Concussion Research

Impact on concussion research

In 2011, a group of scientists working across Western University began a series of collaborations on concussion research and have since focused their efforts to seek solutions to the problem of sports-related concussion. The breadth of expertise in this group ranges from basic molecular biology, cellular biology, biomechanics, immunology and exercise physiology to state-of-the-art imaging, public health and clinical sciences.

No other institution in Canada or around the world has the broad array of clinical, neuropathological, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neuropsychological, sports medicine and engineering expertise under a single “roof” that’s required to address the problem of sports-related concussion.

Doug Fraser

Doug Fraser, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Departments of Paediatrics, Physiology & Pharmacology and Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University; Physician, London Health Sciences Centre Paediatric Critical Care Unit; Lead Researcher, Western Pediatric Concussion Study Group
Dr. Fraser provides medical care for brain injured patients in the Intensive Care Unit and on the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) service. His research interests are focused on all aspects of acquired brain injury, including epidemiology, cellular mechanisms, prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic interventions.

Ravi Menon

Ravi Menon, PhD

Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University; Scientist, Robarts Research Institute; Canada Research Chair in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Dr. Menon is world-renowned for his work in functional magnetic resonance imaging and the development of new pulse sequences and hardware for ultra-high field MRI. His laboratory is developing novel high resolution imaging techniques at 3T, 7T and 9.4T that will allow the visualization of the causes and sequelae of neurodegenerative processes such demyelination, microhemorrhages, microglial activity and axonal death.

Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Dr. Brown has a long-standing interest in nervous system regeneration and has carried out preclinical studies in rodent models of spinal cord injury, stroke and traumatic brain injury. He has collaborated with Drs. Dekaban and Weaver to develop promising therapeutic strategies to treat concussion. The goal of these therapies is to stop the ongoing injury driven by inflammation and to promote nerve growth and plasticity.

Lisa Fischer

Lisa Fischer, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine,  Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and Faculty of Health Sciences; Director, Primary Care Sport Medicine, Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic (FKSMC)
Dr. Fischer is considered a leader in the clinical care of athletes with sport concussion, providing care for hundreds of athletes annually. She is the lead physician educator for the Clinical Medical Research Group and has worked with the physiotherapy division at the FKSMC in developing a post-concussive rehabilitation protocol for athletes with persistent symptoms.

Greg Dekaban

Greg Dekaban, PhD

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Dr. Dekaban’s expertise is in developing immunotherapeutics that prevent or modify disease outcomes. His most recent efforts focused on characterizing the cellular inflammatory response to spinal cord injury and developing an antibody-based therapy to block leukocyte infiltration into the injured spinal cord. His research will contribute to a better understanding of the natural history of brain injury.

Lynne Weaver

Lynne Weaver, DVM, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Dr. Weaver, as a neuroscientist and physiologist, has dedicated her research to developing treatments for spinal cord injury. She led the Spinal Cord Injury Team at Robarts and was responsible for most of the preclinical studies of the antibody-based acute anti-inflammatory (anti-CD11d) treatment for spinal cord injury in collaboration with Drs. Dekaban and Brown.

Robert Bartha

Robert Bartha, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics,  Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University and Scientist, Robarts Research  Institute
Dr. Bartha is an imaging scientist with expertise in the development and application of MRI methods to study brain disease. He focuses on metabolic and functional measurements in the brain and correlation with anatomical changes using ultra-high magnetic field MRI scanners. Dr. Bartha has extensive experience in human and small animal neurological imaging applications.

Tom Jenkyn

Thomas R. Jenkyn, PhD, PEng

Associate Professor, Human Biomechanics, Faculty of Engineering, Western University
Dr. Jenkyn directs the Wolf Quantitative Imaging Laboratory (WOQIL), a 3D X-ray fluoroscopy lab at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, which studies musculoskeletal injuries and trauma in athletes and patients. He also directs the Craniofacial Injury and Concussion Laboratory (CICL) at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which studies the biomechanics of facial trauma and mild traumatic brain injury.

Arjang Yazdani

Arjang Yazdani, MD

Assistant Professor, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Dr. Yazdani is an academic craniofacial surgeon who specializes in craniofacial reconstruction after injury. His research focuses on facial fractures and how they are associated with brain injuries. His research specifically looks at how an impact to the head causes force to dissipate through the face and skull. This work is vital to development of new forms of protective head gear.

Timothy Doherty

Timothy Doherty, MD, PhD

Chair/Chief, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Dr. Doherty is a clinician scientist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. As chair of PM&R, Dr. Doherty has a leadership role in the development of integrated clinical, research and education programs for concussion and acquired brain injury at Parkwood Hospital. Dr. Doherty is involved in the clinical assessment of patients with concussion.

 Tanya Charyk Stewart

Tanya Charyk Stewart, MSc

Injury Epidemiologist, Trauma Program, Children’s Hospital, London Heath Sciences Centre; Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Surgery, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Ms. Charyk Stewart’s research interests include injury epidemiology, injury prevention programming and evaluations, injury geo-mapping and research, specializing in traumatic brain injuries and their prevention in the pediatric population.

Jeffrey Holmes

Jeffrey Holmes, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Occupational Therapy, Western University; Occupational Therapist
Dr. Holmes’s research program focuses on the non-pharmacological management of neurological disorders, and includes clinical populations such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and acquired brain injury. He has extensive biomechanical experience in acquiring and analyzing biological signals as a means to objectively quantify balance and gait impairment.

J. Kevin Shoemaker

J. Kevin Shoemaker, PhD

Professor, School of Kinesiology, Western University; Canada Research Chair in Integrative Physiology of Exercise and
Health
Dr. Shoemaker’s research program investigates the physiological bases that determine how the autonomic nervous system controls blood pressure and the distribution of blood flow. His research extends from emphasis on both normal physiology in healthy individuals to the impact of central control of the autonomic nervous system in injury and disease.

Michael J Strong

Michael J. Strong, MD

Dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University; Distinguished University Professor, Western University; Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Dr. Strong is internationally recognized for his research focusing on the cellular biology of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). His research has led to an understanding of the mechanisms by which intracellular deposits of protein are formed and how these aggregates contribute to the disease process of ALS. Strong also holds the Arthur J. Hudson Chair in ALS Research.

Theo Versteegh

Theo Versteegh BSc PT, MSC, PhD (candidate)

Physiotherapist, Fowler-Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic
Mr. Versteegh, drawing on his training and experiences with varsity athletics, has sharpened his clinical expertise with both recreational and professional athletes. Theo has been a member of the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine team since 2008 with a specialty in treating sport concussion. His current research is focused on exploring the relationship between neck strength, neuromuscular function and concussion risk.