Learn how to access the benefits of the
Virginia Neuroscience Initiative!
The mission of the Virginia Neuroscience Initiative (VNI) is to accelerate neuroscience research by providing strategy, infrastructure, and research tools to clinicians, researchers, and industry partners. Through collaborative efforts at its five medical centers and seven research universities, VNI members conduct basic and translational research in neurobiology to advance the understanding of brain diseases.
Randall E. Merchant, Ph.D.
Director, Virginia Neuroscience Initiative
Currently, Dr. Merchant is the Director of Operations for the Virginia Catalyst's Clinical Trials Network as well as directs the Virginia Neuroscience Initiative. Dr. Merchant is also a Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology with joint appointments in the Department of Neurosurgery and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He has extensive laboratory and clinical expertise in neurological disorders, particularly TBI, hemorrhagic stroke, and primary brain tumor. Over the past 37 years at VCU, he has been actively involved in neurosurgical research and has participated in clinical trials of new pharmaceutical agents, devices, immunotherapy, and nutritional supplements for TBI, hemorrhagic stroke, and brain tumor. He has coauthored 111 journal articles and 27 book chapters.
Administrator, Virginia Neuroscience Initiative
Karen has 25 years of social science, clinical and neuroscience training spanning addiction, mood disorders, epilepsy, and memory disorders research. She currently serves as the administrator for the Virginia Neuroscience Initiative-Virginia Catalyst handling communications involving membership needs as well as doing social media and website maintenance. Prior to this position, she worked in several neuroscience labs studying aspects of neurodegenerative disorders, as well as having completed a Master of Science degree doing clinical research at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research contributions have resulted in over 10 peer-reviewed publications and numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) and state funding awards. In addition, she now serves as a reviewer for Graduate Women In Science Fellowship awards.