Under the leadership of Robert W. Haley, M.D. since its founding in 1983, the Division has focused on three disease categories:
- Nervous system diseases
- Infectious diseases
- Cardiovascular diseases
Research in Neuroepidemiology has concentrated on investigation of the nervous system problems underlying Gulf War Illness in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, and in recent years has led to extensive activities in brain imaging and laboratory investigations of neural mechanisms and genetic correlates, requiring specialized core facilities to support these activities.
Research in Infectious Disease Epidemiology originally focused on hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections and moved into studies of hepatitis C infection and developing responses to bioterrorist attacks and applying them at the local level through leadership in the Dallas County Medical Society. Recent investigations have focused on understanding epidemics of West Nile encephalitis.
The Division has invested heavily in the development of novel research methods whenever the lack of suitable methods was retarding progress toward research goals. In recent years methodologic innovation has been concentrated in developing and validating new MRI scanning procedures and new statistical theory and computer applications for brain imaging data, all focused on increasing the power to detect the most subtle differences in brain function between ill and well groups of subjects.