Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Kessler Foundation in partnership with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation offers a unique training program with several innovative and distinctive features:

  • An individualized training plan
  • Mentors from multidisciplinary areas of biomedical and social research
  • Team building
  • Multi-institutional

The purpose of this Rehabilitation Research Training Program is to train individuals in clinical research whose ultimate goal is to improve the rehabilitation outcomes for traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, and other neurological and physical impairments. Focus areas of rehabilitation research in this program include: neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, mobility and secondary complications of spinal cord injury, and hidden disabilities post-stroke. The program is designed to be multidisciplinary, and will solicit and enroll post-doctoral fellows and clinicians from a wide variety of fields within rehabilitation. These fellows will receive research training that will facilitate the pursuit of a career in rehabilitation research. The training program is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and Kessler Foundation.

Kessler Foundation invites applications from individuals with PhD, MD or other Doctoral degrees in a field relevant to medical rehabilitation or health services research. Kessler Foundation  extends unique fellowship opportunities to individuals from underrepresented minority groups or individuals who have interest in research projects that contribute to the advancement of knowledge and treatment of diseases, disabilities and adverse health problems that disproportionately or differentially affect minority populations. Our mission is to conduct rehabilitation research that will help all racial and ethnic minorities achieve optimal health.

Fellowships at Kessler Foundation:

Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research
Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD

The Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program in Neuropsychology is administered through the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in close collaboration with Kessler Foundation. Training opportunities are provided more broadly across multiple departments, capitalizing on unique opportunities throughout the medical school and university as well as with nearby centers of excellence throughout New York and New Jersey to pursue key clinical or research training goals.

For more information about this exciting program or to apply for the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program in Neuropsychology, download our brochure containing a description of the program and details of the application process.

Learn more about the Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research.

Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research
Guang Yue, PhD

The mission is to improve mobility, independence and quality of life for patients with sensory and motor deficits caused by neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. A major interest is the exploration of the plasticity of the central nervous system through neurophysiological, biomechanical, behavioral, and applied engineering research. Through greater understanding of the impact of factors that complicate recovery of function, including fatigue, immobilization, weakness, and aging, we are devising more effective strategies for rehabilitation. One major area of investigation concentrates on improving standing/walking ability in individuals with functional deficits caused by stroke, spinal cord injury, and other neurological conditions. Another focus is the investigation of neural mechanisms contributing to the debilitating fatigue syndrome that is an obstacle to recovery for many individuals with multiple sclerosis, stroke, cardiovascular disorders and cancer. A further prominent area of research focuses on disabling musculoskeletal conditions that limit functional activity and mobility. The Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research also conducts research aimed at elucidating the neural and muscular mechanisms of loss of muscle strength. Knowing the mechanisms involved in muscle strengthening will help us to develop appropriate programs that enhance physical conditioning and improve outcomes for rehabilitation interventions.

Learn more about the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research.

Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research
Trevor A. Dyson-Hudson, MD

The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research is devoted to improving the quality of a person's life after SCI. We have developed an integrated set of projects that systematically investigate and improve health and functioning, as well as preventing and treating most of the common secondary conditions that affect individuals after injury. At the core of our research laboratory is a grant from the NIDRR designating the Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System as a "Model System" of care and research. Fellows working in this area will be encouraged to become involved in the model system projects and collaborative data collection efforts.

Learn more about the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research.

Center for Stroke Rehabilitation Research
John DeLuca, PhD
Interim Director

In the Center for Stroke Rehabilitation Research, we make recent laboratory advances in brain science work for the individual stroke survivor. We find ways to bring science to the clinic for doctors, nurses, psychologists therapists and other professionals to use in evaluating and treating their patients, and we try to find out why some treatments work better than others to improve daily life. Research focuses on cognitive complications of stroke including disroders of communication like aphasia, and hidden disabilities like spatial neglect.

Learn more about the Center for Stroke Rehabilitation Research.

Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research
Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD

The Center for Traumatic Brain Injury addresses medical, rehabilitative, cognitive and functional issues associated with acquired brain injury. Fellows have the opportunity to evaluate and treat persons with TBI across the spectrum of care, beginning at the tertiary trauma center and extending to long term care. Fellows gain experience in early management, acute rehabilitation, neuropsychopharmacological interventions, management of medical complications post-injury, research, and spasticity management.

Learn more about the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research.

Center for Autism Research
Helen Genova, PhD
Associate Director

Kessler Foundation, in collaboration with Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School and the VIA Institute on Character, is seeking applicants for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in our Center for Autism Research. This specific fellowship opportunity seeks a postdoctoral research fellow who is interested in conducting cognitive and behavioral neuroscience research with a focus on universal character strengths as studied in the VIA classification of strengths. The two-year funded program aims to prepare scientists for a career in clinical research within the specialty area of functional neuroimaging and positive psychology.

Learn more about the Center for Autism Research.


  • Ph.D, MD - Doctoral degree should be in a field relevant to rehabilitation. Doctoral candidates planning dissertation research on topics relevant to rehabilitation are also encouraged to apply.
  • Non-immigrants are eligible to apply provided they can be lawfully employed in the U.S.
  • Excellent academic record.
  • Research experience: PhD candidates should be proficient in basic research skills. Strong candidates will have either publications or publishable theses. MD candidates should at the minimum have experience with research on the basis of an initial project.
  • An expressed intention to pursue a career of rehabilitation research.


Stipends vary depending upon experience and training. Individuals must devote a minimum of 75 - 80% of their time to the research. Fringe benefits as well as laboratory and travel support are also provided.

Application Material

Kessler Foundation & Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Fellowship Program information.

For further information, contact Donna Servidio, IRB Manager at (973) 243-6972, [email protected] or Isabel Muriale, IRB Coordinator at (973) 324-3575, [email protected].


  • Audio Description

    PODCAST: “Fellows on the go” podcast series former chief fellow Silvana Costa, PhD and Erica Weber, PhD talked about the Foundation’s fellowship program, and what to expect as a research fellow here. Dr. Costa was Chief Fellow from June 2014 - July 2016 and 
    Dr. Weber from July 2016 - July 2018.

  • Audio Description

    PODCAST: Ghaith Androwis, PhD presenting at the Fellow Symposium "Advances in Wearable Robotics & Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Research".

  • Audio Description

    PODCAST: Cherylynn Mario, PhD presents at the 2016 Fellow Symposium "Parent-Child Agreement of Neurobehavioral Functioning Following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury".

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