Janis Brown was born in Dallas, Texas on April 13, 1955 to William J. (Bill) and Patsy Carter Brown. She was to be their only child. She attended Dallas schools, and graduated from Justin F. Kimball High School in 1973, valedictorian. While in high school she discovered her love of chemistry and the chemistry lab.
Janis received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Arlington. She married after the first degree, and divorced after her second degree. She never had children.
She earned her PhD in Material Engineering Sciences from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Janis then began her career developing lighter, stronger materials for spacecraft and aircraft. She held several patents. She had two passports, and enjoyed traveling for pleasure, as well as to business meetings of the English Speaking Allies.
Janis’ dad was diagnosed with a neurological disease, but it was before HD had DNA testing. His parents lived long lives, and had never shown HD symptoms, so he was never formally diagnosed with Huntington’s.
Five and a half years ago, Janis was working as a rocket scientist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, when she was diagnosed with mid-stage HD by Ohio State University. Janis was 55, and forced to take early retirement. She moved back home to the Dallas area, where she had family.
As a responsible adult, Janis visited a local attorney where she wrote a will, and made her wishes known. In that will, she designated that a percentage of her estate go to Huntington disease research. Janis passed away last September 22, but due to her kindness, HD research is receiving almost $200,000 to search for a cure. Janis’s cousin and long-time caregiver, Sandra Hurley presented a check in Janis’ honor at the 30th Annual HDSA Convention in Dallas, Texas.
HDSA is proud to announce that the top scoring proposal in the 2015 Human Biology Project will be named in Dr. Brown’s memory.