VCU will lead $50M study of traumatic brain injuries in military personnel


Dear VCU and VCU Health colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce that the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs awarded Virginia Commonwealth University a $50 million grant to oversee a national research consortium of universities, hospitals and clinics that will study the long-term impacts of mild traumatic brain injuries on service members and veterans.

Dr. David X. Cifu, chair of VCU’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the VCU School of Medicine, is the principal investigator. With this award – known as the Long-term Impact of Military-relevant Brain Injury Consortium (LIMBIC) grant – researchers will study the ongoing health impacts of combat concussions, such as those from blasts, bullets and hand-to-hand fighting as well as vehicle accidents, sports injuries and falls.

The federal funding will bring together universities, Veterans Health Administration hospitals – including Richmond’s Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center – and the military to study the impact of combat concussions.

Beginning in October, the new $50 million LIMBIC award will allow us to build upon the work of a $62 million grant VCU received in 2013 to lead Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), which included 30 universities, 15 VA hospitals and 12 military treatment facilities. Researchers from the CENC team already discovered links between combat concussions and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, opioid usage and suicide risk.

This is a story of science that will drastically improve the quality of life of those who selflessly sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy. Nationally prominent universities like VCU and those with whom we partner conduct research because it has the power to make the human experience better, and that’s especially meaningful when it helps veterans who have given so much to our nation – sometimes at great personal expense.

We are on a relentless pursuit to better health for everyone we serve and we are proud of VCU’s commitment to research, innovation and scholarship that saves and improves lives. Through grants and partnerships, like the LIMBIC, we can become a model that improves the health of those who need us.

We look forward to seeing the many positive impacts of this important research. Please join us in congratulating and thanking Dr. Cifu and his team on this incredible achievement. We are also grateful to our LIMBIC partners and excited about the groundbreaking work we will do together.

To view an interview about the research with Dr. Cifu and two veteran participants, please click here.



Michael Rao, Ph.D
President, VCU and VCU Health System
Marsha Rappley, M.D.
CEO, VCU Health System
Senior Vice President, VCU Health Sciences