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 (2024)

Dr. Armstrong headshot

Michael Armstrong, MD

Dr. Armstrong is Chief of Staff at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System and Affiliate Assistant Professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He also serves as Associate Dean, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, for the University of Minnesota Medical School.

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Steven Fu, MD

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Thomas W. Lyons

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.

Jane Moraski Matson headshot

Jane Moraski Matson

Jane Moraski Matson, is a 26-year US Navy career Commander, intelligence officer, US diplomat abroad, and joint staff officer. Jane is currently employed at SitelogIQ as the Operations Program Manager where she founded Veterans and Allies Leadership Organization (VALOR) and serves as the Health and Safety Council Secretary and a member of the Operations Council.

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Eric Meittunen, MS, MBA

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To be filled

Mr. Vardeny headshot

Orly Vardeny, Pharm. D

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To be filled

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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.

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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

Executive Director

Pamela Sharpe

Grants Administration Manager

Greta McClellan

Research Administrator

Jennifer Robb

Clinical Trials Manager

Chad Nelson

Human Resources Generalist

Sarah LaRose-Holland

Accounting Manager

Chris Amland

Staff Accountant

Madison Miller

Accounting Specialist