Members of the foundation actively participate in clinical neuroscience research to further the prevention and treatment of brain, nerve and spinal cord diseases and injuries. Patients have an opportunity to participate in clinical research studies to receive the latest treatment for a broad range of neurological disorders. Several clinical trials are currently under way.
Because brain and spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating and preventable injuries, The Watson Neuroscience Foundation's outreach mission is dedicated to education and prevention, helping youth sports, and sponsoring educational programs and support groups.
Dr. Juan Ronderos, M.D, established the foundation as a result of his research in the field and close personal contact with those who suffered spinal and head injuries. Dr. Ronderos was Fellowship trained at Barrow Neurological Institute and a former instructor at the Mayo Clinic. As one of the nation's leading neurosurgeons, he has taught minimally invasive spine surgery techniques to neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons around the world. Dr. Ronderos was instrumental in negotiating the development of a new radiosurgery program, using the Trilogy system, only the second system of its kind in the world. It was installed at Providence Hospital in Mobile, Alabama and began operating in February 2005.
Joseph E. Watson, Jr., was born in Luverne, AL. He attended the University of Alabama and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Joe was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity while at the University of Alabama. After graduation, he worked at Nowlin & Associates as Sales Manager and Financial Planner. In 1989, alongside partner Ricky Brooks, Watson created a franchise group of Express Oil Change stores that eventually numbered 14 facilities. In 1996, Watson became President and Chief Operating Officer when he and Brooks purchased the Express Oil Change corporate entity from founder Jim Lunceford. At the time, the company included 11 corporate stores and 37 franchised facilities. Together, Watson and Brooks more than tripled the chain's size in a decade. Express Oil Change now operates 67 corporate and 103 franchised facilities. Brooks acknowledges that much of the company's success was due to Joe's focus on attracting and retaining great employees, adding that Joe was "an incredible operator".
Joe was a member of Mountain Brook Baptist Church and was well known for his charitable contributions. He served as a board member of Family and Child Services, organized the Sparkman-Duval golf tournament to benefit the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the University of Alabama, was a guest speaker at the University of Alabama Arts & Sciences Entrepreneur Program, and was instrumental in creating a partnership between Express Oil Change and The Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL, to help fundraising efforts. Joe also enjoyed volunteering to coach basketball and baseball teams many times for his children.
Joe and Cathy Todd were married in 1980, and they had three children; a son, Tripp, and two daughters, Bess and C.J. They lived in Mountain Brook, AL, where his family still resides. In early 2008, Joe was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor. He fought bravely and courageously throughout his treatment and passed away May 30, 2009.