Expert Advice: Kent State Alumni to Serve on Brain Health Advisory Board

Some of Kent State University’s most prestigious alumni in the field of neuroscience have agreed to serve on the Brain Health Research Institute (BHRI) Advisory Board, which will host its inaugural meeting today. 

The board will serve as a source of external advice and input on the overall goals and direction of the BHRI, including annual reviews of institute progress and strategic planning for the future, according to Michael Lehman, Ph.D., director of the institute.  

“The board will serve the BHRI by broadly assessing its impact on the university and its external partners, as well as on local, regional, national and global communities,” Lehman said. “The board also will provide suggestions for new opportunities for external collaborations that could potentially broaden or enhance the overall impact of BHRI.” 

Kent State alumnus Earl Miller, Ph.D., will chair the new Brian Health Research Institute Advisory Board

Serving as chair of the board is Earl Miller, Ph.D., a leading cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on neural mechanisms of cognitive, or executive, control. He is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience with the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

Miller, a generous supporter of the Brain Health Research Institute, was a first-generation college student when he attended Kent State, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1985. Miller later earned master’s and doctorate degrees in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University. 

Many of the advisory board members were on the Kent Campus during the 2022 Fall Semester as featured speakers at the 10th Annual Neuroscience Symposium, which focused on alumni sharing their expertise. 

Douglas Delahanty, vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs, said Kent State alumni have had remarkable success and have produced an impressive body of work in the field of neuroscience and related research.

Douglas Delahanty, Ph.D., Kent State vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs

 “The fact that they are willing to invest their time and expertise in this manner is a testament to the great work and collaborative nature of the members of the Brain Health Research Institute,” Delahanty said. 

Lehman said the purpose of the board is student-focused. He said creating a board of so many outstanding professionals will help to create a network for mentoring and career guidance for current students. 

“For us, alumni are the extension of our current students,” he said. 

Thywill Ettey, a third-year doctoral student studying neuroscience, from Ghana in West Africa, was pleased to learn that the advisory board was made up of so many accomplished alumni.  

Ettey, who is researching spinal cord injuries in the lab of Lique Coolen, Ph.D., said she believes that having those alumni contacts is a good initiative that will benefit current students by creating a network of experts who can be a link to future job positions, research opportunities and career moves. 

“Alumni could help with advising students on how to go about their academics, research, choosing labs and writing thesis/dissertations,” she added. 

Michael Lehman, Ph.D., director of the Kent State Brain Health Research Institute

Lehman said tapping into Kent State’s vast alumni resources also shows current students the power of a Kent State education. 

The advisory board will provide suggestions for opportunities for collaborative ventures with other organizations to enhance the impact of the BHRI at the local, regional, national and/or global levels, and will serve as an advocate for the institute and its fundraising needs and priorities and help create an even stronger network of alumni support. 

While the initial board is all alumni, eventually it will expand to include representatives of community partners that have a strong commitment to the BHRI and its success, Lehman said. 

In addition to Miller, those serving on the inaugural board are: 

  • Major Allison J. Brager, Ph.D., deputy chief science officer, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. 
  • Ya'el C. Courtney, BS, fourth-year doctoral candidate, Program of Neuroscience Harvard University. 
  • Brad Gable, MD, MS, FACEP. system medical director OhioHealth Simulation. 
  • Suzanne N. Haber, Ph.D., dean's professor and professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester. 
  • John E. Hall, Ph.D., Arthur C. Guyton Professor and chair of Physiology and Biophysics, founding director of the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research and director of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Cardiorenal and Metabolic Diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 
  • Ashley D. Nemes-Baran, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Neurosciences School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. 
  • Meenakshi Rozenstrauch MS, consultant, Yuzu Labs 
  • Jason Tait Sanchez, Ph.D., CCC-A, FAAA, associate professor and director of Graduate Studies Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Northwestern University. 
  • Andrew J. Schoenfeld, MD, MSc, associate professor and clinician scientist, Division of Spine Surgery at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. 
POSTED: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 04:16 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2023 02:30 PM
Lisa Abraham