Cornellians Working to Combat CTE
March 22, 2023 @ 4:00 pm
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
TIME: 7 PM – 8:30 PM
LOCATION: Zoom (Link will be sent in registration confirmation)
The Cornell Club of Boston is honored to offer an enlightening and inspiring discussion to our alumni community, where we will learn more about the important research that is being done here in Boston to research the devastating effects of, and possible treatments and improved diagnoses for, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). We are proud that several Cornellians are deeply involved in these efforts, both in the lab and through their public advocacy. We will be joined by Dr. Jesse Mez ’01 of Boston University’s CTE Center, and Lisa McHale ’89 and Dr. Samantha Bureau ’22 of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF). We will learn about the science of CTE, how the research is evolving, specific implications for football players and their families, and the important work of CLF (also founded here in Boston) to promote smarter sports and safer athletes through education, innovation, research and advocacy programs.
Cornellians love their sports, and in a city like Boston, sports are not only a pastime, they are a source of great passion and civic pride. Football, in particular, has become a way of life across America. Here in Boston, we love our Patriots, turn out in droves for big-time college matchups, cheer for our favorite high school teams on Friday nights and send our kids to football camps and clinics. It’s a thrilling game, but we have been reminded all too often that it can also be a dangerous game.
In recent years, the public has begun to learn about CTE, a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. CTE made the local Boston news when former New England Patriot Junior Seau was found to have suffered from CTE before he tragically took his own life in 2012. Since then, public advocacy and research have advanced considerably—led by the CLF and the BU CTE Center–and the National Football League and other athletic organizations have begun to implement reforms to keep players safer and to support former players and their families who have been impacted.
The moderated panel will be presented as a webinar over Zoom. Audience members will be able to ask questions of the panelists, and additional information and resources will be shared afterward. Tara Benedict ’01, Director-at-Large for the Cornell Club of Boston, will moderate.
About the Panelists:
Dr. Jesse Mez is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Boston University (BU) Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine. He is Associate Director of the BU Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Research Center, is an investigator in the BU Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center, and co-leads the Framingham Heart Study Brain Aging Program Clinical Core. He joined BU’s faculty in 2013, where he has been an integral player in the field of CTE and AD. His research seeks to understand the genetic, neuropathological, epidemiological, and clinical aspects of AD, CTE, and related dementias. Ongoing research themes include (but are not limited to) investigating the relationship between traumatic brain injury, exposure to repetitive head impacts from contact sports and military service, and dementia-related outcomes and their interaction with genetic factors, as well as the clinicopathologic correlation in CTE with the goal to accurately diagnose CTE in life (among others). He is a Principal Investigator or Core/Project Leader on six NIH and DOD-funded grants and is an author of more than 100 research articles, reviews, editorials, and book chapters, and has won a number of prestigious awards for his work.
Dr. Mez received his AB from Cornell University in Mathematics (class of 2001), his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and his MS in Biostatistics with an emphasis on Statistical Genetics from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. He completed his Neurology Residency at the Harvard Partners Program in Boston, followed by a Clinical Fellowship in Aging and Dementia and a Research Fellowship in Neuroepidemiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Lisa McHale met her husband, Tom McHale, while at Cornell University. Tom was an All-American Defensive End for the Big Red. She graduated in 1989 and married Tom in 1990. They moved to Tampa, where Tom began his 9-year NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, Lisa received a Master’s and Educational Specialist (ED.S) degree in School Psychology from the University of South Florida. In May 2008, Lisa’s husband passed away and became the second former NFL player diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) by researchers at the CTE Center at the Boston University School of Medicine. In March of 2010, Lisa joined the Concussion Legacy Foundation team, first serving as the Volunteer and Family Coordinator, and now as Director of Legacy Family Relations. She and her family reside in Tampa.
Samantha Bureau, PhD joined the Concussion Legacy Foundation team in December 2021, following nearly five years with the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada where she most recently acted as the Assistant Executive Director and Senior Director of International Research. She played ice hockey and ran track at Franklin Pierce, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Forensic Psychology and Sports & Recreation Management. She graduated at the top of her class, and went on to conduct research in neurodegenerative diseases with the Boston University CTE Center and the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute. Samantha then earned her PhD in Neuroscience from Carlton University where she focused on developing a novel mouse model for Parkinson’s Disease and potential therapeutics for the disease. Most recently, she completed the Executive MBA program at Cornell’s Johnson School last year.
To learn more about the work of BU’s CTE Center, visit their website here.
To learn more about the work of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, visit their website here.