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Our Team

Principal Investigators

CONNECT-TBI is led by our Primary Investigators, Drs. Douglas Smith and William Stewart. Both have had a continuous decades-long collaboration identifying mechanisms of TBI and how these early events initiate or contribute to progressive neuropathological changes. In addition, they have extensive experience in the examination of the chronic neuropathologies of TBI in context with other neurodegenerative disorders. Together, this team brings extensive intellectual and material resources to characterize important features of TReND that are already known to be found in multiple forms of TBI (e.g. single severe TBI, repetitive mild TBI), having already published multiple, highly cited, original research papers.

Douglas H. Smith, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Administrative Core Lead

William Stewart, MBChB, PhD
University of Glasgow
Administrative Core Lead
Brain Core Lead


Leadership extends to other team members who will direct and contribute to Cores and Research Projects. While the physical Cores will be housed at the University of Pennsylvania, Core work and Research Projects will be performed across all institutions through internet interfaces, frequent leadership videoconference interaction and face-to-face meetings, including an annual CONNECT-TBI General Assembly. Our network of co-investigators includes top professionals in their respective fields whose collective expertise puts this project at the forefront of TReND.

Etty Cortes, MD
Mt. Sinai Health System

John F. Crary, MD, PhD
Mt. Sinai Health System

Kristen Dams-O'Connor, PhD
Mt. Sinai Health System

Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Brian L. Edlow, MD
Harvard University

Bruce Fischl, MD, PhD
Harvard University

Rebecca D. Folkerth, MD
New York University

Lili-Naz Hazrati, MD, PhD
University of Toronto

Col. Sidney R. Hinds, MD
Medical Research and Materiel Command

Diego Iacono, MD, PhD
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Victoria E. Johnson, MBChB, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Christopher D. Keene, MD PhD
University of Washington

Julia Kofler, MD
University of Pittsburgh

Gabor G. Kovacs, MD, PhD
University of Toronto

Edward B. Lee, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Brain Core Lead

Geoffrey Manley, MD, PhD
University of California 
San Francisco

David F. Meaney, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Thomas J. Montine, MD, PhD
Stanford University

Amber Nolan, MD, PhD
University of Washington

David Okonkwo, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh

Daniel Perl, MD
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Andrea L.C. Schneider, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Julie Schneider, MD, MS
Rush University

John Q. Trojanowksi, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Andre van der Kouwe, PhD
Harvard University

Douglas J. Wiebe, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Data Core Lead

Kristine Yaffe, MD
University of California San Francisco
Data Core Lead

National Institutes of Health & National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH/NINDS) Scientific Officer

One of the unique qualities of U54 Grants which funds this project is the active role NIH/NINDS has in the path and progress. Our network is fortunate to have Patrick SF Bellgowan, PhD as the NIH/NINDS scientific officer on this project. Dr. Bellgowan participates in committee meetings to provide real time feedback, insight and advice. Dr. Bellgowan received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where he studied fear conditioning in rodents. He then did neuroimaging-focused postdoctoral fellowships at the Medical College of Wisconsin and at NIMH's Intramural Research Program. The research focus of these fellowships was on memory function in healthy controls and in epilepsy patients. Following his fellowship training, Dr. Bellgowan joined NIMH's Intramural Research Program as a Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition. Dr. Bellgowan left NIMH to join the development of a new neuroimaging-based psychiatric research institute in Oklahoma. He comes to NINDS from the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, OK where he served as Associate Professor and Director of Cognitive Research. While at the Laureate Institute, Dr. Bellgowan developed multiple competitively funded projects. His main research program focused on understanding the neurological and psychiatric sequelae of sports-related concussion using magnetic resonance neuroimaging and blood-based immunological markers.


Patrick SF Bellgowan, PhD

External Advisory Board

The EAB comprises a multidisciplinary group of recognized research leaders in TBI with extensive experience in, among other things, large scale, multi-center collaborative research in TBI (Drs. David Menon, Andrew Maas), networked research tissue archiving in neuropathology (Dr. James Nicoll) and high impact, researcher-led studies in TBI (Drs. Fiona Crawford, Kathryn Saatman). The EAB will review progress in CONNECT-TBI on a quarterly basis with Drs. Smith and Stewart as well as participate in the annual CONNECT-TBI general assembly.


Fiona Crawford, PhD
The Roskamp Institute


Andrew I.R. Maas, MD, PhD
Antwerp University Hospital


David Krishna Menon, MD PhD FRCP FRCA FFICM FMedSci
University of Cambridge


James Nicoll, BSc MBChB MD FRCPath
University of Southampton


Kathryn Saatman, PhD
University of Kentucky

Additional Researchers

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Abigail Bretzin, PhD, ATC
University of Pennsylvania

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Jean-Pierre Dollé, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

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Carrie Peltz
Veterans Affairs


Kamar Ameen-Ali, PhD
University of Glasgow

Additional Staff


Amy S. Carthy
University of Pennsylvania

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Rebecca Hogben
University of Glasgow (4)

Bailey Mikytuck
University of Pennsylvania


Hannah Wang
University of Pennsylvania