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 (2021)

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.

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.

Steven Kooren, BS

Mr. Kooren is a US Army Veteran.

Patrick Kelly MPH, FACHE

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Deb Maloney
Executive Director

Deborah has worked in research administration for twenty-five years, initially in the finance division at University of Kansas. She transitioned to the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2006, serving first in the finance division, then as the policy coordinator. Deb joined the Sponsored Programs Administration division as a pre-award administrator and advanced to division director in 2015 before coming to Minnesota and joining CVRE as the executive director in August 2019. She holds a master of science degree in management and has maintained her certification as a Certified Research Administrator since 2010. In her spare time, Deborah likes to travel to Puerto Rico, attend theater productions and kick-box.

Nadine Rogers

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
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.

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.

Lynn Balfour
Grant Administrator

Lynn Balfour joined the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE) in August 2021. She came to CVRE from her position as Deputy Executive Vice President of the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. Her area of specialty is not-for-profit healthcare organizations where she has experience in development and grants, event planning, program development and patient advocacy. She earned her bachelor's degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and later obtained her master's degree in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University. Her hobbies include running, biking, traveling, dining out, and do-it-yourself home improvement projects. She's an avid booster of the City of Minneapolis and supports locally owned restaurants, retailers, art and music venues, and community organizations.