Denise Park Named T. Boone Pickens Distinguished
Chair in Clinical Brain Science at UT Dallas

$2 Million Endowed Chair is Part of University's Center for BrainHealth

Aug. 19, 2007

Dr. Denise Cortis Park, a talented scientist in the booming field of cognitive research of the aging, will join The University of Texas at Dallas in January as the T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair in Clinical Brain Science.

The $2 million endowed chair is part of the University's School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, headed by Dr. Bert Moore. Park, who also will hold the title Regents' Research Scholar, will work closely with researchers in UT Dallas' Center for BrainHealth.

Park's professional areas of interest include the neuroscience of memory and aging, as well as how cultural differences may affect patterns of neural activation. She is particularly interested in whether stimulating cognitive and social experiences can enhance brain function in older adults.

“The addition of Dr. Park is an exciting development, and her reputation in the research community will fortify the University's already renowned programs in our School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and our Center for BrainHealth,” said UT Dallas President Dr. David E. Daniel. Through her expertise in neuroscience and gerontology, we will continue to deliver on our commitment to enhance and enlighten the scientific community through fresh, applicable discoveries.”

Park comes to UT Dallas from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Healthy Minds. She also was a faculty member in the university's Beckman Institute, under the cognitive neuroscience group.

Park said, “Opportunities for new discoveries in the field of brain health abound. I am interested in not only understanding how the mind changes with age, but what techniques and interventions we can use to delay the process of cognitive aging and maintain brain health over the lifespan. I believe my new position at UT Dallas offers the resources for further breakthroughs.”

“I have no doubt that Dr. Park's insightful studies will aid in improving the cognitive function of humans as they age, Dean Moore added. “Her talent and enthusiasm are contagious, and I look forward to working closely with her, as do many others at the University.”

Park's career of extensive investigation, leadership and teaching began at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Following her time there, Park was a professor of psychology, as well as director of the Southeastern Center for Applied Cognitive Aging Research, at the University of Georgia. At the University of Michigan, she furthered her research as a professor, senior research scientist and director of the Center on Aging and Cognition.

A member of nine professional societies, including the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Sciences, Park received the Distinguished Contribution Award to Psychology of Aging from the American Psychological Association. She has written six books and has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications.

Park received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Albion College in Michigan and her Ph.D. degree from the State University of New York at Albany.

Park is the first person named to the T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair in Clinical Brain Science. Earlier this year, businessman and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens donated $5 million to UT Dallas with the goal of broadening and extending clinical studies in brain science at the Center for BrainHealth.

The Regents' Research Scholar is a distinction from the University of Texas System given to highly productive and distinguished faculty. The award provides funds to outfit labs and facilitate other start-up related expenses.

Park's appointment at UT Dallas is effective in January, but the relocation of her lab to the Center for BrainHealth will begin in September.

Researchers at UT Dallas' Center for BrainHealth strive to understand the brain's ability to restore or guard healthy function, protect the brain from unnecessary mental decline and heal the brain through treatments that regenerate function. Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman heads the facility.

About UT Dallas

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 more than 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 UT Dallas, please visit the university's website at

Contact Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]

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Dr. Denise Park

Dr. Denise Cortis Park

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January 17, 2020