Brain research brings together great minds

September 16, 2011

By Tim Belter ’13

Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin and other great minds from Bradley, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, the Illinois Neurological Institute and the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria came together last year to combine their resources and form the Center for Collaborative Brain Research. The center has been a success, with two research projects wrapping up and three more set to begin.

Co-directors Dr. Russell-Chapin, also the associate dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, and Dr. Wen-Ching Liu of OSF St. Francis Medical Center began working on a way to bring these different groups together. Collaborative research can make it much easier to get grants, and pooling the groups’ resources would make conducting the research more straightforward.

“It just made sense to share our people, resources and skills,” said Russell-Chapin.

As Russell-Chapin and Liu put their heads together, one more question came up. What would the center’s research focus on? The body’s most important organ was an obvious choice.

“This is our final frontier, the brain,” said Russell-Chapin. “We wanted to see how we could make life more efficient and effective.”

The center officially formed in March 2010 and started work on two projects: a study of neurofeedback as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a study using fMRIs to study how the brain heals from a concussion. As those projects finish, researchers are preparing new projects in physical therapy, psychology and neurology.

The center has also been a great resource for student researchers. Since it was founded, seven Bradley students and one University of Illinois medical student have participated in research.

“These opportunities have allowed me to expand my knowledge of new techniques and treatments for ADHD,” said Jason Deford, a graduate student in the counseling program and a former student researcher with the CCBR. “It has shown me that even though there is some separation between neuroscience and counseling, the collaboration between the two professions could mean that people will receive the best possible help.”

For more information, visit the CCBR’s website at http://www.bradley.edu/ccbr/