Center for BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director Dr. Sandi Chapman and The Friends of BrainHealth have a knack for making serious stuff fun. For instance, they adapted TV’s “Shark Tank” format to provide a forum for a group of young scientists to “pitch” their various programs. Instead of business sharks, the backers were Center for BrainHealth philanthropists, who wanted to give the young people financial help in continuing their efforts.
The competition took place at a luncheon on Monday, October 3, at the Dallas Country Club in front of a crowd that included Colby Baer, Marcy and Steve Sands, Julie Rado, Dan Owen, Stacey Angel, Ramona Jones, Pam Borders and Venise Stuart. Here’s a report from the field:
The Friends of BrainHealth, the donor circle that raises funds to support the brainiacs at Center for BrainHealth, gathered at the Dallas Country Club on Monday, October 3, for their annual Friends of BrainHealth Scientist Selection Luncheon.
The 2022 Friends of BrainHealth Co-Chairs Brian Conroy and Brandi Sinclair had big news to share – the ultra-competitive duo set an annual fundraising record for Friends of BrainHealth since the group’s inception.
Steve Durham, who sponsored the luncheon alongside his wife, Barbara Durham, welcomed guests. He explained that they believe many of the challenges our society faces today begin and end with the brain, and that there is still so much research to be done to fully understand this powerful organ.
The audience had to have their neurons firing at this luncheon. They listened to three competitors, all scientists who are young in their careers, give a “Shark Tank” style pitch on a brain-related research project they’d undertake if awarded funding, and then voted on their top choice.
Graduate student Stephen Campbell was voted the audience favorite for his project “Examining the Relationship between Age-Related Differences in Locus Coeruleus Structure and Function in Sustained Attention.”
Additionally, three very generous Friends of BrainHealth members gave at the highest level this year and bestowed a scientist with a funding award that bears their name. The pressure was off for these three recipients – their awards had already been selected prior to the luncheon.
Amy Berglund Barraza, PhD, received the Jennifer and Peter Roberts Visionary New Scientist Award for her project, “Investigating Neural Mechanisms Underlying Rhythm-Based Language Rehabilitation for Children with Developmental Language Disorder.”
Jeahong Kim, PhD, received the Carol Heller Visionary New Scientist Award for his project, “Investigating Neural Correlates Underlying Therapeutic Potential of Binaural Beat Stimulation on Alzheimer’s Disease.” After hearing all of the technical terminology in Dr. Kim’s project, when Carol Heller joined him on stage to receive his award, she declared, “Just don’t ask me any questions!”
Pariya Zare, MS, received the Lyda Hill Philanthropies Visionary New Scientist Award for her project, “Transcranial Photobiomodulation as a Protector for Cognition during Systemic Chemotherapy.”
After all the awards had been announced, Brandi and Brian turned the floor over to their successors for the 2023 campaign, Marena Gault and Ted Uzelac, who closed the luncheon by telling everyone that they would automatically become “smarter and more attractive” if they donated to Friends of BrainHealth!
To join Friends of BrainHealth, visit centerforbrainhealth.org/friends.
* Photo provided by Center for BrainHealth