Meet the Researchers
Dr. David Arciniegas is Senior Scientist and Medical Director for Brain Injury Research at TIRR as well as Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Professor in Brain Injury Medicine and Executive Director of the Division of Neuropsychiatry of the Menniger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Arciniegas has published 98 peer reviewed scientific articles with most of these focused on TBI. He has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator (Co-I) for numerous federally funded research projects on TBI. At present, he serves as Co-I for a multicenter VA-funded randomized controlled trial of transdermal rivastigmine for treatment of persistent post-traumatic cognitive impairment and as site PI on an NIH funded trial of methylphenidate enhanced cognitive rehabilitation of persistent cognitive impairments after TBI. His research has focused on identifying the neurobiological bases of posttraumatic cognitive and neuropsychiatric disturbances and developing interventions to improve inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation outcomes following TBI.
Dr. Minal Bhadane is a new Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the TIRR Motor Recovery Lab. She finished her PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Toledo and is currently working with Dr. Sheng Li on evaluation of influence of breathing on finger movement. Her research interests include rehabilitation engineering, motion analysis, and shape memory alloys.
Dr. Shuo-Hsiu (James) Chang is a physical therapist and researcher in the TIRR Motor Recovery Laboratory and he is on faculty in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Research interests include: 1) Training-induced neuromusculoskeletal plasticity, 2) Neuromuscular control in dynamic balance, 3) Motor control and learning, and 4) Lateral stability in elderly and individuals with neurological disorders
Dr. Allison Clark is Assistant Professor in the Department of PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine, and Research Scientist at the Brain Injury Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann. She is the Director of Training for the NIDRR-funded RRTC on Developing Strategies to Foster Community Integration and Participation for Individuals with TBI, and was PI on a NIDRR-funded field-initiated project investigating a group intervention for depressed mood after traumatic brain injury. A clinical neuropsychologist by training, her areas of interest include emotional functioning following acquired brain injury, knowledge translation, group interventions, and cognitive rehabilitation.
Dr. Lynne Davis is an Investigator at TIRR Memorial Hermann's Brain Injury Research Center. She is also a clinical neuropsychologist at TIRR Memorial Hermann, Clinical Assistant Professor Department of PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine, and Chair of the Resources Committee on the Texas Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council. She is Principal Investigator for a resource facilitation intervention to improve vocational outcomes after TBI and for a project to develop an interview tool to evaluate work readiness after TBI. Specialty areas include vocational functioning after TBI and development of computerized interventions and resources after TBI.
Dr. Gerard Francisco is Professor and Chairman of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at UTHealth and Chief Medical Officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann. He is a specialist in brain injury and stroke rehabilitation and spasticity management. His research projects on neural interfaces, robotic rehabilitation, pain, and spasticity management using botulinum toxins and intrathecal baclofen are funded by the National Institutes of Health and local foundations. As a national leader in PM&R, he is currently vice-chair of the Accreditation Commission for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for PM&R, treasurer of the Association of Academic Physiatrists, and member of the board of directors of the American Academy of PM&R. In 2011, he was honored by the American Academy of PM&R as the 43rd Walter J. Zeiter Lecturer, and in 2012 inducted as a Distinguished Educator Professor of the Academy of Master Educators of the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Lex Frieden is the a Senior Scientist and Director of TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program. He is also a Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and he is an Adjunct Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Mr. Frieden was recently named the University of Texas Health Fellow on Disability by UT Systems Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. Mr. Frieden has received two Presidential Citations for his leadership in conceiving and drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Dr. Sheng Li is a Research Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UTHealth Medical School - Houston and TIRR. His research interests include pathophysiology and management of spasticity, stroke rehabilitation, motor control in healthy and neurologically impaired adults, neuropathic pain management, breathing-controlled electrical stimulation for spasticity and neuropathic pain management, and motor imagery.
Dr. Kacey Maestas is faculty in the Department of PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine and an Investigator at TIRR Memorial Hermann's Brain Injury Research Center. She also conducts clinical research at the TBI Center of Excellence of the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Maestas completed a NIDRR-funded Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) fellowship in traumatic brain injury at Baylor College of Medicine. She was recently awarded the Mary E. Switzer Rehabilitation Research Merit Fellowship from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to investigate parenting following TBI. Her research involves participation/community integration, emotional functioning, and cognitive rehabilitation of civilians and veterans with TBI. Her clinical interests include neuropsychological evaluation of persons with acquired brain injury.
Vinh Nguyen is the legal director of the Southwest ADA Center, a project of the ILRU Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. His research interests include the accessibility barriers that people with disabilities face with employment, community living, and information technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)'s role in addressing these barriers.
Dr. Marcia O'Malley is Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Rice University, where she directs the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab. She holds a joint appointment in Computer Science at Rice, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at both Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Additionally, she is the Director of Rehabilitation Engineering at TIRR and co-founder of Houston Medical Robotics, Inc. Her research interests focus on the issues that arise when humans physically interact with robotic systems. One thrust of her lab is the design of haptic feedback and shared control between robotic devices and their human users for training and rehabilitation in virtual environments. Psychophysical studies provide insight into the effect of haptic cues on human motor adaptation, skill acquisition, and the restoration of motor coordination. She currently serves on the editorial board of the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics.
Dr. Susan Robinson-Whelen is an investigator at TIRR's Spinal Cord Injury Research Center. She is also a senior investigator at Baylor College of Medicine's (BCM) Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD). Dr. Robinson-Whelen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at BCM. Dr. Robinson-Whelen's research has focused on the psychosocial health and well-being of people with disabilities. She has been a co-investigator on numerous federal grants including cross-sectional and longitudinal survey studies as well as intervention studies. She has been involved in developing and testing a wide range of intervention programs for people with disabilities, including health promotion, safety awareness and violence prevention, depression self-management, stress self-management, and self-esteem enhancement. To address the tremendous challenge people with spinal cord injury and other mobility limitations have in maintaining a healthy weight, Dr. Robinson-Whelen and colleagues at CROWD and the University of Houston's Texas Obesity Research Center were recently awarded a grant to develop and test the first weight management program specifically designed for women with mobility impairments.
Dr. Angelle Sander is the Director of TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Brain Injury Research Center, a Senior Scientist at TIRR and an Associate Professor in the Department of PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine, . She is the Project Director for the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Developing Strategies to Foster Community Integration and Participation for Individuals with TBI, Co-Project Director for the TBI Model System of TIRR, and Co-PI on a newly funded randomized controlled trial of Donepezil to improve functional memory after TBI. Dr. Sander has served as PI for randomized controlled trials on brief intervention for substance abuse following TBI and contextualized memory strategy training in persons with TBI. Specialty areas include family adjustment to TBI, cognitive rehabilitation, improving community participation of persons with TBI, intimacy and sexuality after TBI, assessing and treating substance abuse in persons with TBI, and racial/ethnic diversity in outcomes.
Dr. Mark Sherer is Senior Scientist and Director of Research at TIRR Memorial Hermann. He is a Clinical Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Sherer is a board certified neuropsychologist with over 25 years experience as a clinician, administrator, and educator. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Sherer has published over 100 peer reviewed articles as well as numerous book chapters. He presented his research findings nationally and internationally. His research focuses on factors that predict outcome for persons with traumatic brain injury and treatments to improve outcomes for persons with traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Margaret Struchen is Manager of Psychology and Neuropsychology Services at TIRR and Assistant Professor in the Department of PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Struchen's research focuses on assessment and interventions for social communication difficulties for persons with brain injury, developing and evaluating programs to facilitate community integration and reduce social isolation, and understanding how acute injury factors impact outcomes after traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Heather Taylor is a Senior Scientist, Director for Spinal Cord Injury Research at TIRR Memorial Hermann's Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center and Assistant Professor for Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) in the Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor in PM&R at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Taylor is also a member of TIRR Research Leadership Group and Center Director for the Neuro Recovery Network. Dr. Taylor has over 12 years of experience conducting federally funded research in the area of disability, including spinal cord injury and spina bifida. She has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on cross sectional and longitudinal studies investigating numerous aspects of outcome related to disability, including motor learning, executive functioning, self-regulation, stress, depression, health, and quality of life. She has focused much of her work on women and children with mobility impairments, including spinal cord injury and spina bifida, and recently received funding to evaluate a parenting intervention for children with physical disabilities.
Dr. Nuray Yozbatiran is a physical therapist and Instructor in the UTHealth Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and researcher in the UTHealth Motor Recovery Laboratory at TIRR Memorial Hermann. Her research is focusing on recovery of motor function after central nervous system (CNS) injury using rehabilitation robotics, non-invasive brain stimulation such as Transcranial Direct Current stimulation and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).