Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Laboratory

Director: Tessa Hart, PhD


The Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Laboratory studies the long-term effects of TBI, develops treatments to promote recovery, and tests their effects in clinical trials. We are interested in the effects of TBI from the level of basic cognitive functions, particularly attention and executive function, all the way through to the level of social/ vocational reintegration and effects on the family. We have a particular interest in disorders of emotional regulation such as depression and anger/ irritability, for which we develop and test treatments based on principles of behavior change derived from goal self-management, behavioral activation, and action phase theories. Through long-term involvement and leadership within the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems program, we collaborate on longitudinal studies of TBI and modular projects focused on important TBI topics on a national scale.

Programs of Research
  • Moss TBI Model System (TBIMS) longitudinal project, to which we contribute at least 50 new participants per year and follow them at 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20… years after TBI
  • TBIMS modular projects on long-term improvement vs. decline, relationships between health and cognitive status, use of internet resources by people with TBI
  • Use of SMS (text) messaging to help people with brain injury to combat depression and anxiety, by reminding them of goals and intentions related to increasing rewarding activities
  • The effects of treatment intensity on 6- and 12-month outcomes, using a “natural experiment” comparing our outcomes to those of a hospital in Copenhagen with longer stays and more community support (with John Whyte, Annette Nordenbo, Ingrid Poulsen, and Karin Spangsberg Kristensen)
  • The comparative effects of two treatment protocols for learning how to self-manage anger and irritability following TBI
  • The effects of telephone-administered Problem Solving Training on concussion symptoms after military deployment (with Kathleen Bell, MD, and the DoD-funded Traumatic Brain Injury Multidisciplinary Research Consortium)
  • Methods to decompose complex psychosocial interventions into their “active ingredients”
  • Goal setting and goal maintenance methods to promote self-management after TBI
  • The effects of donepezil versus placebo on memory impairment in chronic TBI (with David Arciniegas, MD)
Research Assistants
  • Caron Morita
  • Kelly Bognar
  • Shira Neuberger, MA
  • Devon Kratchman
Clinical-Research Associates
  • Monica Vaccaro, MS
  • Mary Ferraro, PhD, OTR/L
  • Claire McGrath, PhD, ABPP/CN
  • Gillian Murray, MSW