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UPMC Physicians and Researchers Present at the 2019 National Neurotrauma Society Symposium

May 21, 2019

The National Neurotrauma Society (NNS) will host their 37th annual symposium — NeuroTrauma 2019 — in Pittsburgh, PA, from June 29 through July 3. The symposium brings together scientists, clinicians, and health-care providers who are dedicated to the study of neurotrauma and to translating knowledge generated by research into improved patient care.

UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh will be well-represented at the symposium with presentations and keynote lectures. Notably, faculty members from the UPMC Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation have served as back-to-back presidents of the National Neurotrauma Society. Anthony E. Kline, PhD, professor, is most recent past president. Dr. Kline was succeeded by Amy Wagner, MD, professor, director, Translational Research, and director, Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship, who is serving as the current president of the National Neurotrauma Society in the 2018-2019 year.

Throughout her academic and professional career, Dr. Wagner has served the brain injury community as a clinician and researcher. She has also served the educational community through her work as research mentor to dozens of undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and resident physicians at the University of Pittsburgh and visiting scholars from other institutions. As the first physiatrist to lead the National Neurotrauma Society, she has chosen to focus the 2019 NNS Symposium program on the theme of “function.”

Dr. Wagner’s goal is to use the meeting platform to provide a discussion forum aimed at making function a central research theme in improving the lives and health span of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI). Conference attendees will explore the theme “Bridging Gaps in Understanding the Neurobiology and Neurotechnology of Function after Neurotrauma”. The theme will take a 360-degree view of function across the spectrum of neurotrauma and neurorehabilitation research. The conference will feature a keynote series titled “What Function Means to Me”, and attendees will hear from leading scientists who represent many areas of research, leadership, and advocacy for advancing research knowledge and breakthroughs in understanding and mitigating the functional consequences of neurotrauma. 

The University of Pittsburgh and UPMC will be well-represented at this symposium. The University of Pittsburgh’s Precision Medicine Institute (PMI) is a participating sponsor for a preconference titled, “Fluid-based Biomarkers for Precision Medicine Applications Assessing Function in NeuroTrauma Populations”

In partnership with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the PMI is also sponsoring daily “what does function mean to me” roundtables, where stakeholders from all areas of the neurotrauma community will share their perspectives on precision medicine and its place in neurotrauma/neurorehabilitation research and advocacy for the TBI and SCI communities.

The NNS will hold a robust community awareness and education event to be held on June 30th from 1:00 to 4:30 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel that is free and open to the public. The NNS is partnering with the PMI and CTSI as well as the University of Pittsburgh School for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the UPMC Center for Assistive Technology to support this initiative.  This event will take a hands-on, dynamic approach where attendees can learn about the latest advances in assistive technology that support seating, mobility, recreation, and other elements of technology important for everyday living. This event will also feature University of Pittsburgh trainees who are participating in the NNS conference. These trainees will share their latest scientific breakthroughs and their personal stories about their training and career path. 

Further, the CTSI and PMI will provide an interactive station where they will discuss the importance of the NIH funded “All of Us” initiative and the importance of both community informed research and research informed communities in helping to promote successful translation of biomedical research to clinical healthcare policy and standard. 

Several University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Faculty will be presenting at many main conference scientific sessions.

Saturday, June 29

Sunday, June 30

  • “Rehabilomics Research Model as a Framework for Precision Rehabilitation," Amy Wagner, MD, University of Pittsburgh
  • Keynote Lecture: “Brain Computer Interface Technology: Outlining a Path from Science Fiction to Engineering Function,” Douglas J. Weber, PhD, University of Pittsburgh

Monday, July 1

  • Measuring Functional Outcomes in Pre-Clinical Blast Models, chair, C. Edward Dixon, PhD
  • Brain Tissue Oxygenation: Physiology-Based Technology to Guide Patient Care (chair), Updates on PbtO2 focused Clinical Trials & Future Therapies, Lori Shutter, MD, FNCS, FCCM
  • TBI Recovery: Neurobehavior, Function & Precision Care in Pediatric TBI, “Personalized medicine innovations in pediatric TBI rehabilitation,” Erika Fink, MD, MS, University of Pittsburgh

Tuesday, July 2

Wednesday, July 3