Vision and Goals of the Brain Institute

Imagine a day when Alzheimer’s disease is a preventable condition, when a pharmacological therapy promotes repair after a brain injury, when brain stimulation speeds recovery after a stroke, and when depression can be halted in its earliest stages by selecting therapies based on a patient’s specific biosignature. To realize this future, we must understand the genes, molecules, and pathways that are altered in disease in order to discover new targets for therapy.

“The goal of the Brain Institute is to find the causes and treatment of brain-related diseases and going beyond that to find the means of preventing them. UTSW is uniquely positioned because of the remarkably talented faculty, both researchers and clinicians who come together in an undertaking of really big challenges. I can think of no one whose family or friends have not been touched in one way or another by brain-related illness. UTSW is a place that can really change that picture for the future.”
Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D.

At UT Southwestern, we believe that the next decade will be as burgeoning in brain science as the 1980s were for cardiovascular research. That scientific revolution led to the discovery of statins — cholesterol lowering drugs that have helped tens of millions of people around the world — as well as to UT Southwestern’s first two Nobel Prizes. North Texas will again be the seat of scientific discovery, as it was 30 years ago, but this time it will be for unraveling the mysteries of the brain.


Campaign for the Brain: Leading Transformative Change at Medicine's Ultimate Frontier
The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute leverages UT Southwestern’s basic research and clinical expertise to provide the nation’s best and most comprehensive brain care.

Our Goals

Apply advanced imaging tools and analytics.

For years, one of the great challenges in diagnosing and treating brain injury was that conventional imaging tools often failed to show abnormalities even when clinical manifestations of brain injury are apparent. New technologies developed at UT Southwestern’s Advanced Imaging Research Center offer opportunities to directly visualize disruption of brain function and structure.

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.

Develop new therapies.

Our clinical fields have suffered from a lack of drugs and treatments that can actually restore and improve brain function. Based on our improved understanding of brain circuit properties, critical areas for breakthroughs lie in the development of drug and molecular therapies for neurologic disease, as well as in the development of neuromodulation (brain stimulation) therapies.

Understand 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. Understanding how the nervous system functions and how it generates integrative behavior and cognition remain among the most difficult challenges in science today.


Advanced Imaging 
Clinical Expertise 
New Therapies 
Understanding Pathways