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Directors for Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Appointed by Kessler Foundation

2012-10-02 10:05:55 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Dr. Chiaravalloti named TBI Research Director; Dr. Dyson-Hudson named SCI Research Director

WEST ORANGE, N.J. September 20, 2012.—Kessler Foundation has appointed two research directors. Trevor Dyson-Hudson, M.D., has assumed the position of director of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) & Outcomes Assessment Research. Nancy Chiaravalloti, Ph.D., has been named director of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research. Drs. Dyson-Hudson and Chiaravalloti are also project directors of National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-funded model systems—the Northern New Jersey SCI System (NNJSCIS) and the Northern New Jersey TBI System (NNJTBIS), respectively. Kessler Foundation is one of six centers with model systems in both spinal cord and brain injury. Both researchers had served as interim directors prior to their appointments.

John DeLuca, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Training, oversees the Foundation’s well-known research and postdoctoral training programs. In addition to SCI and TBI, Kessler Foundation conducts research in stroke rehabilitation, human performance and engineering, outcomes assessment and neuropsychology & neuroscience.

"As accomplished researchers, Drs. Chiaravalloti and Dyson-Hudson contribute to Kessler Foundation’s international leadership in rehabilitation research,” said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “As well regarded collaborators in their fields, they extend the Foundation’s work to change the lives of individuals with disabilities caused by brain and spinal cord injuries. With their leadership and dedication, I am confident that Kessler Foundation’s research in mobility and cognition will improve outcomes for these individuals, including functional recovery and reintegration into the community and the workplace.”

Dr. Dyson-Hudson is principal investigator/co-investigator on a number of SCI grants in addition to the NNJSCIS. He has received funding from the Veterans Administration, National Institutes of Health, the Reeve Foundation, and the Craig Neilsen Foundation. Dr. Dyson-Hudson’s research interests include restoration of function and mobility after SCI and the prevention and treatment of common secondary medical complications, including pain, musculoskeletal overuse injuries, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory complications. The new NIDRR site-specific project of the NNJSCIS is investigating the effects of dalfampridine for ambulation in spinal cord injury. A new Collaboration on Mobility Training grant with the University of Pittsburgh employs web-based training and group sessions to improve the skills of wheelchair users and maximize independence.

Dr. Dyson-Hudson, a licensed physician in New Jersey and New York, is also an associate professor in the department of physical medicine & rehabilitation (PM&R) at University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)—New Jersey Medical School (NJMS).

Dr. Chiaravalloti is the director of Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research and Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation. Her research has been funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Institutes of Health, NIDRR and the National Stroke Association. She conducts cognitive rehabilitation research in TBI and multiple sclerosis (MS), particularly in new learning, memory and processing speed. A second major interest is the use of functional neuroimaging to identify the cerebral substrates underlying cognitive dysfunction. Functional MRI offers an objective method of documenting changes in cerebral activation with TBI and MS, and the effects of behavioral interventions. Recent innovations in research include the application of virtual reality to behavioral therapy and plans to open a neuroimaging center dedicated to research in 2013.

Dr. Chiaravalloti, a licensed psychologist in New Jersey and New York, is an associate professor in the department of PM&R at UMDNJ–NJMS.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a large public charity in the field of disability, conducts rehabilitation research and training in mobility and cognition that advances the care of people with multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke and spinal cord injury. Kessler Foundation is one of six centers in the U.S. to have NIDRR-funded model systems for traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Through its program center, Kessler Foundation fosters new approaches to the persistently high rates of unemployment among people disabled by injury or disease. Targeted grant making funds promising programs across the nation. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, people recovering from catastrophic injuries and stroke, and young adults striving for independence are among the thousands of people finding jobs and training for careers as a result of the commitment of Kessler Foundation.

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