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Kessler Foundation Researchers Awarded Four Grants by New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research

Four two-year grants totaling $713,000 fund studies of functional and cognitive deficits in individuals with traumatic brain injury

EAST HANOVER, N.J. July 13, 2017Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD,  Peii Chen, PhD, Ekaterina Dobyrakova, PhD, and Soha Saleh, PhD, all of Kessler Foundation, have won the majority of annual grants awarded by the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research (NJCBIR) – valued collectively at $713,000. The four two-year studies will look at different aspects of functional and cognitive deficits in individuals with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), including learning and memory, and upper extremity/limb mobility.

Dr. Chiaravalloti’s grant, valued at $179,000, funds a two-phase trial testing the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT), in school-aged children, comparing healthy controls with children with cognitive deficits caused by TBI.  “If efficacy of the mSMT pediatric adaptation is substantiated, there is not only the potential to drastically change the lives of children and adolescence with TBI, but clinical practice and policy as well,” remarked Dr. Chiaravalloti, director of neuropsychology, neuroscience and TBI research at Kessler Foundation, and director of the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System. “I’m looking forward to assessing the study outcomes.”

With her $177,000 grant, Dr. Dobryakova in TBI Research will lead a study using neuroimaging to examine the neural mechanisms during feedback learning in individuals with TBI. A $179,000 grant will enable Dr. Saleh in Human Performance and Engineering Research to explore the effects of combining physical and mental practice for the rehabilitation of upper extremity movement impairments secondary to TBI. With her $178,000 award, Dr. Chen from Stroke Rehabilitation Research will study the efficacy of home-based arm and hand exercise (HAHE) to improve upper limb dysfunction after TBI.

About Kessler Foundation:

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes--including employment--for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

For more information on Kessler Foundation's research, visit

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Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; 

Laura Viglione, MS; 973-323-3675;



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Deb Hauss, senior staff writer, 973.324.8372,

Carolann Murphy, senior medical writer,973.324.8382,

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