RICHARDSON, Texas (May 15, 2006) — The Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), a facility dedicated to cutting-edge research in the brain sciences, has received a $1 million donation from Irving, Texas, businessman Dennis Berman and his wife Claudia to establish the Berman Laboratory for Learning and Memory.
Primary research initiatives of the laboratory will include understanding how learning occurs, understanding how information is retained and deciphering how knowledge and memories are maintained throughout an individual’s lifetime. Researchers also will study how long-term information storage and memory maintenance is affected by aging.
In addition, the gift will fund the Berman Scholars Program, which will support young investigators through post-doctoral training in memory research, as well as the Berman Lecture Series, which will host a national or international expert each year to give a public talk about memory-related issues.
“This wonderful gift from the Berman’s could not come at a more opportune time. Our Center for BrainHealth is poised to make important discoveries in the understanding of how we learn and remember,” said UTD President Dr. David E. Daniel. “The university has made significant commitments in the field of cognitive neuroscience and the work of these scientists will advance much more rapidly through the Berman’s support.”
Learning is one of Berman’s lifelong interests.
“I was a poor student but I loved to learn,” Berman said. “Despite my reluctance to study, I’ve always had a passion for knowledge.”
Berman’s interests, paired with a natural talent for business, led him to great success founding several companies, most recently the learning-management firm Trivac, which markets a new learning tool that Berman created, the LIT Learning Program. The program promises “far superior” retention of information than traditional training methods.
“We are grateful to both Dennis and Claudia for their vision and generous support of such an important issue in brain research — the ability to learn and retain that knowledge, even as we age,” said Dr. John Hart, medical science director of the center and the Jane and Bud Smith Distinguished Chair for Brain Health at UTD. “We hope this new lab will serve as a catalyst for attracting young researchers and scholars to study the intricacies of the human mind and ultimately help us accomplish our mission to couple brain research with therapies that will build healthy minds and restore vigor to injured and diseased minds.”
Berman said he was inspired by the center’s mission.
“Most centers dealing with brain research are working primarily for a cure,” he said. “At the Center for BrainHealth, the emphasis is on prevention — to help avert and catch memory loss in its early stages so it doesn’t turn into Alzheimer’s or dementia. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and more of their effort is prevention. I think you get more impact with that kind of thinking.”
Berman is the founder and chairman of Trivac. He comes from an extensive background of training and learning practices. He founded several companies, including Mirex Corporation and Denitech Corporation. He also was one of two largest shareholders of Voyager Expanded Learning, a company that created new methods for teaching students. Berman has trained executives for more than 35 years in his own companies and via other businesses. He has participated in numerous nonprofit boards, including Just for the Kids, Dallas’ Winston School and Dallas public broadcasting station KERA. He also has served on the Governor’s Business Council and on that group’s executive committee, under then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.
About the Center for BrainHealth
The Center for BrainHealth has a unique mission: to unite brain research and brain therapies in an active partnership to build healthy minds and restore health to injured and diseased minds. No other institution in America has undertaken this dual mission. The center, a scientific institute of The University of Texas at Dallas, is dedicated to understanding the brain’s ability to restore or protect healthy function, protect the brain through preventive measures for people of all ages, and healing the brain through treatments that regenerate brain function. Brain disease or trauma can strike anyone at any age, but exciting scientific discoveries are changing the past belief that the brain cannot be healed. For more information about the Center for BrainHealth and its work, please visit the organization’s website www.centerforbrainhealth.org.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls nearly 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.