Helen M. Genova, Ph.D. is the assistant director of the foundation's Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research and director of the Social Cognition and Neuroscience Laboratory. She is also assistant research professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers University-NJ Medical School. Since the start of her professional career in 2007, she has successfully obtained grant funding, either as principal investigator or co-investigator, from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the New Jersey Commission on Traumatic Brain Injury Research, the ARSEP Foundation, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. She has focused on examining cognitive issues in clinical populations, including those utilizing both behavioral and neuroimaging methods to study social cognition and emotional processing. Particularly in regard to social cognition, Dr. Genova has played an important role in pioneering innovative research applying promising interventions targeting deficits in social cognition. Dr. Genova has also devoted much of her career to investigating other cognitive issues in clinical populations, including the assessment and treatment of cognitive fatigue.
Dr. Genova is interested in two broad fields involving cognition. The first is social cognition, which are a set of skills required to understand and process the emotions of others. Dr. Genova has applied a number of techniques to the assessment of social cognition including neuropsychological tests, eye-tracking, functional neuroimaging, structural neuroimaging, and virtual reality.
Further, Dr. Genova has investigated treatments for improving social cognition, in adults with MS and TBI, as well as adolescents with ASD. Finally, she is interested in examining what variables are affected by or predict social cognition deficits, including social isolation, depression, fatigue and quality of life.
Dr. Genova's other research interest is the assessment and treatment of cognitive fatigue. Dr. Genova and her colleagues have utilized neuroimaging to examine an objective measurement of fatigue without needing to rely on self-report measures. Through these studies, her research team has identified critical brain regions which appear to be linked to the perception of fatigue. These results now guide current research projects which include using exercise and other lifestyle changes to reduce fatigue, including aquatic exercise.
1: Genova HM, Haight A, Natsheh JY, DeLuca J, Lengenfelder J. The Relationship Between Social Communication and Social Functioning in Pediatric TBI: A Pilot Study. Front Neurol. 2019 Aug 14;10:850. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00850. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31474925; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6702270.
2: Genova HM, Lancaster K, Lengenfelder J, Bober CP, DeLuca J, Chiaravalloti ND. Relationship between social cognition and fatigue, depressive symptoms, and anxiety in multiple sclerosis. J Neuropsychol. 2019 Jun 1. doi: 10.1111/jnp.12185. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31152634.
3: Genova HM, Cagna CJ, Chiaravalloti ND, DeLuca J, Lengenfelder J. Dynamic Assessment of Social Cognition in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot
Study. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2016 Jan;22(1):83-8. doi: 10.1017/S1355617715001137. Epub 2015 Nov 23. PubMed PMID: 26592161.
4: Genova HM, Rajagopalan V, Chiaravalloti N, Binder A, Deluca J, Lengenfelder J. Facial affect recognition linked to damage in specific white matter tracts in traumatic brain injury. Soc Neurosci. 2015;10(1):27-34. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2014.959618. Epub 2014 Sep 16. PubMed PMID: 25223759.
5: Lancaster K, Venkatesan UM, Lengenfelder J, Genova HM. Default Mode Network Connectivity Predicts Emotion Recognition and Social Integration After Traumatic Brain Injury. Front Neurol. 2019 Aug 9;10:825. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00825. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31447760; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6696510.
6: Lancaster K, Stone EM, Genova HM. Cognitive but Not Affective Theory of Mind Deficits in Progressive MS. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2019 Sep;25(8):896-900. doi: 10.1017/S1355617719000584. Epub 2019 Jun 14. PubMed PMID: 31196250.
7: Binder AS, Lancaster K, Lengenfelder J, Chiaravalloti ND, Genova HM. Community Integration in Traumatic Brain Injury: The Contributing Factor of Affect Recognition Deficits. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2019 Sep;25(8):890-895. doi: 10.1017/S1355617719000559. Epub 2019 Jun 10. PubMed PMID: 31179968.