Erica Weber, PhD, of Kessler Foundation is the recipient of a Switzer Research Fellowship, awarded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). This $70,000 Merit Award will fund her research on strategies to improve prospective memory, the ability to remember to perform an intended action at a specific time in the future. Her work is designed to help people with traumatic brain injury (TBI), an impairment caused by damage to critical white matter in the brain.
The goal of Dr. Weber's research paper, entitled "Using self-generation to improve prospective memory in individuals with TBI" is to improve the memory of participants through a process where they come up with their own cues to remind themselves to perform a task in the future. For example, a person with TBI could decide to remember to take medication by pinning the action to the scheduled daily broadcast of a favorite TV show, such as The Simpsons.
"It's very relatable research," says Dr. Weber, an associate research scientist in TBI Research at Kessler Foundation. "Self-generation is like putting an extra layer of paint on a memory to make it more vibrant. We hope to show that it's a simple, user-friendly strategy that can improve peoples' day to day lives by helping them remember to do things like send an important work email, pick-up milk on the way home, or attend a friend's birthday party."
Switzer Research Fellowships are awarded to exceptional scientists in the early stages of their research careers who have advanced professional training or experience related to disability and rehabilitation.
Funded by NIDILRR grant 90SF0015.
About TBI Research at Kessler Foundation:
Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, is director of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research and project director of the Northern New Jersey TBI System (NNJTBIS), a collaborative effort of Kessler Foundation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and local hospitals. John DeLuca, PhD, is co-project director. NNJTBIS is one of 16 federally-funded model systems that form a national comprehensive system of care, research, education, and dissemination aimed at improving the quality of life for people with TBI.
NNJTBIS is supported by grant #H133A120030 from the National Institute Disability, Independent Living & Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). In addition to NIDILRR and the Department of Defense, TBI research is also funded by the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and Children's Specialized Hospital.
Neuroimaging studies are conducted at the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation. Kessler researchers and clinicians have faculty appointments in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
About Kessler Foundation:
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes--including employment--for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.
Dana Hawkins-Simons, MS; 973-324-8398; Dhawkins-Simons@KesslerFoundation.org
Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382; CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org