Research

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.

What We Offer

Membership

All faculty with a primary appointment in an O'Donnell Brain Institute (OBI) constituent department or center are eligible to apply for special funding for program activities, including support for research symposia or for educational or community outreach activities. More information regarding membership and funding opportunities may be found on the OBI Intranet site (you will need VPN access if you are not on campus).

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. Investigator benefits include subsidies on OBI Core resources, eligibility to apply for OBI internal grant programs, and eligibility for the use of OBI laboratory space. To learn more about the Investigator Program, as well as complete an application, UT Southwestern-affiliated faculty may access more information on the OBI Intranet site (you will need VPN access if you are not on campus).

UT Southwestern Support

UT Southwestern faculty are also eligible to apply for a variety of support programs including the Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars (DOCS) Program and Endowed Scholars Program.

Our Facilities

Just as our faculty are leading the way in brain science, our facilities – including a dedicated research tower and a new neuroscience wing at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital – also 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.

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