Expanding University Initiatives

Neuroscience Symposium Attracts Experts

Kent State Brain Health Research Institute’s 10th Annual Neuroscience Symposium attracted top research talent and industry experts, including alumnus Earl Miller, ’85, Ph.D, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his wife Marlene Wicherski were honored at the symposium with a Founders Award for the $2 million gift they pledged earlier this year to support research programs and students in Kent State University’s Brain Health Research Institute (BHRI).

Founders Awards are typically given at the university’s bi-annual Founders Gala, which recognizes Kent State’s most generous donors. Valoree Vargo, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement, presented Miller with the award at the neuroscience symposium as they were not able to attend the Nov. 5 gala.

In addition to celebrating this philanthropic achievement, the Brain Health Research Institute Neuroscience Symposium included presentations from Miller and several other Kent State alumni and industry leaders covering a variety of topics.

The symposium’s keynote speaker Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D., presented, “The Biology of Trauma: Understanding Risk and Resilience.” Bale is the Anschutz Foundation Endowed Chair in Women's Integrated Mental and Physical Health Research at the Ludeman Center, and Professor and Director for Intergenerational Stress and Health and the Director for Sex Differences Research in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus.

Kent State students also participated in the symposium, presenting on their own research during a poster session where they shared their experiments and findings. Student volunteers assisted throughout the event to check in guests and distribute programs. The neuroscience symposium also offered guests a chance to tour the new 70,000-square-foot Integrated Sciences Building.

Other notable speakers include Mike Lehman, director, Brain Health Research Institute, Ya’el C. Courtney, '19, neuroscience Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University, and Allison Brager, ’11, Ph.D., deputy chief science officer for the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, whose presentation, “In Search of Super Soldiers: Military Research on the Frontlines,” focused on her research on sleep and sleep deprivation of military service members.