NNS 2023 PLANNING COMMITTEE
The National Neurotrauma Society 2023 planning committee is dedicated to promoting the neurotrauma field aiming to advance research and efforts made in this medical area.
Please meet the members of NNS 2023 planning committee:
Dr. Audrey Lafrenaye is an Assistant Professor in the department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her lab focuses on investigating the diffuse glial and neuronal pathologies associated with traumatic brain injury in both rodent and translational pig models. Dr. Lafrenaye has been a member of the National Neurotrauma Society since 2011 and she was elected as the Diversity Director for the Training Education And Mentoring (TEAM) NNS committee.
Brenda Bartnik Olson, PhD is an Associate Professor of Radiology and Basic Sciences at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She serves as the Co-Director of Basic Science Research for the Department of Radiology. Her preclinical research focuses on alternative energy substrates to ameliorate metabolic and dysfunction following traumatic brain injury, with her clinical translation research studies incorporating multiparametric approaches to evaluate MR imaging and spectroscopy biomarkers of outcome and treatment response.
Dr Bartnik Olson has been an active member of the National Neurotrauma Society since 2002 and was awarded the WiNTR award twice, as a PhD candidate and as a post-doctoral fellow. She received her doctorate in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Saskatchewan followed by post-doctoral training at UCLA under the guidance of Dr. David Hovda, studying traumatic brain injury induced alterations in glucose metabolism.
Courtney L. Robertson, MD is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins SOM. She is the Director of the Pediatric Neurocritical Care Program in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Pediatric ICU. She also serves as the fellowship director of the Pediatric Neurocritical Care fellowship, and the research co-director of the Pediatric Critical Care fellowship. Her research evaluates neuroprotective strategies in pediatric traumatic brain injury, using clinically relevant models of injury. Specifically, her work focuses on mitochondrial dysfunction and neuroinflammation after TBI, and the developmental regulation of these pathways. She has been the site PI for several multi-center clinical trials in pediatric TBI, and is currently co-PI of a multinational clinical study evaluating neurologic manifestations of COVID19 in infants and children. She is a founding member and past Chair of the Pediatric Neurocritical Care Research Group.
She has been an active member of the National Neurotrauma Society for >20 years, serving on NNS council for 3 terms, and as an officer in WiNTR. She is currently serving as president of NNS.
Dr. Robertson completed her undergraduate training (Texas A&M) and medical school (UTMB) in Texas, followed by pediatric residency at University of North Carolina. Her fellowship training was in pediatric critical care at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she was also a research fellow at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research.
David J. Loane
Dr. David Loane is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and adjunct Faculty Member at the Shock Trauma and Anesthesiology Research (STAR) Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Loane leads a multi-disciplinary research team dedicated to studying brain/systemic inflammation and chronic injury responses following TBI. Dr. Loane’s research team includes post-doctoral fellows and graduate students, and he and his team routinely present at the annual National Neurotrauma Society (NNS) symposium. Dr. Loane is passionate about supporting the career development of the next generation of researchers who will unravel the complexities of TBI pathophysiology and translate their basic research findings to the clinic for human head injury.
Dr. Loane has been an active member of the National Neurotrauma Society and TEAM since 2008. He served as a NNS Council Member from 2017-2019, and is currently the NNS Treasurer.
Dr. Eve Tsai is the Suruchi Bhargava Chair in Spinal Cord and Brain Regeneration and Neurosurgeon at The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa.
She obtained her medical degree from the University of Toronto. She then completed her Neurosurgery Residency training at the University of Toronto. During her residency, she completed a PhD in spinal cord repair. Dr. Tsai then obtained subspecialty training in spine surgery and completed a Spine Fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic. She has won numerous clinical, research, teaching and humanitarian awards.
She currently serves as the Secretary Treasurer of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care and is currently the Program Chair for the AANS/CNS Section of the 2022 Neurotrauma Symposium.
Dr. Kimberly Byrnes is a Professor in the Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics Department at the Uniformed Services University (USU) and the director of the USU Neuroscience PhD Program. In 2021, she was elected to President-elect of the National Neurotrauma Society. Her work focuses on therapeutic interventions and imaging following brain and spinal cord injury. She has published a number of papers investigating glucose metabolism in the young and aged spinal cord and brain after injury, and investigating intranasal insulin or NOX inhibition for improving outcomes. Previously, Dr. Byrnes served as Secretary-Treasurer in 2016/2017 and Vice-President in 2017/2018.
Linda J. Noble-Haeusslein obtained her doctoral degree in Anatomy from the UCLA and completed her postdoctoral experience at Georgetown, under the mentorship of Jean Wrathall, PhD. As a tenured professor at UCSF, she was recruited in 2017 to the University of Texas at Austin in the Departments of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Neurology and the Dell Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin.
The Noble-Haeusslein laboratory studies key determinants of injury and repair in models of traumatic injury to the developing brain and the adult spinal cord. The focus has been on the intersection between the innate immune response, matrix metalloproteinases, and activated leukocytes in directing pathogenesis and wound healing. Most recently, her studies have targeted matrix metalloproteinases as initiators of abnormal remodeling of the bladder wall after spinal cord injury that give rise to reduced compliance.
Dr. Noble-Haeusslein has served on three Institute of Medicine Committees; Gulf War and Health Committee, Committee on Nutrition, Trauma, and the Brain, and Committee on the Gulf War and Health, Long-term effects of blast exposures. Her studies on traumatic CNS injuries have been funded by the Department of Defense, NIH/NINDS, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, the Runnels Foundation and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Dr. J. Marc Simard is the Bizhan Aarabi Professor of Neurosurgery, Pathology and Physiology, and is interim Chair, Department of Physiology, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also serves as Chief of Neurological Surgery at the Baltimore Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Simard is responsible for the original discovery of the SUR1-TRPM4 channel, and for initiating the work showing involvement of the channel in multiple acute diseases of the CNS, including stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, as well as chronic conditions such multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. His work on the SUR1-TRPM4 channel has led to the award of over 33 US and international patents
Michelle Hook is an Associate Professor in the Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics department at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. Dr. Hook obtained her B.Sc (Hons) and PhD in Physiology from the University of New England in Armidale, Australia. Following her PhD studies, she did postdoctoral training at the University of Memphis and then moved to Texas A&M University where she transitioned from a post-doctoral position to a Research Associate Professor. She joined the faculty in the Texas A&M College of Medicine in 2014. Dr. Hook’s laboratory uses a rodent model of spinal cord injury (SCI) to investigate recovery of function following spinal cord injury. Her group has shown that early administration of morphine significantly attenuates locomotor recovery after spinal cord injury, increases long-term pain, and increases cell death at the spinal injury site. They have also conducted pioneering studies of depression in the rodent SCI model, and are currently investigating whether inflammation increases susceptibility to affective disorders. Dr. Hook’s research has been supported by the Department of Defense, NIH, Mission Connect (a project of the TIRR foundation), the Gillson Longenbaugh Foundation, and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.
Theus is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, is the Co-Director of the Translational, Biology, Medicine and Health (TBMH) graduate program and the Vice Chair for Precision Medicine at the Center for Engineered Health at Virginia Tech.
She has received Virginia Tech’s Outstanding Mentor Award, Office of the Vice President for Research Scholar of the week and has been twice recognized by the NNS as a recipient of the Michael Goldberger Research Award and the Women in Neurotrauma Excellence Research Awards. She has held numerous council positions for the Central Virginia Chapter of Society for Neuroscience and the National Capital Area for TBI Research.
Her Laboratory of Neurotrauma & Repair is supported by 3 active R01’s and a multi-PI grant from the Epilepsy CURE foundation. Her work focuses on Eph receptor biology in brain injury with an emphasis on neurovascular and neuroimmune health.
Olga N. Kokiko-Cochran
Dr. Kokiko-Cochran studies chronic outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a focus on neuroinflammation. Inflammation following brain injury is a dynamic response, which is influenced by age, sex, injury location and severity. Ongoing projects in the Kokiko-Cochran lab examine if and how other life events synergize with brain injury to set the stage for neurodegenerative pathology.
Dr. Kokiko-Cochran has been a member of NNS and Team since 2007 and served as a Councilor 2019-2022.
Dr. Sullivan received his B.S. in biology (1996) and his Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology from the University of Kentucky in 2000 under the mentorship of Dr. Stephen Scheff. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Os Stewart at the Reeve-Irvine Spinal Cord Research Center at UC Irvine, Dr. Sullivan was recruited back to the University of Kentucky in 2002 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and a core faculty in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center. In 2006, Dr. Sullivan was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure and Endowed Chair in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center. Currently, Dr. Sullivan holds the rank of Full Professor of Neuroscience and Endowed Chair in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center and has authored over 130 publications. Dr. Sullivan attended his first National Neurotrauma Symposium in 1997 and has been active ever since in presenting posters, presentations, chairing sessions as well as judging posters and abstracts and as a past NNS councilor. The welcome Dr. Sullivan was given at his first NNS played a major role in his choice for his field of research and he always honored to participate in this great organization at any level.