Dallas Chapter Delves Into Neuroscience with ‘Game Changers’

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Under the chandeliered ceiling of Dallas’ Renaissance Hotel today, the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter played host to Game Changers on the Road, a program dedicated to showcasing dynamic UT faculty members and their research.

More than 90 people—including Texas Exes CEO Leslie Cedar and UT President Bill Powers—gathered to listen to “Risk Taking: The Good, the Bad, and the Brain,” a presentation by the director of UT’s new Imaging Research Center, Russ Poldrack.

The Game Changers on the Road program was born from Longhorn Network’s Game Changers show, which features lectures from faculty powerhouses like John Daly, H.W. Brands, and Dean Paul Woodruff. This first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Office of the President and the Dallas Chapter helped bring that star power to some of UT’s most active alumni.

“Our intent,” Cedar said to the crowd, “is to bring top talent from UT to alums and supporters where you live so you can stay connected and become even more keenly aware of the exceptional research happening every day on our campus.”

Poldrack, who has previously taught at Harvard and UCLA, spoke about the science behind adventure-seekers and those wild adolescent years—a topic that had attendees so engaged, the question-and-answer portion lasted almost as long as the lecture itself.

“The sensitivity to rewards is especially turned on in teenagers,” Poldrack said in his presentation. “And self-control, housed in the pre-frontal cortex, is not as active as in adults. Whether this is because of social factors or hormones—that’s what’s still left to be discovered.”

President Powers, who flew in from New York specifically to attend the event, took to the podium to thank the members of the crowd—many sporting burnt-orange ties and shirts—for their continued dedication to the University.

“I go around and see a lot of university presidents,” Powers said. “I can tell you that people from other universities come up to me and ask, ‘Where did you get those great alumni?’ You guys have become cult heroes in higher education.”

Photos by Matt Strasen.


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