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NNS 2022 PLANNING COMMITTEE
The National Neurotrauma Society 2022 planning committee is dedicated to promote the neurotrauma field to help advance research and efforts made in this medical area.
Please meet the members of our planning 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.
Dr. Giza graduated from Dartmouth College, received his M.D. from West Virginia University and completed Adult and Pediatric Neurology training at UCLA. He then worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team before joining the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center in 1998. He was appointed to the California State Athletic Commission from 2005-2015, served on the Blue Ribbon Panel on TBI and PTSD for the Pentagon in 2009 and 2010, and traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Department of Defense. He directs the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program & the Operation Mend mild TBI program. Dr. Giza co-authored concussion/mild TBI guidelines for the AAN (2013), CDC (for youth 2018) and the Concussion in Sport Group (Berlin Guidelines 2017). His research focuses on translational aspects of concussion and TBI, including pediatrics, anxiety, cognition, migraine, post-traumatic epilepsy, with emphasis on the effects of physical activity and environment.
Christopher C. Giza, MD
Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery
Director, UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program
Director, UCLA Easton Clinic for Brain Health
Medical Director, Operation MEND-Wounded Warrior Project TBI Program
UCLA Brain Injury Research Center
Interdepartmental Programs for Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital
Follow me on Twitter: @griz1
Coleen M. Atkins, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Professor at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in 1993 from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, with an honors thesis conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Chapman. She was one of the first to start using the Morris water maze and investigated the effects of nitric oxide signaling on learning and memory. In 1999, she received her doctorate in Neuroscience under the training of Dr. David Sweatt at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, studying the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory. Dr. Atkins’ post-doctoral training was completed at Oregon Health & Sciences University with Dr. Thomas Soderling, studying the role of CaMKII in short versus long-term synaptic plasticity. Dr. Atkins’ joined the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to train with Dr. Dalton Dietrich studying traumatic brain injury.
Corina O. Bondi, Ph.D., is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurobiology, as well as Associate Director of Executive Function and Neuropharmacology at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research of the University of Pittsburgh. She received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Physics in 2003 from Muskingum University, OH, followed by a doctorate in Pharmacology/Neuroscience in 2009 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX.
Dr. Bondi’s laboratory explores therapeutic strategies after experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as pharmacotherapies and environmental enrichment, for complex cognitive processing deficits and distinct neurobehavioral and neurochemical alterations relevant to psychiatric disorders. Her team pursues a variety of behavioral, neurochemical, and molecular-based approaches encompassing the overlap of cognitive neuroscience, stress circuitry, and TBI neuropathology, by employing complex and sensitive tasks such as attentional set-shifting tests, operant tasks of sustained attention and goal-directed behavior, or assays of affect and anxiety. She is an Academic Editor for Medicine®, BMC Neuroscience, and Brain Research, and serves as scientific reviewer on study sections with the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research.
Dr. Bondi previously served as Secretary/Treasurer and Chair of the Membership Committee with the National Neurotrauma Society.
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.
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. Magnuson is the Friends for Michael Endowed Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville, a founding member of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center and a former Vice-President of the NNS.
His current research efforts focus on the central pattern generator for locomotion, plasticity and rehabilitation following spinal cord injury and how activity influences the functional recovery of both locomotion and cardiovascular function.
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. Grace S. Griesbach is the National Director of Clinical Research for the Centre for Neuro Skills and is affiliated to the Department of Neurosurgery, Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She received her doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin under the training of National Academy of Science member, Dr. Abram Amsel. She later did her post-doctoral studies at UCLA under the guidance of Dr. David Hovda. She was the first to provide molecular basis to anecdotal observations on the timing of exercise after experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dr. Griesbach has expanded her exercise research to the clinical field and is exploring mechanisms that have an influence on post-acute recovery after TBI and stroke. She has served as a President for the National Neurotrauma Society and is currently the Program Chair for 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. Alana Conti is the current Vice President of the National Neurotrauma Society and a member of the 2022 Symposium Program Planning Committee. She is a long-standing, active member of both TEAM and the National Neurotrauma Society, as a presenter, abstract judge, Symposium session chair, and Neurotrauma Society Councilor (2016-2018) and Secretary/Treasurer (2019-2020).
Dr. Conti received her BSE in Bioengineering and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was first trained in neurotrauma research. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis where she began her studies on the behavioral and neuroplastic effects of alcohol exposure. As a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University (WSU) and a Health Science Specialist at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, MI, her current research program focuses on the mechanisms by which TBI disrupts neuroplasticity and increases susceptibility to substance abuse disorders and pain behaviors. She has been continually funded for these, and related studies, by federal sources since 2008.
Beyond her research endeavors, Dr. Conti emphasizes mentoring and career development of trainees and junior faculty through her positions on the Women in Medicine and Science steering committee (founding member and Vice-Chair for Research) and as the Graduate Officer for the Translational Neuroscience Graduate Program at WSU.
Theresa Currier Thomas is an Associate Professor with the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and the Phoenix VA. She was born in Kentucky and received her BS in Agricultural Biotechnology in 1999 from the University of Kentucky. She earned her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology in 2008 and continued as a postdoctoral fellow in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky until 2012.
She uses midline fluid percussion injury as a model of diffuse axonal injury (DAI) to study late-onset or persisting sensory, affective, and cognitive deficits, particularly interested in sex differences. Specifically, she is interested in the impact of rehabilitation, synaptogenesis, and neuroinflammation as mechanisms of circuit reorganization responsible for adaptive or maladaptive recovery. Her research has indicated critical roles for neuroendocrine dysregulation, cerebrovascular compromise, and systemic feedback in the pathophysiology of persisting post-TBI symptoms. Technically, the research focuses on these impacts on behaviorally relevant circuit function and neurotransmission, the primary target for pharmacological interventions. Dr. Currier Thomas is a great supporter of life-long learning and mentoring.
Todd E. White, PhD is a Research Biologist at the Atlanta VA Health Care System and an Assistant Professor at Morehouse School of Medicine(MSM). Dr. White is a current Career Development Awardee from The VA Rehabilitation R&D. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from The University of Florida (UF). Dr. White then completed postdoctoral training at UF and MSM. Dr. White has over 25 years of research experience focused on the study of neurotrauma, including preclinical studies of spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. He has as his overarching goals to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurotrauma. His current project is the development and molecular and behavioral characterization of a preclinical model of chronic repetitive mild TBI.