UofM and UTHSC Researchers Receive 2019 CORNET Award for Studies on Brain Exploration in Adolescents 

 October 15, 2019 - Dr. Eraina Schauss, director and founder of the Brain Center at the University of Memphis, and Dr. Khyobeni Mozhui, associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), are recipients of the 2019 UTHSC/UofM CORNET Award in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Research for their project “A Combined Environment and Epigenetics Study (ACES): Impact of Neurofeedback Therapy on the Health and Behavior of Adolescents.” The research team will receive a total of $100,000 being provided by the research leadership at UTHSC (Dr. Steve Goodman) and the UofM (Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal).

Schauss and Mozhui will examine the EEG brain wave patterns and functioning of adolescents who have been exposed to adverse childhood events (ACEs) and investigate the impact of neurofeedback training. ACEs are traumatic events before the age of 18, and include various types of abuse and neglect as well as parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration and domestic violence. The pair is researching whether their innovative brain training can improve physical health, decrease mental health symptoms, improve cognitive functioning and reduce the risk of unfavorable social, emotional and developmental health outcomes in those affected adolescents.

Schauss and Mozhui will enlist the efforts of a team of UTHSC researchers to test levels of environmental toxicants and observe epigenetic and other predetermined biomarkers for their influence on resilience and susceptibility to traumatic childhood experiences. The research team will also investigate to what extent biomarkers can be used to predict successful outcomes for these adolescents. Their work will contribute to nationwide efforts surrounding the impact that ACEs have and their toll on mental and physical health.

“This is the first of what I hope will be many research collaborations between UTHSC and the UofM which are stimulated by CORNET awards,” says Dr. Steven R. Goodman, vice chancellor for Research at UTHSC and founder of the CORNET Awards program. “Our collaborations on the very important and timely subject of ACEs began with the generous support from the State of Tennessee through a $2 million award to the Memphis Research Consortium. There has been wonderful progress made by many UTHSC and UofM investigators. We are helping to continue this momentum with this CORNET Award.”

Launched in 2016, the CORNET Awards were created to foster collaborative partnerships between researchers across the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee, with various academic institutions regionally and globally, and with industry partners. To date, the CORNET Awards program has provided more than $1.7 million in funding to teams of researchers, giving rise to over $14.2 million in extramural funding.

“This collaboration between UTHSC and the UofM is one example of two world-class institutions working together to grow research capabilities and opens the door to future opportunities,” says Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, executive vice president for Research and Innovation at the UofM and executive director of the FedEx Institute of Technology. “Programs like the CORNET Award showcase stellar research talent, and universities partnering together provides opportunities that benefit not only researchers, but stakeholders at large.”


Mary Ann Dawson | 901.678.1592 | mdawson@memphis.edu