Randall Scheibel, Ph.D. heads the research group at the Houston Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC): This research group was originally part of the Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior (LFBBI), which started as a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and the MEDVAMC. The LFBBI was established to employ an interdisciplinary approach to the study of brain-behavior relations, including the use of standard neuropsychological instruments, experimental cognitive measures, and both structural and functional neuroimaging. From 2008 to 2013, its personnel and operation partially overlapped with those of the MEDVAMC traumatic brain injury (TBI) Center of Excellence that was led by Dr. Harvey Levin, Ph.D. Since that time this work has continued in the form of several VA funded projects focused on the study of mild TBI and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans and active duty military personnel. With Dr. Scheibel as the current principal investigator (PI), this research now includes participation as a performance site for the Long-Term Impact of Military-Relevant Brain Injury Consortium – Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (LIMBIC-CENC), as well as a VA merit review study using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine cognitive control and clinical symptoms in veterans with PTSD. Some of the smaller projects have included a study of personality characteristics associated with TBI and PTSD (PI: Dr. Maya Troyanskaya), use of fMRI in athletes with sports-related concussion, and a hormonal intervention for the treatment of symptoms associated with PTSD. In addition, there is currently active collaboration with the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Analysis (ENIGMA) research network and training relationships involving mentees and students from the University of Houston and the Doris Miller VA Medical Center in Waco, Texas.
Mary Newsome, Ph.D. is a cognitive psychologist who researches neuroplasticity and cognitive changes after brain injury and interventional therapies. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Newsome currently studies the impact of blast explosions on veterans in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is particularly interested in subcortical changes in the brain that might precede or coincide with symptoms of movement disorders in these veterans (Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, and Long-Term Impact of Military-Relevant Brain Injury Consortium Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (https://www.limbic-cenc.org/)). With a clinical psychologist, Dr. Wright Williams, she also investigates the impact of different types of therapy for PTSD on the brains of veterans with both brain injury and PTSD (VA grants). Dr. Newsome has begun collaboration with these data with the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Analysis (ENIGMA) research network. She is also interested in resilience in other at risk groups.
Elisabeth A. Wilde, Ph.D., and Stephen R. McCauley, Ph.D. are clinical neuropsychologists who study brain-behavior relations through the use of multiple imaging modalities including diffusion tensor imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and functional MRI. Dr. Wilde is one of the founding members of the Normative Neuroimaging Library (NNL). The purpose of the NNL is to create a large collection of brain MRI scans (approximately 3000) and other information from healthy individuals to be used as a resource to compare the MRI scans of individuals with disorders or diseases with the MRI scans of healthy individuals. Data collection sites include the University of Virginia, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Utah in addition to military sites including the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) and the 59th Medical Wing, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (WHASC). Dr. Wilde is also the co-Leader of the Brain Injury Working Group for the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Analysis (ENIGMA) research network.
Brain Injury Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann
The Brain Injury Research Center (BRIC) at TIRR Memorial Hermann is directed by Angelle M. Sander, Ph.D. BIRC was established in 1987 with the funding of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems grant by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. Faculty members at BIRC conduct research on prediction of outcomes following brain injury and evaluation of interventions to improve the lives of persons with TBI at all phases of the recovery process. BIRC has housed over 30 federally funded grants covering a range of topics important to persons with TBI, including: prediction and treatment of cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial problems after traumatic brain injury (TBI); intimacy and sexuality after TBI; impact of brain injury on caregivers; cultural disparities in outcomes following TBI. Dr. Sander and Dr. Allison Clark are PM&R faculty members conducting research at BIRC.
Cognitive Neurosciences Laboratory at BCM
The Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at BCM’s Neurosensory Center (CNL) was established in 1995 by Harvey S. Levin, Ph.D. and supported by federal grants, including National Institutes of Health (NINDS and NICHD), Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CNL integrates rehabilitation and neuroplasticity research with multimodality brain imaging, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. CNL has focused on multidisciplinary traumatic brain injury research involving adult and pediatric populations and has pursued both observational studies and clinical trials. Other areas of research have included sports-related concussion and blast-related TBI in Veterans. As a component of the TRACK-TBI and TBI Endpoints consortia, CNL is investigating sex differences in recovery from TBI. Support from TBI Endpoints and NICHD is facilitating studies on fluid biomarkers of TBI. A grant from the H. Ben Taub Department of PM&R is supporting a pilot study to evaluate the effects of mindfulness meditation in treating chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury.