Current work in our lab is funded by:

Federal grants: Veterans Merit Award

State grants: Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Private donors

In 2020 our lab has received its most significant philanthropic award to date. J. Aron Allen was a husband, father, friend, and lawyer for St. Jude and Abbott. A gifted athlete, he excelled at football, hockey and baseball earning nine varsity letters in high school, and continuing to play baseball and hockey while attending Harvard University. He coached his children Andrew, Nathaniel, Elizabeth and Hannah, along with many others. He tragically passed away at the age of 49 in August of 2018. His wife Shelley, his children, and friends Valerie Tracy and James Ladner chose to honor his memory by establishing a foundation in his name to support brain injury research, awareness, and prevention. Our laboratory is tremendously grateful to the J. Aron Allen Legacy Foundation for choosing to honor Aron’s legacy by supporting our research. We will strive to respect and preserve his legacy as best we know how - by working to prevent others from suffering the pain, hardship and sorrow that Aron endured prior to his passing.

For more information please visit J. Aron Allen Legacy Foundation.

The 2nd annual fundraiser and golf tournament will be held at the Mendakota Country Club Monday, July 19, 2021. Please consider donating and attending this event to support neurotrauma research!

Our work is very labor intensive, compelling us to regularly apply for more grants despite these existing funds. The average grant application to the NIH or Department of Defense has a funding probability between 4% and 10%. We rely heavily on philanthropy for research funding even with these grant applications.

Funds are spent as follows:

100% of all funds donated to the Endowment Chair are used for research.

$10 pays for the recruitment of one patient’s eye tracking session.

$50 pays for the recruitment of one patient’s blood draw

$1000 pays for 10 hours of data analysis and application of machine learning algorithms so that we can assess the impact of other factors – age, medications, alcohol or sleep deprivation – that may affect eye movements.

Charlene's 5k Dog Run

Charlene Barron was triathlete, avid dog lover, and patient of Dr. Samadani who suffered a traumatic brain injury, resulting in her death. In her memory, friends and family of Charlene created the Charlene's 5k Dog Run to support research on brain injury and neurotrauma. The run is a fun, dog-friendly event which supports an amazing cause, and has had heavy involvement with our lab over the past few years.

For more information please visit the Run's website.

Significance to the Community

Brain injury has a psychological component that can negatively impact the lives of patients and loved ones through increased stress and emotional disturbance. Antisocial or aggressive behavior, poor impulse control, poor decision making, divorce and unemployment are all too familiar after brain injury. Guilt, blame, poor definition by the medical community and a lack of objective measures all contribute to why the affected community does not rally around a brain injury victim and raise money to support research for their treatment. You may be able to find assistance in their inpatient program, outpatient program or association with the Brain Injury Alliance.

Our eye tracking protocol and technology may change the psycho-social dynamics post-injury. By enabling people to detect brain injury that cannot be seen with conventional imaging, we provide objective evidence that there is indeed something wrong. Once we can detect and accurately diagnose the injury, we will be able to test treatments, and measures to protect against future trauma.


If you would like to donate, please contact us at