Brain health
Expanding University Initiatives
Brain Health Research Institute

Alumnus Supports Brain Health Research

Earl K. Miller, ’85, Ph.D., and his wife Marlene M. Wicherski have pledged $2 million to support research programs and students in Kent State University’s Brain Health Research Institute (BHRI). The BHRI is a recently established, cross-disciplinary institute that focuses on research and education to understand the influences that impact brain health across the lifespan, and uses this knowledge as a window into the prevention and treatment of brain disease.

“On behalf of the Kent State community, I would like to express deep gratitude to Dr. Earl Miller and Marlene Wicherski for their continued support of our university,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “Their generous gift will help advance our elite Brain Health Research Institute and further opportunities for our amazing students.”

This gift will support: 

  • The creation of a  BHRI Endowed Directorship that will accelerate BHRI’s effort to recruit and retain top leadership.
  • The BHRI Undergraduate Fellows Program. These fellowships are an immersive program for first- and second-year students who are interested in pursuing careers in neuroscience research, education, healthcare or related areas.

Miller also donates his valuable time and talents to the university, most recently as the keynote presenter this past November during the Brain Health Research Institute grand opening lecture. He is also one of the founding members of the BHRI Advisory Committee, is serving as BHRI Special Advisor and also as a member of the BHRI Steering Committee, participating in discussions of the Institute and its future goals.

“Kent State gave me so much, and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back,” Miller said of this most recent gift. “I am excited by the innovative plans for the Brain Health Research Institute. I am sure it will be a big success, and I hope my gift will help.”

The Brain Health Research Institute is a collaborative effort that taps passionate faculty members from across the university and its eight campuses – not just in science-based departments, but also in social sciences, the arts and humanities – to bring together their unique strengths as they collaborate to solve brain-related challenges. The institute is the epicenter of innovative training for undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in an environment that combines hands-on access, mentorship, resources, community partners and research opportunities.

“We are extremely proud of the successes the BHRI has already achieved in just a few short years,” said Michael Lehman, Ph.D., inaugural director of the BHRI. “We know our potential is unlimited. This gift will allow us to continue to conduct groundbreaking research and train the next generation of neuroscientists. Understanding the brain, and translating that work into finding cures for brain disease is our passion, and this is something we have in common with Dr. Miller and Ms. Wicherski. We are deeply grateful for their continued, generous support; they are truly helping Kent State and our amazing staff, students and alumni make the world Forever Brighter.”