Conference Chairs, Organizing Committee, and Distinguished Speakers

Conference Chairs

Conference Chair: Semyon Slobounov, Ph.D.

Semyon Slobounov

Dr. Semyon Slobounov is the director of the Virtual Reality/Traumatic Brain Injury research laboratory and the director of the Penn State Center for Sport Concussion: Research & Services. He is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology College of Health of Human Development, Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, and Adjunct Professor of Orthopedics and Medical Rehabilitation at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, with primary responsibilities to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of psychology of injury, neural basis of motor behavior, and psychophysiology. He has coaching background and clinical work with numerous injured athletes for more than 25 years. His research focused on neural basis of human movements with special emphasis on rehabilitation medicine, psychology and neurophysiology, including traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Slobounov is an adjunct investigator with the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He has published more than 100 papers in referee Journals including Experimental Brain Research, Clinical Neurophysiology, Psychophysiology, Neuroscience Letters etc. He is the author of two recently published books by Springer: “Foundations of Sport-Related Injuries” and “Injury in Athletics: Causes and Consequences”. He is an active member of Society for Psychophysiological Research and a fellow of American Academy of Kinesiology. He also is an adjunct Professor of the Neuroscience and an affiliate Professor of Gerontology Center at Penn State. He received his first Ph.D. from the University of Leningrad, Department of Psychology, USSR in 1978 and his second Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Kinesiology in 1994.

Conference Co-Chair: Wayne Sebastianelli, MD

Wayne Sebastianelli

Dr. Sebasitanelli is the chief physician in our lab, and oversees our patient-athletes. Dr. Sebastianelli's academic record includes a Fellowship in Sports Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (1989) Residency, Orthopedic Surgery, University of Rochester Affiliated Hospitals (1988) M.D., University of Rochester, School of Medicine & Dentistry(1983). He was an assistant professor in the department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitationat The Pennsylvania State University/Hershey Medical Center from 1992-1995. He is currently the Director of Athletic Medicine and head team physician at PSU Athletics. Dr. Sebastianelli received tenure at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center/College of Medicine, department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation in 1998. Dr. Sebastianelli has received The Best Doctor in America® in 2002 and 2004. His selected publications are: Slobounov, S., Sebastianelli, W. J., Simon, R. Neurophysiological and behavioral concomitants of post-concussion syndrome in athletes. Clinical Neurophysiology, 113:185-193, 2002. Putukian, M., Sebastianelli, W.J.: Football. In: The Team Physician’s Handbook, Third Edition. Editors: Mellion, Walsh, Madden, Putukian, Shelton. Hanley & Belfus, Inc., 54:567-587, 2001. Sebastianelli, W.J.: "Football". In: Sports Medicine Secrets 3rd Edition. Mellion, Putukian, Madden, Editors. Hanley & Belfus, Inc., 82:437-446, 2002.

Organizing Committee

Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, FACS, FAHA

Robert Harbaugh

Robert E. Harbaugh obtained his M.D. from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and his general surgery and neurosurgery training at Dartmouth. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery) at the Dartmouth Medical School in 1985 and became Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery) in 1997. At Dartmouth, Dr. Harbaugh served as Director of the Cerebrovascular Disease Center, Director of the Neurosurgical Laboratory and as acting Residency Program Director. In 2003 Dr. Harbaugh accepted the position of Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Residency Program Director and Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at the Pennsylvania State University. He is a University Distinguished Professor, Penn State’s highest academic rank, and was appointed as the Director of Penn State University’s Institute of the Neurosciences. He also holds a clinical appointment as Guiding Professor of Neurosurgery at Huanhu Hospital and an academic appointment as Professor of Neurosurgery at Nankai University in Tianjin, China.

His research interests include clinical trial design, outcomes analysis, quality improvement in neurosurgery and neural engineering. He has served on the editorial boards of Neurosurgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Bulletin, Neurosurgery On Call, the Journal of Neurovascular Disease, the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and Neurobiology of Aging. Dr. Harbaugh has obtained research funding from the NIH, NATO, USDA, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, industry, foundations and other organizations.

He is a member of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section (CVS), the AANS/CNS Tumor Section, the American Stroke Association (ASA), the American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Council, the New England Neurosurgical Society (NENS), the Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society (PNS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). He is presently a Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and was recently asked by the National Football League to be a member of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee and to Chair its data collection subcommittee. Dr. Harbaugh has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Lebanon Valley College.

Bill Ray, Ph.D.

William Ray

Bill Ray is a Professor of Psychology at Penn State University. He received his PhD from Vanderbilt University and was a Fellow in Medical Psychology at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. He has also served as a visiting professor and researcher at the University of Hawaii, Münster University, University of Rome, Tübingen University and Konstanz University. At Penn State, he is currently the Director of the SCAN (Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) program and was previously the Director of the Clinical Psychology Program. His research has focused on approaching clinical questions from a neuroscience perspective. He has used psychophysiological and brain imaging techniques such as EEG, MEG, and fMRI to study emotionality, psychopathology and individual differences. These studies can be found in over 100 articles, book chapters and books. This work has been funded by both national and international agencies including NIH, NIMH, NASA, NATO, and the DAAD. In addition to research, teaching has been an important part of his career. His textbooks include Methods Toward a Psychology of Behavior and Experience (10th ed, 2012, Wadsworth Publishing), Psychophysiological Methods (with Robert Stern & Karen Quigley – (2nd ed, 2000, Oxford University Press) and Evolutionary Psychology: Neuroscience Perspectives Concerning Human Behavior and Experience (2013, SAGE).

Ms. Katie Finelli, Research Coordinator

Ms. Katie Finelli, Research Coordinator

Miss Finelli is the research coordinator and one of the research technologists in the lab. She attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2008, and received her Master's degree in Exercise Science from California University of PA in 2011. She has worked for Dr. Slobounov for approximately four years. Miss Finelli began as an intern and then was offered a position both within the lab and for the Penn State Strength & Conditioning staff. She then became the full time research coordinator for the VR lab. She manages all scheduling, testing protocols, oversees interns, honors thesis students, and research assistants, as well as communicates directly with patients, athletes, athletic trainers, doctors, and coaches. Miss Finelli is currently working to expand the lab and upgrade the protocol systems, in order to make the testing more efficient. She strives to maintain research integrity while ensuring our patient's and subject's comfort and security throughout our testing.

Mrs. Emily Thompson Schelberg

Mrs. Emily Thompson Schelberg

Mrs. Thompson Schelberg received her BS in Kinesiology with a minor in Civic Engagement from The Pennsylvania State University in 2011. She is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and has a certification in journalism from the United States Marine Corps. Mrs. Thompson Schelberg is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She assists the PhD and Master's degree seeking candidates in their research endeavors. Mrs. Thompson Schelberg oversees the daily operations of the lab and the administration of testing protocols. She is the lab's webmaster, and also coordinates and conducts direct patient evaluation of brain injuries, working with the research coordinator in support of the NIH grant funded program. She currently administers EEG, virtual reality, and neuropsychological assessments to collegiate level and high school student-athletes in high-contact sports prior to and following concussion(s).

Mr. Michael Gay

Mr. Michael Gay

Mr. Gay received his BS degree in 1999 at the University of Maine, and his MS degree in Kinesiology 2001 from the Penn State University. He is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate in Kinesiology at Penn State University (anticipated graduation 2012). Mr. Gay has been an athletic trainer for 13 years and currently works at Penn State as an athletic trainer. His role within the lab to date has been multifaceted. As a clinician he gives clinical direction and feedback to project creation and data collection as it pertains to the clinical component of mTBI. Dr. Slobounov and he have also expanded the depth and breadth of modalities used to diagnose/evaluate subjects recovering from mTBI. This multi-modal approach is critical in evaluating sub-clinical abnormalities and providing data points towards a comprehensive approach in the treatment of mTBI. His recent publications include: -Johnson, B., Zhang, K., Gay, M., Neuberger, T., Horovitz, S., Hallett, M., Sebastianelli, W. Slobounov, S: Metabolic alterations in corpus callosum may compromise brain functional connectivity in MBI patients: an MRS study, Neuroscience Letters (submitted Sept. 30, 2011).

Invited Distinguished Speakers

Introductory Remarks

Mark Hallett

Mark Hallett

Dr. Hallett obtained his A.B. and M.D. at Harvard University, had his internship in Medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and his Neurology training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had fellowships in neurophysiology at the NIH and in the Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry in London, where he worked with C. David Marsden. Before coming to NIH in 1984, Dr. Hallett was the Chief of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is currently Chief of the Medical Neurology Branch and Chief of its Human Motor Control Section. He is now Editor-in-Chief of World Neurology, the newsletter of the World Federation of Neurology and Associate Editor of Brain. He has been President of the Movement Disorder Society and Vice-President of the American Academy of Neurology. Among many awards, in 2005 he won the Movement Disorder Research Award of the American Academy of Neurology and in 2007 he won the Wilhelm-Erb-GedenkmÜnze of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fÜr Neurologie. His research activities focus on the physiology of human voluntary movement and its pathophysiology in disordered voluntary movement and involuntary movement.

Robert Cantu, MD
Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at BUSM, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy

Robert Cantu

Dr. Cantu has authored over 357 scientific publications, including 28 books on neurology and sports medicine, in addition to numerous book chapters, peer-reviewed papers, abstracts and free communications, and educational videos. He has served as associate editor of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and Exercise and Sports Science Review, and on the editorial board of The Physician and Sports Medicine, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, and Journal of Athletic Training. In 2003 Dr. Cantu became the section head for the Sports Medicine Section of Neurosurgery.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Dr. Cantu is medical director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, an ongoing registry instituted in 1982 for data collection and analysis of spine and head injuries. From this data important contributions have been made in sport safety and accident reduction; most notably football rule changes concerning tackling and blocking with the head, the establishment of football helmet standards, improved on-the-field medical care, and coaching techniques. He also serves on the Board of Trustees as Vice President of National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Dr. Cantu also is Co-Director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.

Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2011 T. MacArthur Fellow

Kevin Guskiewicz

Kevin Guskiewicz is the Kenan Distinguished Professor and Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as the Chair of Exercise and Sport Science and holds joint appointments in the Department of Orthopaedics, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, and Doctoral Program in Human Movement Science. Dr. Guskiewicz’s teaching responsibilities include Cadaver Anatomy, Therapeutic Modalities, Human Anatomy, and Research Methods & Statistics in Sports Medicine.
Over the past 17 years, Dr. Guskiewicz’s research has focused on sport-related concussion. He has investigated the effect of sport-related concussion on balance and neuropsychological function in high school and collegiate athletes, and the long-term neurological issues related to playing sport. Dr. Guskiewicz has been the recipient of 20 funded research grants, and has published over 75 journal articles and six textbook chapters related to concussion in sport. He was awarded Fellowship in the American College of Sports Medicine in 2003, the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education in 2006, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2008. In 2010 he was named to NCAA’s Concussion Committee, the NFLPA’s Mackey-White Committee, and the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee.

Gerard Gioia, Ph.D.
Director, Children National Medical Center, DC

Gerard Gioia

Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist and the director of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Program at Children’s National Medical Center. He also directs the hospital’s Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program and the Neurobehavioral Evaluation Core laboratories of the General Clinical Research Center and the Mental Retardation (GCRC) and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (MRDDRC). He is an associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Gioia received his BA in Psychology from Franklin and Marshall College and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with predoctoral internship training in pediatric psychology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and postdoctoral fellowship training in pediatric neuropsychology at Boston Children's Hospital. He has a particular expertise in mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and disorders involving the executive functions. He is also involved in research of the neuropsychological outcomes of children with brain tumors, epilepsy, and neurofibromatosis (NF). Dr. Gioia is the principal investigator of a multi-site research study of mild TBI in children and adolescents, funded by the Centers for Disease Control. He is a principal author of an innovative set of clinical tests of the executive functions in children, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), which is now widely used in clinical and research centers around the world.

Zhifeng Kou, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering and School of Medicine, Wayne State University

Zhifeng Kou

Dr. Kou is a graduate faculty with Department of Biomedical Engineering, Radiology and School of Medicine at the Wayne State University. Dr. Kou’s research interests are regarding neuroimaging of traumatic brain injury (TBI). He uses the advanced MRI techniques (fMRI, DTI, MRS) to improve the diagnosis of brain injury, better predict TBI patients long term outcome, and consequently to help physicians better treat the patients. His research spans from both human subjects and experimental animal model on TBI. In Dr. Kou’s team, the required research skills cover from signal processing (MR pulse sequence design), biomedical image processing, neuroscience, to clinical neuropsychology.

Erin Bigler, Ph.D.
The Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Center, Brigham Young University
Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah School of Medicine

Erin Bigler

Erin D. Bigler, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University (BYU) where he served as Chair of the Psychology Department for over six years from 1996 through 2002. He served as President of the National Academy of Neuropsychology from 1989-1990. He was formerly a Professor of psychology and psychiatry for the University of Texas, until he returned to Utah in 1990 to assume his current position at BYU. He has since established the internationally known Brain Imaging and Behavior Laboratory at BYU, which studies the role of neuroimaging variables in cognitive and neurobehavioral disorders such as traumatic brain injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and learning disabilities, anoxic brain injuries and other acquired injuries of the brain as well as aging and Alzheimer's disease. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Clinical Neuropsychologist Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology. In that same year, he was also the recipient of the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, Brigham Young University's top faculty honor. In 2003 he was awarded the Susa Young Gates Professorship which is given in recognition of distinguished scholarship, teaching, and citizenship at BYU.

Currently, Dr. Bigler is the incoming President of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) where he served as Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors for many years and was the Associate Editor to the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (JINS) for 11 years. He continues to sit on the editorial boards of several other neuropsychology journals and is currently the Associate Editor of the Brain Imaging and Behavior journal. In addition, Dr. Bigler is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry for the University of Utah. He is a licensed psychologist, practicing in the area of clinical neuropsychology, and holds a Diplomate from the American Board of Professional Psychology with special competence in clinical neuropsychology. He has written several neuropsychological tests, almost 90 book chapters, and authored and/or edited 9 textbooks—most recently as one of the coauthors of Muriel Lezak’s Neuropsychological Assessment-5th Edition. He has also authored/co-authored and published over 340 peer-reviewed articles while maintaining continuous external funding for his research interests over the past 35 years.

Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D.
Chair of Sport Neurology, American Academy of Neurology, Director of Michigan NeuroSport, University of Michigan

Jeffrey Kutcher

Dr. Kutcher is a sports neurologist and team physician at the University of Michigan, where he is also Director of Michigan NeuroSport, the university’s academic program in sports neurology. Since 2009, he has been the chair of the Sports Neurology Section of the American Academy of Neurology, which has been instrumental in increasing the awareness of sports medicine issues within the field of neurology and promoting the neurological health of athletes at all levels. Dr. Kutcher has testified in front of the United States Congress and Senate on issues related to sports concussion, and in the spring of 2011 helped the FDA produce a workshop on the science of devices designed for concussion diagnoses and management.

Dr. Kutcher’s efforts in sports concussion clinical care, education, and research spans the entire range of athletes, from youth sports to professional leagues. He is the architect and director of the National Basketball Association Concussion Program and works closely with the National Hockey League Players’ Association. He is a co-founder of the National Sports Concussion Outcomes Study, a multi-center, prospective cohort study designed to investigate the effects of playing sports on long-term brain health.

David Hovda, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chairman of Research Affairs, Director, UCLA Brain Injury Research Center Lind Lawrence Eminent Scholar

Preliminary Topic: “Metabolic Dysfunction after Brain Injury”

David Hovda

In 1989, Dr. Hovda was recruited by the Department of Neurosurgery to direct its scientific efforts to understand the cellular pathophysiology of brain injury. This work resulted in providing the backbone for UCLA being recognized as a "Center of Excellence" by the National Institutes of Health. He has devoted most of his career to understanding the mechanisms of recovery of function. Dr. Hovda is the Director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. He is a former President and current President - Elect of the National Neurotrauma Society and study section committee chair for the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS). He is the current chair for the Brain Injury and Neurovascular Pathologies study section for the NINDS and has been elected President of the International Neurotrauma Society (2009-2012). Dr. Hovda has received a number of awards for his research on brain injury and recovery of function, including the 1991 National Head Injury Foundation Award, the Giannini Foundation Award, the Benjamin Franklin Haught Memorial Award and named the Lind Lawrence Eminent Scholar for his work on the topic of Traumatic Brain Injury. In addition Dr. Hovda received the 2006 Women in Neurotrauma award for his teaching and support for women in neuroscience. Dr. Hovda is most well known internationally for his translational work on the pathobiology of traumatic brain injury.

Mark R. Lovell, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer of ImPACT Applications

Mark Lovell

Mark R. Lovell, Ph.D., Is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ImPACT Applications. Dr. Lovell joined UPMC Health System in August 2000 as the founding director of the new UPMC Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program and held this position until his retirement from UPMC in 2011. Dr. Lovell founded the neuropsychological testing programs for the National Football League and serves as a consultant to the league and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also co-directed the National Hockey League's Neuropsychology program from 1997 to 2007 and currently serves as a consultant to the league. Dr. Lovell oversees the neuropsychological testing programs for the Indianapolis Racing League, the WWE, the US Ski Team and numerous other sports organizations nationally and internationally.

Dr. Lovell served as a member of the Vienna and Prague International Consensus conference on Sports-Related concussion, chartered by the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and the International Ice Hockey Federation. He has twice been a finalist for the Pittsburgh Business Times “Heroes of Healthcare” Award for his work in the prevention of brain injury and has also been awarded the Council of Brain Injury (CoBI) award for excellence in research. In 2010, Dr. Lovell received the prestigious USA Hockey Excellence in Safety Ward ad more recently was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from his Alma Mater, Northern Michigan University for his pioneering work in managing sports concussion.

Rimma Danov, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Neuropsychology

Rimma Danov

Dr. Rimma Danov received her Ph.D. from Adelphi University in New York. She completed her predoctoral internship in clinical psychology and neuropsychology at Harvard Medical School and postdoctoral specialization fellowship in pediatric and adult neuropsychology in a private clinic setting affiliated with New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ) and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center (RWJMC). She is an assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine, Dept. of Neurology, Penn State University, Dept. of Kinesiology, and Adelphi University, Derner Institute. In the past, she worked as a NHL neuropsychologist for the NJ Devils hockey team and was engaged as a co-investigator with the NYS Athletic Commission.

Albert I. King, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wayne State University

Albert King

Preliminary Topic: "Football Helmet Fitment and its Effects on Helmet Performance"

Dr. King received his BSc degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Hong Kong in 1955 and his Ph.D. in Biomechanics from Wayne State University in 1966. He is presently a Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering and an adjunct professor of orthopaedic surgery at Wayne State. His areas of research are trauma biomechanics and low back pain. He has studied injury response, tolerance to impact and mechanisms of injury from head to toe, due to blunt impact and blast overpressure, including computer modeling of head impact, side impact, spinal response to vertical acceleration and knee impact. He has authored over 200 papers and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.