University of Minnesota researcher appointed Anderson Chair in PTSD Research

Monday, November 11, 2013

Brian Engdahl, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology at the Brain Sciences Center at the University of Minnesota and psychologist and clinician investigator at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, has been appointed the Anderson Chair in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Research at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The Anderson Chair helps understand and heal the psychological scars that often haunt veterans as they return home from service. The $2 million gift honors the late William Lewis Anderson, a combat medic who died trying to save a wounded soldier on the battlefield in World War II.

Engdahl has served veterans for more than 30 years at the Brain Sciences Center and Minneapolis VA Medical Center and is working on numerous research initiatives to assess and treat veterans with serious disabilities, including PTSD.

“It’s an honor to be named the Anderson Chair in PTSD Research,” said Engdahl. “We hope to continue the great work done at the University of Minnesota and VA Medical Center to help those who served our country but now are afflicted with PTSD and other life altering disabilities.”

With Apostolos Georgopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues at the Brain Sciences Center, Engdahl has recently helped discover that a special kind of brain scan can identify, with 95 percent accuracy, veterans with PTSD. Because this appears to be the first objective marker of a mental disorder, the findings should help develop better kinds of PTSD treatment, encourage more people who suffer from it to seek help, and reduce the stigma associated with PTSD and other mental disorders.

“The University of Minnesota has strong programs in brain science and on the provision of care for those with brain injury,” said Aaron Friedman, M.D., vice president for health sciences and dean of the Medical School. “The awarding of this Chair to Professor Engdahl reflects his enormous contribution in understanding and treating brain injury.”