CNRM hosts a monthly seminar series that features presentations from experts in the traumatic brain injury (TBI) research community. These seminars are critical because they give current and future experts within the TBI community an opportunity to gather together and exchange ideas. By working together, we can all make a difference in TBI research. See below for more information about previous and upcoming CNRM seminars. 

2020 Seminars 

September 2020

Date: 09/30/2020
Ricky Ditzel, Jr. 
Director of Research and Education 
Title: "Eagle Down: SOF Medic Experience with Traumatic Brain Injury in Combat”
Presentation Summary: Mr. Ditzel is a prior Army Special Operations Critical Care Flight Paramedic. During his service, Mr. Ditzel deployed several times and supported combat operations in Operation Freedom Sentinel- Resolute Support Mission. His presentation will detail his experiences evacuating blast-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients and the unique demands of the operational tempo. 

July 2020

Date: 7/08/2020
Assistant Professor
Director, Interventional Psychiatry Clinical Research
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University Medical Center
Title: "Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT): Results of a Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial"
Presentation Summary: During this webinar, Dr. Williams will present findings from his recently completed and published study that examined the feasibility, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of an accelerated, high-dose resting-state functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI)-guided intermittent theta-burst stimulation protocol for treatment-resistant depression. The goals of this presentation are: 
  • To discuss SAINT as a new method for accelerated neuromodulation of neuropsychiatric disorders
  • To discuss new results from the recently completed randomized controlled trial of SAINT in treatment-resistant depression 
  • To discuss potential future collaborations

May 2020 

Date: 05/14/20
Mihika Gangolli, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow within CNRM's Military TBI Fellowship Training Program 
Title: "Computational Simulation of Diffusion Changes Underlying Cortical Spreading Depolarization"
Presentation Summary: Cortical spreading depolarizations (CSDs) are transient waves of neuronal depolarization that propogates across the cortex and are the pathophysiological correlate of migraine aura. Currently, these waves can only be detected using electrocorticography (ECoG), which is highly invasive and lacks the spatial resolution needed to monitor the 3D CSD propagation and localize the its source. Imaging approaches have been proposed to noninvasively detect CSDs but results in animal models have not been reproduced in humans. We propose a dynamic diffusion imaging method that is capable of acquiring data sufficient for diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and measuring dynamic diffusion. We applied data acquired from healthy controls using the proposed method to an in house computational simulation of a propagating CSD wave. Simulated changes in transient changes in apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) ranging between 15-35% were visually distinguishable on acquired data. We demonstrate that diffusion data for DTI and dynamic measurements can be acquired on a clinical scanner. Simulated changes in dynamic dMRI indicate that the proposed acquisition allows for the noninvasive monitoring of transient cellular edema during CSD underlying migraine aura in humans.  
Date: 5/26/2020
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Uniformed Services University 
Title: "Lateral Habenula Dysfunction in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury"
Presentation Summary: Dr. Nugent’s lab studies the long-term effects mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) has on the brain’s reward pathways, as related to mood disorders. This is important because some of mTBI’s long-term effects are thought to derive from dysregulation of brain’s reward systems, such as monoaminergic dopamine and serotonin signaling. In collaboration with Drs. Aviva Symes and Milan Rusnak, Dr. Nugent’s lab has demonstrated that mTBI in mice affects an upstream reward-related brain region called the lateral habenula (LHb). The LHb negatively controls monoaminergic dopamine and serotonin signaling and its dysfunction underlies many stress-related disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

During this seminar, Dr. Nugent will present new data that indicates mTBI in mice increases the LHb’s activity and changes the patterns of neuronal firing, which may be related to deficits in glutamatergic synaptic inputs to LHb. Dr. Nugent’s lab is also investigating TBI-related changes to the neuromodulatory stress system (specifically dynorphin-kappa opioid receptor, KOR signaling), which controls LHb activity and has been shown to mediate some of TBI’s long-lasting effects. This work will help efforts to develop more effective therapeutic interventions that reverse the long-term changes to the reward pathways after mTBI.  

April 2020 

Date: 04/23/20
Yumin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., 
Professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Genetics
Uniformed Services University 
Title: "Control of Endocannabinoid Metabolism in Traumatic Brain Injury"
Presentation Summary: Modulation of the endocannabinoid system has emerged as an appealing therapeutic strategy for many inflammatory, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative diseases. Although the increase of endocannabinoids in these pathological conditions are thought to be compensatory and protective, the therapeutic efficacy is limited by the rapid endocannabinoid hydrolysis and the complexity of endocannabinoid metabolism. By targeting various metabolic pathways of endocannabinoids, we found that augmentation of both anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol in the brain can ameliorate multifaceted pathogenic events and promote functional recovery in the mouse model of TBI. 

March 2020  

Date: 03/04/20
Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University 
Title: "Biomechanics of Neurotrauma" 

February 2020

Date: 02/19/20
Professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Genetics
Uniformed Services University 
Title: "Traumatic Brain Injury: Sensorimotor Dysfunction, Stem-progenitor Cell Therapy, and Sex-specific Differences"
Presentation Summary: Dr. Doughty's seminar will discuss his use of a mouse model of sensorimotor TBI to test the effects of stem-progenitor cell therapy on TBI pathology. Dr. Doughty and his team transplanted neural cells derived from human induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), then evaluated transplant effects on behavioral recovery and indicators of chronic injury processes post-injury in mice. They found that human iPSC-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) and neuroblasts survive long-term and integrate into the host brain after injury. Transplanted cells send out long neurites into host white matter tracts, and can reduce indicators of inflammation in some conditions. However, cell transplantation did not promote significant improvement in TBI-induced sensorimotor deficits. Notably, the effects of cell transplantation were dependent on the biological sex of the host animals. Dr. Doughty's study highlights the complex interactions of biological sex, inflammation, and brain recovery in a standard rodent model of TBI.
Date: 02/12/20
Deborah Shear, Ph.D.
Director, Brain Trauma Neuroprotection Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) 
Title: "Synergizing Translational Research Efforts for Traumatic Brain Injury"
Presentation Summary: Dr. Shear's seminar will provide an overview of WRAIR's Brain Trauma Neuroprotection Program, and will highlight its ongoing collaborations with USU. The purpose is to discuss how WRAIR and USU could best synergize their unique preclinical and clinical capabilities to provide solutions that will improve outcomes for Warfighters with TBI.