News Release

News Release

VCU Will Lead $62 Million Study of Traumatic Brain Injuries in Military Personnel

VCU has been awarded a five-year, $62.2 million federal grant to oversee a national research consortium of military, VA and academic universities, hospitals and clinics that will study the chronic effects of concussion on service members and Veterans.

This nationwide research Consortium will also partner with civilian research efforts (including the NFL, CDC, NIH) to better understand short and long-term effects, factors, and treatment strategies. This grant is the largest in VCU history. The concussions that will be studied include both combat injuries, such as those from blasts and bullets, and civilian injuries, such as those from car accidents, sports injuries and falls.

The researchers involved in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs grant have been studying brain injuries and working with Veterans Health Administration hospitals, including Richmond's Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, the military and universities for many years. They now will share their knowledge and work toward solutions for traumatic brain injuries. The principal investigator on the grant is David X. Cifu, M.D., chair of the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and executive director of VCU's Center of Researcher Sciences and Engineering (CERSE). Also playing key roles in this Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC) for VCU/McGuire VAMC will be Steven West, PhD, William Walker, MD, Bill Carne, PhD, Carolyn West, PhD, Shane McNamee, MD, Brian McMahon, PhD, Paul Wehman, PhD, Chad Dillard, MD and Mary McDougal. The CENC leadership will further leverage the Department of PM&R's position as the national leader in Brain Injury, while also opening the door for sports medicine, neurodegenerative, pediatric rehabilitation, and translational neurosciences research.

Brick compass on VCU campus

"This is another significant milestone in VCU’s ascent as a national-caliber public research university," said VCU President Michael Rao. "We recognize that an award of this magnitude only results from the research excellence that is fostered and encouraged across VCU." This is the second particularly large grant that VCU has received in recent years. In 2010, VCU received a $20 million grant - until now, the largest federal award in its history - from the National Institutes of Health to become part of a nationwide consortium of research institutions working to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients.