hunt Batjer, M.D.

    Chair, Neurological Surgery

    Dr. Hunt Batjer is an internationally recognized cerebrovascular surgeon and an authority on brain injury. As the premier tertiary care neurosurgical referral center in Texas and surrounding states, the Department of Neurological Surgery provides care in every neurosurgical subspecialty and has led advances in neurosurgical techniques.

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  • Dr. Kathleen Bell headshot

    Kathleen Bell, M.D.

    Chair, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

    Neurorehabilitation specialist Dr. Kathleen Bell is a noted authority in the field of traumatic brain injury research. The Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation is dedicated to providing comprehensive rehabilitation, acute inpatient care, and outpatient services to patients affected by physical and neurological conditions that limit mobility and function.

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  • Dr. Marc Diamond headshot

    Dr. Marc Diamond is the founding Director of the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Southwestern. At the Center, a multidisciplinary group of researchers is studying the basis of progressive protein aggregation in human disease, with the goal of finding ways to detect and stop neurodegeneration before patients develop symptoms.

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  • Dr. Mark Goldberg​ headshot

    Mark Goldberg​, M.D.

    Chair, Neurology & Neurotherapeutics

    Dr. Mark Goldberg is an internationally recognized stroke care expert, with more than 25 years of clinical and research experience. The Department of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics provides state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for patients with neurological diseases and conducts research to advance therapies for neurological disorders.

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  • Dr. Joseph Maldjian headshot

    Joseph Maldjian, M.D.

    Chief, Neuroradiology

    Dr. Joseph Maldjian is Director of the Advanced Neuroscience Imaging Research (ANSIR) Lab and widely renowned for his radiological investigations of traumatic brain injuries. The ANSIR Lab is devoted to the application of novel imaging methods and analyses to research studies, as well as to robust clinical translation of these techniques.

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  • Dr. Berge Minassian headshot

    Berge Minassian, M.D.

    Chief, Pediatric Neurology

    An expert in pediatric epilepsy and genetics, Dr. Berge Minassian wears multiple hats at UT Southwestern, serving as a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Neurology & Neurotherapeutics, and Neuroscience, as well as a specialist at the UTSW Children’s Medical Center Research Institute, the mission of which is to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease.

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  • Dr. Joseph Takahashi headshot

    Joseph Takahashi, Ph.D.

    Chair, Neurosciences

    Dr. Takahashi has pioneered the use of forward genetics and positional cloning in the mouse as a tool for discovery of genes underlying neurobiology and behavior. The Department of Neuroscience is dedicated to research into fundamental questions about neuronal and brain functions in health and diseases. This focus has led to scientific breakthroughs such as Dr. Takahashi’s discovery of the Clock gene.

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  • Dr. Carol Tamminga headshot

    Carol Tamminga, M.D.

    Chair, Psychiatry

    Dr. Carol Tamminga is a psychiatrist and researcher who specializes in treating psychotic illnesses, including schizophrenia, psychotic bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. The Department of Psychiatry has expertise in virtually all areas pertinent to modern psychiatric practice, ranging from psychoanalysis to neurobiology and psychiatric epidemiology.

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  • Dr. Madhukar Trivedi headshot

    Madhukar Trivedi, M.D.

    Director, Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care

    Dr. Madhukar Trivedi is an authority in the fields of psychiatry and psychology and an expert in treating mood disorders. UT Southwestern’s Mood Disorders Research Program, within the Department of Psychiatry, focuses on understanding the neurobiology and psychology of depression and mood disorders and identifying biological and psychological abnormalities.

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Patient Care

Accessing and improving patient care across the spectrum

The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute aims to advance our understanding of brain diseases and injury. Our ultimate goal: improve treatment options and discover ways to prevent such illnesses and injuries from ever occurring.

Unfortunately, phrases like “there is no cure” are heard all too often for those suffering from brain diseases and disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s and aggressive brain tumors to traumatic brain injuries. At the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, we provide advanced diagnostic capabilities and treatment options for the full spectrum of brain, spine, muscle, nerve, and psychiatric disorders.

We offer more than 200 areas of specialty care, including:

Inpatient Care

Zale Lipshy University Hospital serves as the cornerstone of inpatient care for patients of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. With 148 beds, it is among the world’s premier neurological diagnostic and treatment centers — serving as a major referral hospital for North Texas and the southwestern United States.

Zale Lipshy offers:

  • A multiroom, multimodal neuroangiography suite and hybrid neuro-angio operating room providing both diagnostic and minimally invasive treatment interventions

  • Advanced imaging technology, including an Aquilion One 320-slice CT scanner and 3T MRI

  • A 20-bed neuro intensive care unit (ICU) staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by physicians trained in neurology and critical care

  • The only Perfexion Gamma Knife System available in North Texas. Gamma Knife is a completely robotic radiosurgical system that improves stereotactic radio surgery options

  • An 18-bed inpatient psychiatric unit, supported by active ECT and neuromodulation programs that serve both inpatients and outpatients

  • A 36-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit

Ambulatory Care

Because of the expanse of our clinical programs, our clinicians see patients at a variety of locations, including clinics on UT Southwestern’s main campus, the Clinical Center at Richardson/Plano, and the Clinical Center at Park Cities.

Our clinicians also provide care to patients at UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, Parkland Health & Hospital System, the North Texas VA Hospital, and Children’s Health, as well as other partner facilities.

Research

Creating a new paradigm for brain reseach

Neuroscience is entering a new era of innovation in which fundamental discoveries can transform basic and translational research. Ultimately, these discoveries will expand the potential to treat and prevent brain, spine, nerve, and muscle disorders. The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute is focused on establishing a new research paradigm built on scientific rigor, interdisciplinary collaboration, and open innovation to accelerate advances in science and technology.

With teams of international scientific leaders, including some led by Nobel Laureates, UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute continues to pave the way for new advances in brain research. This includes transformative programs in neurodegeneration, neuromodulation, neurorepair, and neuro-oncology. By taking advantage of the latest imaging technologies, making profound breakthroughs related to the mechanisms of brain disease, and improving our ability to analyze massive amounts of data, discoveries across all disciplines continue to be made.

Our teams are involved in more than 500 studies across all departments and centers. Some of these studies include:

Departments & Centers

Assembling the brightest minds in the field

The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute unites individual UT Southwestern departments and centers. We’ve established a commonality of collaboration among clinical specialists and scientific researchers to provide focused, high-quality patient care today – and raise the bar for future standards of care.

Discover the faculty of the Peter O’Donnell Brain Institute

Collaboration across many UT Southwestern departments and divisions makes our work possible:

We also collaborate with UT Southwestern centers, which are central to our efforts:

  • The Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair promotes research and education to enhance the treatment and diagnosis of brain injuries.

  • The Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care researches and treats depression, bipolar disorder, and related conditions with a focus on treatment-resistant, chronic, or recurrent depression.

  • The Robert D. Rogers Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center staff is a world-renowned team of neurosurgeons who use advanced surgical and imaging techniques to treat stroke patients.

  • The Alzheimer’s Disease Center investigates brain changes associated with healthy aging, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive disorders.

  • The Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases researches potential treatments to cure or halt the progression of dementia and related disorders.

  • The Center for Translational Neurodegeneration Research studies how mutations in certain protein receptors correlate with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • The Annette G. Strauss Center for Neuro-Oncology focuses on improving treatments and researching tumors of the central nervous system.

  • The Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities offers evaluations and diagnoses for patients up to age 21, as well as extensive autism research and clinical education for tomorrow’s physicians.