News Release

Dr. Dobryakova of Kessler Foundation receives Switzer Research Fellowship for TBI research

NIDILRR Merit Fellowship funds research for new treatment for cognitive fatigue after brain injury

Grant and Award Announcement

Kessler Foundation

Ekaterina Dobryakova, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation

image: Dr. Dobryakova is a research scientist in TBI Research at Kessler Foundation, where she focuses on cognitive rehabilitation research in multiple sclerosis and brain injury. view more 

Credit: Kessler Foundation

March 4, 2016. West Orange, NJ. Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, of Kessler Foundation has been awarded a Switzer Research Fellowship by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). The $70,000 Merit Award funds her research on the motivational influences on cognitive fatigue in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Cognitive fatigue is a debilitating symptom that affects up to 75% of people with TBI. There is evidence that cognitive fatigue is due to a disruption of the functioning of the fronto-striatal network, which plays a vital role in effort calculation and reward valuation. This study will be the first to explore whether rewards associated with performing a task can modulate cognitive fatigue in individuals with TBI.

"This fellowship enables me to further my study of the factors that influence cognitive fatigue," said Dr. Dobryakova, a research scientist in TBI Research at Kessler Foundation. "The results will be used to develop a non-invasive low-risk intervention that will alleviate this disabling symptom and lead to improvement in quality of life for the population with TBI."

Merit Fellowships are awarded to individuals with advanced professional training or research experience in independent study in appropriate areas that are directly pertinent to disability and rehabilitation, but who are in earlier stages of their research career, with less than the required seven years' experience, or who do not have a doctorate. Of the six Merit Fellowships awarded by NIDILRR in 2015, two were awarded to scientists at Kessler Foundation.

Funded by NIDILRR grant H133F150005


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 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 NIDRR and the Department of Defense, TBI research is funded by the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research 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 opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

Contacts: Carolann Murphy, PA; 973.324.8382;

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