Veterans embracing by water\'s edge

To support innovative research and education initiatives that improve the health and well-being of Veterans.

Our History


The Minnesota Veterans Research Institute (MVRI) was incorporated in 1989, just one year after Congress passed legislation authorizing the creation of VA-affiliated non-profit corporations. The purpose of the legislation was to create a mechanism whereby non-VA federal grants and research contracts with medical device and pharmaceutical companies could be administered on behalf of VA-based research scientists.


The first study to be administered by the Foundation was the Department of Defense Veterans Brain Injury Program, led by Barbara Sigford, MD.


MVRI was originally led by Allen Levine, PhD, deputy ACOS/Research. JoAnn Tallman was its first employee. Penny Gannon, PhD then led it for 5-6 years in the early 1990's, followed by Mike Levitt, ACOS/Research.


The first full time Executive Director, Clay Tenquist, was hired in 2009. During his tenure MVRI became MVMREF—the Minnesota Veterans Medical Research and Education Foundation. This name never really caught on so in 2017 the name was changed again to CVRE—the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE).


CVRE currently administers grants from the DoD and other federal agencies, the medical device and pharmaceutical industries and foundations. Additionally, it supports a variety of research and educational programs, including on-site conferences, seed grants, and professional development opportunities for VA employees.


CVRE is incorporated in the State of Minnesota and operates exclusively for scientific and education purposes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. CVRE is governed by a Board of Directors per established bylaws.

Members of the Board of Directors (2022)

Dr. Crossley headshot

Kent Crossley MD, MHA


Dr. Crossley is Chief of Staff at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Bloomfield headshot

Hanna E. Bloomfield MD, MPH


Dr. Bloomfield is Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Kooren headshot

Steven Kooren, BS


Mr. Kooren is a US Army Veteran.

Mr. Kelly headshot

Patrick Kelly MPH, FACHE

Mr. Kelly, a US Navy veteran, is Director of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

Dr. Tiryaki headshot

Ezgi Tiryaki MD

Dr. Tiryaki is Associate Chief of Staff for Education at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Associate Professor of Neurology and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Meszaros headshot

Jason Meszaros MBA

Mr. Meszaros, a US Army Veteran, is a senior manager for technology projects in the Minnesota Twins organization.

John D. Baker, JD headshot

John D. Baker, JD

John D. Baker, JD, a decorated Veteran of the US Marine Corps, currently teaches criminal justice studies at Saint Cloud State University.

Mr. Granberg headshot

Mitchell W. Granberg, JD

Mr. Granberg, a decorated US Army veteran, is Deputy General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for Optum, a UnitedHealth Group Company.

Casey S. Gilmore, PhD headshot

Casey S. Gilmore, PhD

Casey S. Gilmore, PhD, is a Research Scientist in the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

Jacob A. Finn, Ph.D. headshot

Jacob A. Finn, Ph.D.

Jacob A. Finn, Ph.D., is a staff psychologist and clinician investigator at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. He is the site Principal Investigator for the Minneapolis VA's portion of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems national database.

Dr. Looft headshot

John M. Looft, Ph.D.

John M. Looft, PhD - Dr. Looft is the Director of the Minneapolis VA Motion Analysis Laboratory and a principal investigator in the Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering (MADE) program. His research focuses on adaptive rehabilitation and providing Veterans access to more sports related rehabilitation activities such as adaptive rowing, skiing, and golfing. Dr. Looft is also interest in designing novel ergonomic wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories to provide Veterans more functionality and independence. Lastly, Dr. Looft is most proud of his student mentorship program which provides undergraduate students the opportunity to learn more about VA research while gaining hands on experience.

Brad Bart headshot

Bradley A. Bart, MD

Brad Bart is a staff cardiologist at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System with interests and expertise in clinical trials and health services research. Trained at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, his clinical trials work focuses on new drugs, devices, and treatment strategies for the management of heart failure.

Professional Staff

Nadine Rogers headshot

Nadine Rogers

Executive Director

Nadine Rogers, MBA (Australia) joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in November 2019. She came to CVRE from her position as Senior Budget and Financial Analyst at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU) where she received the 2018 NWHSU Award for Exceptional Contributions. Her extensive experience ranges from Internal Auditor for the Department of Chief Minister in Australia to Controller - Marketing and Sales for Sun Country Airlines in Mendota Heights, MN. Outside of work, Nadine enjoys travelling, camping, hiking and gardening.

Heather Nova headshot

Heather Nova

Human Resources Generalist

Heather Nova joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in January 2021. She came to CVRE from her position as a Human Resources Generalist at YWCA Minneapolis and Human Resources Coordinator at the Center for Victims of Torture. She earned her masters' in Human Resources Management from St. Mary's University. Outside of work, Heather enjoys traveling, camping, sewing, and welding.

Chris Amland headshot

Chris Amland

Staff Accountant

Chris joined CVRE in December of 2021, bringing 17 years' experience in the finance and accounting field. Previously he worked as an Accountant at UCare Minnesota. Before that he also worked at Minco Products and SuperValu in various accounting roles. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Wisconsin - River Falls. When Chris is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and daring to try new hot sauces.

Amalee Vang headshot

Amalee Vang

Accounting Specialist

Amalee joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in June 2021 and brings 8 years' experience in the finance and accounting field. Previously, she worked at Cerenity Senior Care, working in billing and accounts receivable. Before that, Amalee was with Midwest Home Health Care. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, and is known for being exceptional with computers. When she is not working, Amalee enjoys traveling, sports, and home improvements.

Pamela Sharpe headshot

Pamela Sharpe

Grants Administration Manager

Pamela joined CVRE in February 2022 as the Grants Administration Manager. Prior to her CVRE service, Pamela worked at George State University gaining 10 years' worth of grants and contracts experience. Previous to that, she was the Associate Director of Public Affairs for the Consortium of Social Sciences Association and held other public policy positions. Pamela earned her bachelor's degree and her master's degree in Social Work. When she isn't working she enjoys antiquing and trying out new vegan recipes.