Power of the Mind

UT Tyler’s Benjamin Tseng Makes an Impact Through Brain Aging Research

Being part of a traditional Asian family with a mathematician father and English teacher mother, Dr. Benjamin Tseng relented in becoming the household’s medical doctor one day. Against his father’s wishes, he dropped out of medical school after one year to major in communication and advertising and dreamed of becoming a “big city” advertising agency director.

That dream changed in the summer of 1996. Tseng’s father suffered a hemorrhagic stroke – when an artery bursts and bleeds into the surrounding brain, damaging or killing the brain’s nerve cells. His father survived after a 10-day coma.

“His post-stroke symptoms led to my re-kindled interest in human physiology, particularly in neuroscience,” said Tseng, who is a UT Tyler associate professor of health and kinesiology. “We didn’t lose him to that stroke fortunately, but I wanted to learn all that I could to help those in the same situation as my father.”

After Tseng earned his undergraduate and graduate mass communication degrees, he changed career paths. He earned a master of science in exercise science, Ph.D. in neuroscience; and received a rigorous five-year postdoctoral training in integrative physiology. Tseng’s dissertation in post-stroke fatigue, which was conceived to address his father’s chronic struggle, later led to his breakthrough in the high-impact journal, STROKE. The achievement launched Tseng’s career as a clinical researcher.

“Post-stroke fatigue was not recognized by clinicians and caregivers at the time,” Tseng said. “I’m proud to know that my research contributed clear differentiation of fatigue subtypes in stroke survivors and moved the field forward.”

A Taiwan native who grew up in Canada and the US Midwest, Tseng is passionate about sharing his knowledge with young minds of all backgrounds.

“I enjoy empowering learners, myself included, with knowledge,” he said. “Throughout my career working as a presenter and public speaker in various settings, I always feel privileged to be given the opportunity to influence one’s mind in a constructive way.”

Aside from neuroscience and brain aging, Tseng’s research interests include neuroimaging, exercise physiology and motor control and learning. The American Heart Association has recognized his research benefiting Alzheimer’s Disease and the National Institute of Health’s Nursing Research Division has recently adopted his fatigue protocol in treating stroke patients.

Serving UT Tyler since 2014, Tseng oversees the University’s brain aging lab. He also serves the Medical Research Committee and Scientific Oversight Committee for the Alzheimer’s Association–Dallas & North East Texas Chapter and the Project Rose Research Institute for Sports Science in Tyler, respectively.

Additionally, he volunteers as the Alzheimer’s community educator and referees and serves on the editorial board for several clinical journals. Tseng also is an active member of the AHA’s stroke council.

While not traveling or restoring vintage vehicles, Tseng also enjoys outdoor adventures, cycling, tennis, golf, bowling and martial arts. He and his wife, Sunny, are the proud parents of two Maltese and one Maine Coon.