Prof. Sébastien Couillard-Després is heading the Institute of Experimental Neuroregeneration at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg (Austria) since 2013. Couillard-Després obtained in 2001 his PhD in Neurological Sciences at McGill University (Montreal, Canada) working on transgenic models for motor neurons diseases. Thereafter, he joined the department of Neurology at Regensburg University (Germany) to investigate the process of adult neurogenesis and the properties of immature neurons. There, he received his Venia Legendi in 2010. Couillard-Després has been contribution for many years to various initiatives for the dissemination of neurosciences and was recently elected vice-president of the Austrian Neuroscience Association (ANA).
Being part of the Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg, Couillard-Després' team aims for a better understanding of the pathophysiological processes taking place in the brain and in the spinal cord after spinal cord injury. Furthermore, the team explores various avenues to develop novel therapeutic interventions limiting secondary damage and promoting functional recovery. Recently, Couillard-Després reported that extracellular vesicles secreted by mesenchymal stromal cells are particularly promising for the control the inflammatory processes in rat models of traumatic spinal cord injury.
His latest work revealed that immature neurons have the capacity to functionally integrate under physiological conditions in cortical structures outside of the canonical neurogenic niches. Couillard-Després is further deciphering the mechanisms behind this successful integration to enable better neural stem cell-based interventions required to re-establish connectivity after spinal cord injury.
Prof. Dr. Leda Dimou is head of the research group “Molecular and Translational Neuroscience” at the Ulm University Clinics since 2017. She obtained her PhD in Neuroscience in the University of Heidelberg and the Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, where she worked on myelin protein homologues expressed in neurons. Thereafter, she joined the laboratory of Martin Schwab in the Brain Research Institute at Zurich University where she concentrated her studies on spinal cord injuries, before she moved to the lab of Magdalena Götz at the Maximilians-University Munich. There, she started investigating the role of NG2-glia, also known as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in the adult brain under physiological and pathological conditions, a field that she is still working in. The group around Prof. Dimou is interested in oligodendrogenesis and specifically in the function and differentiation potential of NG2-glia in the adult brain as well as their interaction with other glial cells. Using fate mapping, transplantation techniques, FACS/MACS, transcriptome analysis and in vivo 2-photon microscopy she is studying the behaviour and potential of NG2-glia in the intact brain, after injury and in neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s´ disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Ultimately, her focus is to exploit the heterogeneity and the implementation of endogenous NG2-glia to repair brain damage after brain and peripheral injury as well as pathology.
Dr. Fehlings is the Vice Chair Research for the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and a Neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Dr. Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, holds the Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, is a Senior Scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute and a McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Fehlings was appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program (which he held until June 2012) and is currently Co-Director of the University of Toronto Spine Program. Dr. Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments to improve functional outcomes following spinal cord injury (SCI). He has published over 1000 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 105) chiefly in the area of central nervous system injury and complex spinal surgery. His seminal 1991 paper, cited over 2700 times, outlined the severe and lasting consequences of SCI due to a cascade of secondary injury mechanisms following the initial trauma. His research on secondary injury mechanisms ultimately led to the commencement of the multicenter, international Surgical Timing in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (STASCIS), aimed at establishing the need for early surgical decompression to prevent the negative effects of the secondary injury cascade. His work examining the use of regenerative approaches including neural stem cells to repair the injured nervous system has led to numerous international awards and has helped lead the field toward clinical translation in this area. Dr. Fehlings has received numerous prestigious awards and has been published in prominent journals such as Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Lancet Neurology, and Science Translational Medicine.
Anthony Figaji is the Professor and Head Paediatric Neurosurgery at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and he works at the Red Cross Children's Hospital. He is also the National Research Foundation SARChI Chair of Clinical Neurosciences, Secretary of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, president-elect of the Society of Neurosurgeons of South Africa, Pediatric Lead of the Brain Trauma Foundation, one of the founder members of GlobalNeuro, and past president of the International Neurotrauma Society. His research aims to improve patient outcomes by using technology and science to understand the pathophysiology, biochemistry, and pharmacokinetics of the injured brain.
Dr. Giza graduated from Dartmouth College, received his M.D. from West Virginia University and completed Adult and Pediatric Neurology training at UCLA. He then worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team before joining the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center in 1998. He was appointed to the California State Athletic Commission from 2005-2015, served on the Blue Ribbon Panel on TBI and PTSD for the Pentagon in 2009 and 2010, and traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Department of Defense. He founded and directs the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program & the Operation Mend mild TBI program. Dr. Giza co-authored concussion/mild TBI guidelines for the American Academy of Neurology (2013), Centers for Disease Control (for youth 2018) and the Concussion in Sport Group (Berlin Guidelines 2017). His research focuses on translational aspects of concussion and TBI, including pediatrics, anxiety, cognition, migraine, post-traumatic epilepsy, with emphasis on the effects of physical activity and environment.
Peter Hutchinson BSc (Hons), MBBS, PhD (Cantab), FRCS (Surg Neurol) FMedSci is Professor of Neurosurgery, NIHR Research Professor and Head of the Division of Academic Neurosurgery at the University of Cambridge. He is Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
He holds an Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon post at Addenbrooke’s Hospital with a sub-specialist interest in the management of neuro-trauma, specifically head and traumatic brain injury. He has a research interest in acute brain injury, utilising monitoring technology to increase the understanding of the pathophysiology of brain injury, and in the investigation and treatment of concussion. He also leads the international RESCUE studies evaluating the role of decompressive craniectomy in traumatic brain injury. He was awarded the Olivecrona Prize (the “Nobel Prize for Neurosurgery”) for his work on cerebral metabolism in acute brain injury).
He has co-authored over 500 publications (including NEJM, Lancet and Brain) and been lead applicant in over £15m of grants (including MRC and NIHR). He is joint editor of the Oxford Textbook of Neurological Surgery and “Head Injury – A Multidisciplinary Approach”.
He is Director of Clinical Studies at Robinson College, Past President of Clinical Neurosciences Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, Director of the Research Fund of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies, Treasurer of the International Neurotrauma Society and Chief Medical Officer for the Formula One British Grand Prix.
Dr. Soheila Karimi is a full professor and neuroscientist with the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, and Spinal Cord Research Center at the University of Manitoba in Canada. Soheila has had a long-term interest in neural repair and regeneration. She received her PhD from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Saskatchewan in 2001, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Toronto Western Research Institute. In 2007, Soheila joined the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto as an adjunct Assistant Professor until 2010 when she moved to the University of Manitoba. Soheila directs a research program in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury that contributes to both basic and applied translational discoveries to develop pharmacological and stem cell therapies for these conditions. The Karimi research program has been supported continuously by national and international agencies including the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the MS Society of Canada, NSERC, Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Wings for Life Foundation, among others. Soheila has been involved in national and international collaborations and leadership programs to serve the neurotrauma and neuroscience community. She currently serves as the Secretary of the International Neurotrauma Society and sits in the Executive Committee of the International Women in Multiple Sclerosis, the Scientific Program Committee of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, and several national and international peer-review and advisory committees in cellular and regenerative therapies for spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. Soheila actively participates in mentorship, outreach, fundraising and public awareness events in Canada. In 2020, Soheila was named one of the Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women Executive Network for her contributions to science and technology.
Patrick M. Kochanek, MD, is Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Medicine, the Ake N. Grenvik Professor and Vice Chair of Critical Care Medicine; Director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research; and Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Bioengineering and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. As the Safar Center Director for 27 years, he has a long track-record of translational and multi-departmental research studying traumatic and ischemic brain injury and pediatric and adult neurointensive care, funded by the NIH and the US Department of Defense (DoD). He has >590 listings on PubMed and was identified by Thompson Reuters Science Watch as the most prolific author in the field of TBI from 2001 to 2014. He served as the Principal Investigator for Operation Brain Trauma Therapy, the first multi-center preclinical therapy and biomarker screening consortium in the field, funded by the US DoD. He also was lead author of the 2019 Guidelines for the Management of Severe Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury. He has been PI for 21 years of a T-32 titled “Training in Pediatric Neurointensive Care and Resuscitation Research” funded by NICHD. He has mentored numerous trainees, many of whom have gone on to receive independent funding and careers of international prominence. He is emeritus Editor-in-Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and served as EIC for 21 years, until October 1, 2020. Among many awards, he received the Distinguished Investigator Award from the ACCM in 2007, was named one of the inaugural Masters of Critical Care Medicine in 2012 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the SCCM in 2017. He was a distinguished speaker at the 125th anniversary celebration of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in 2018 and gave a Great Teachers Lecture at the NIH Clinical Center in 2019.
Dr. Loane lead a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to studying the complexities of traumatic brain injury (TBI), neuroinflammation and tissue repair. His program of research investigates the activation status and functional role of resident microglia and infiltrating immune cells (monocytes, neutrophils, B and T cells) in the injured brain, and to determine how they contribute to ongoing neurodegenerative processes that promote long-term neurological dysfunction after brain trauma. His research group is seeking to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that regulate microglial/macrophage function with the goal of manipulating these cells to attenuate destructive pro-inflammatory responses, and promote protective pro-repair responses. Ongoing studies include examining: 1) the function and phenotypes of microglia/macrophages following acute TBI, and how they contribute to chronic pathologies; 2) how age affects microglia/macrophage function after TBI; 3) the signaling pathways that regulate protective anti-inflammatory immune activation in brain, and whether these pathways can be manipulated after TBI; 4) how TBI alters bidirectional brain-periphery interactions and systemic immune function in gut, lung, and bone marrow tissues. The mission for his group is to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying post-traumatic neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and loss of neurological function, and to develop novel treatment strategies for neuroprotection and post-traumatic repair that will translate to the clinic for human head injury.
Andrew I.R. Maas is Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery at the Antwerp University Hospital and University of Antwerp. He holds positions as past Chairman of the Neurotraumatology Committee of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) and the International Neurotrauma Society, and is Co-Chairman of the European Brain Injury Consortium. He has a vast experience as a general neurosurgeon and has specific research interests in Traumatic Brain Injury and neuro-intensive care.
Dr Maas was the Principal Investigator of the IMPACT study group (International Mission on Prognosis and Clinical Trial design in TBI), that was awarded an NIH grant (2003-2011) and resulted in over 55 publications and recommendations for improved trial design. Together with Prof David Menon, University of Cambridge, he coordinated the large scale collaborative project CENTER-TBI: Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI (www.center-tbi.eu), supported by the FP7 program of the European Union (Grant no: 602150; duration:2013-2021).
Honors and scientific awards:
- Lifetime Achievement Award International Brain Injury Association (2016)
- Honorary Doctorate Burdenko Institute Moscow (2013-ongoing)
- Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI (CENTER TBI) – grant from the European Commission 7th Framework Programme ( Coordinator Grant no: 602150; duration:2013-2021)
- Individualized Targeted Management in Neurocritical care - Grant of the Flemish Institute for Science and Technology (2009-2011)
- Clinical Trial Design and Analysis in TBI - NIH-R01 grant (PI Grant no: 042691; 2003-2011)
Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, PhD is the Chief of Neurosurgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) where he co-directs the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center and is Professor and Vice Chairman of Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Manley is an internationally recognized expert in neurotrauma. In addition to a robust clinical practice at ZSFG, San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area’s level 1 trauma center, he coordinates and leads national and international clinical research efforts in the study of the short- and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Building on the success of the seminal, national longitudinal study, TRACK-TBI, Geoff, as Contact Principal Investigator, along with a nationwide team of TBI experts, has recently launched the TRACK-TBI NETWORK, an innovative, precision-medicine driven consortium that will test Phase 2 drugs for TBI. The TRACK-TBI studies have created a modern precision medicine information commons for TBI that integrates clinical, imaging, proteomic, genomic, and outcome biomarkers to drive the development of a new TBI disease classification system, which could revolutionize diagnosis, direct patient-specific treatment, and improve outcomes. His nearly 300 published manuscripts reflect a wide range of research interests from molecular aspects of brain injury to the clinical care of TBI. He sits on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on VA Examinations for Traumatic Brain Injury and has served as a consultant for the Prehospital Guidelines Committee for the World Health Organization and on numerous clinical research committees for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Defense.
Rebekah Mannix MD, MPH is a pediatric emergency medicine physician whose research focus is trauma, with a particular emphasis on pediatric traumatic brain injury and firearm violence. She is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the co-Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Brain Injury Center. Dr. Mannix’s research platform spans from exploring epidemiologic trends to basic science investigations. Her research has been cited by President Obama and is published widely including Nature, JAMA, JAMA pediatrics, NEJM, and Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. Dr. Mannix’s work is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and from charitable donations by the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association.
Niklas Marklund is the Professor of Neurosurgery in Lund, Sweden and the director of the LUBIN Lab, Lund Laboratory for Brain Injury research in Neurosurgery at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Sweden. He is a clinically- active neurosurgeon and has a long-standing interest in all aspects of neurotrauma with a focus on translational studies of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and sports-related concussions.
Dr. Marklund completed his PhD on experimental TBI research in 2001, and his neurosurgical residency in 2002- both at Uppsala University, Sweden. He then continued his studies on experimental TBI at the Dept. of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA as a post-doctoral fellow from 2002-2004. He was 2010-2016 the Swedish representative in the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS), and then became the Chair of the Trauma & Critical Care section of the EANS, a position he held between 2017-2021.
Since 2016, he is the Professor and Academic Chair in Neurosurgery, Lund University, Sweden. Dr. Marklund is since long an elected member of the World Federation of Neurological Surgery (WFNS) Neurotraumatology Committee. In addition, he is European Editor for the J Neurotrauma and the current chair for the recently formed Swedish Sports Concussion Society (SSCS). An important task is being a co-founder and vice president of the European Neurotrauma Organization (ENO). He conducts studies on surgical aspects of the treatment of chronic and acute spinal cord injury as well as cervical myelopathy. His main scientific focus is, however, TBI with projects ranging from experimental in vivo and in vitro work, to clinical studies that include neurocritical care monitoring, biomarkers and human TBI pathology. His translational sport related concussion work has a focus on persistent post-concussive symptoms and include neuroimaging, biomarkers, neuropsychology and post-traumatic neurodegeneration.
Professor David Krishna Menon is Section Lead for Perioperative, Acute, Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, Co-Chair of the Acute Brain Injury Program, and Consultant in Neurocritical Care at the University of Cambridge. He is Professorial Fellow in Medicine at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Principal Investigator at the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre and at the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair in Cambridge. He is Chair of the European Brain Trauma Consortium and serves on the Executive of the International Neuro Trauma Society. He serves as Vice-Coordinator CENTER-TBI, a €30 million FP7 European multicentre study of precision medicine and comparative effectiveness research in traumatic brain injury, as Joint Director of the Cambridge NIHR Global Health Research Group on Neurotrauma, and one of the Scientific Leads for the International Traumatic Brain Injury Research (InTBIR) initiative. He was appointed as Emeritus Senior Investigator by the National Institute for Health Research (UK) in 2018.
He has over 500 publications in peer reviewed journals, with a ‘h’ index of 118 (Google Scholar), is listed as a “Highly Cited Researcher” by Clarivate, and recognised as the leading global expert on brain injury on Expertscape. He has been Principal or Co-Investigator on peer-reviewed grants totalling over $50 million over the last 20 years, and has contributed to major textbooks and international guidelines. His publications cover all aspects of acute brain injury, with research outputs in epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical training, systems and service design, randomised clinical trials, outcome assessment, policy development, and public engagement. He is one of two lead authors on a Commissioned Issue of the Lancet Neurology on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which was released at the European Parliament in 2017. He was Executive Editor of the Report of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Acquired Brain Injury, an output from an non-partisan group of Members of the UK Parliament, which provides expert advice for policy makers on various aspects of TBI – including neurorehabilitation provision, education impact, relation to violent offending, and sports-related concussion.
David Okonkwo, MD, PhD, is professor of neurological surgery and director of the Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also director of neurotrauma and the scoliosis and spinal deformity program at UPMC Presbyterian. Dr. Okonkwo is currently chair of the AANS/CNS Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care. In addition, Dr. Okonkwo is a member of the medical staff for the Pittsburgh Steelers Football Club.
Dr. Okonkwo completed his undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, where he was a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Biomedical Research Scholar. He completed his medical and doctoral education through the MD/PhD program of the Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University.
He joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery in 2006 following completion of neurosurgical residency at the University of Virginia and a fellowship at Auckland Public Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. He has additional specialized training in scoliosis surgery.
Dr. Okonkwo’s clinical interests are traumatic injuries to the brain and spine as well as scoliosis and spinal deformity. His research endeavors involve developing biomarkers, advanced neuroimaging modalities and novel therapeutic interventions for brain and spinal cord injury. Dr. Okonkwo is a principal investigator of a national clinical research network (TRACK-TBI) to advance our understanding and treatment of traumatic brain injury. He is also principal investigator of several ongoing clinical studies in neurotrauma in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Okonkwo has published more than 275 papers in refereed journals, authored numerous book chapters, and garnered several awards for his scientific research. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the National and International Neurotrauma Societies.
Prof. Stewart is Consultant Neuropathologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and holds Honorary Professor status at the University of Glasgow and the University of Pennsylvania.
He leads an internationally regarded research laboratory engaged in multiple programs investigating the pathologies of acute and long-term survival from traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Working with the unique and comprehensive Glasgow TBI Archive, Prof. Stewart’s research describes the complex pathology of brain injury across a range of exposures and survivals, with particular reference to the link between brain injury and neurodegenerative disease.
Prof. Stewart directs multiple internationally regarded research programmes including CONNECT-TBI, which serves to increase access to research tissue archives in TBI, and FIELD, which has provided first insights into dementia risk in former footballers and has been directly responsible for player welfare changes in multiple global sports.
Dr. Eve Tsai MD, PhD, CIP, FRCSC gained early acceptance into medical school and obtained her medical degree from the University of Toronto. She then completed her neurosurgery residency training at the University of Toronto. During her residency, she completed a PhD in spinal cord repair. Dr. Tsai then obtained subspecialty training in spine surgery and completed a Spine Fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic. She has won numerous clinical, research, teaching and humanitarian awards.
In both 2011, 2012 and 2014, Dr. Tsai was selected by committee as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence by Women of Influence Magazine (the only woman who has had the honor of winning thrice). She was also chosen as the winner of the Health Section Category and is the only woman to have won the cover of the magazine for two years in a row. The cover was selected by the most online votes. http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/magazine/. In 2010, she won Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 AwardTM, which honours achievement for vision and leadership; innovation and achievement; impact; growth/development strategy; and community involvement and contribution. She has also won the AANS Young Clinician Investigator Award in 2008.
She is currently the holder of the Suruchi Bhargava Spine and Brain Regeneration Chair and an internationally recognized academic neurosurgeon. Her main surgical interests focus on all types of spine and spinal cord diseases such as spinal cord injury, spinal cord and spine tumors, syringomyelia, and myelopathy. Her research focuses on spinal cord repair strategies, neural and axonal regeneration, MRI imaging of spinal cord tracts in humans and animals, and clinical outcomes after spine surgery. She is an expert in the rodent spinal model, and her basic science research background allows her to critically evaluate preclinical studies and carefully select promising therapies that could be clinically applied successfully. She is also “Dr. Mom” to two children and a cat.
Lindsay Wilson is a neuropsychologist who started his research career as post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Stirling in Scotland, and subsequently became Professor of Psychology and Head of Department. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Stirling. He has researched traumatic brain injury for over 30 years, including work on cognition, quality of life, and functional outcome. His interest in the field began while he was in Germany, and he went on to work with colleagues at the Institute of Neurological Sciences in Glasgow. Most recently he has been involved in the international CENTER-TBI study.