Keynote Speakers

Professor Vicki Anderson

Vicki is a paediatric clinical neuropsychologist and child health researcher with over 30 years experience. She is Head of Psychology, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Director, Clinical Sciences Research, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, NHMRC Senior Practitioner Fellow and University of Melbourne Professorial Fellow (Psychology and Paediatrics).  Her research and clinical interests are in disorders of childhood that impact on the brain, including both developmental and acquired disorders. Together with her research team, The Australian Centre for Child Neuropsychology Studies, she has published over 500 papers and 7 books. Her work has focussed on understanding the consequences of early brain insult and translating findings into clinical practice to optimise child outcomes from brain injury. Major recent work includes: i) publication of the second edition of the Test of Everyday Attention for Children ii) development of easily accessed, low burden, e-health approaches to parent-focused psychosocial treatments as a means of maximising child outcomes and improving family function; iii) development of PEERs, a novel, iPad delivered assessment tool for social competence; iv) digital health tools for monitoring child post concussion symptoms (endorsed by the Australian Football league).

Dr. Claudia Angeli

Dr. Claudia Angeli is the Director of the Epidural Stimulation Program and Assistant Professor at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville and senior researcher at Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville. Her research background and interests are focused in understanding mechanisms of control of human locomotion following neurologic injury. She has over ten years of experience utilizing a combination of epidural stimulation and activity based training for the restoration of function following motor complete spinal cord injury. Her publications have generated a pivotal paradigm shift providing evidence for the potential for functional recovery following motor complete spinal cord injuries.

Professor James Bourne

Professor James Bourne is recognised internationally as a world leader in nonhuman primate neurobiology.  His aim since joining the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute in 2009 has been to develop a multidisciplinary team to address the most important outstanding questions in neural repair through a cell-to-system approach.  As a result, his group have been the first to develop specific capacity in the marmoset monkey. He is in a unique position internationally to combine molecular analyses with a full-system assessment of function, through live animal imaging and behavioural experiments in the nonhuman primate. He has published a career total of over 75 papers, with 75% of these being first/ senior author; and in top multidisciplinary journals, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA; Nature Protocols; and, Current Biology.

Professor Jamie Cooper AO

Professor Jamie Cooper is Director of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC) and Head of the Critical Care Division in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, both at Monash University; and Senior Specialist in Intensive Care, Head of ICU Research and Deputy Director of the Department of Intensive Care at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne.

He has more than 300 publications including 18 in the New England Journal of MedicineLancet, and JAMA. He has been a Principal or Co-investigator on peer-reviewed research grants exceeding $64 million, including 29 NHMRC grants.

In 2017, Professor Cooper was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to intensive care medicine in the field of traumatic brain injury as a clinician, and to medical education as an academic, researcher and author.

Professor Alan Faden

Alan Faden received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and neurology training at the University of California at San Francisco. He is the David S. Brown Professor in Trauma and University of Maryland Professor.  He serves as Director of the Shock, Trauma and Anesthesiology Research Center; Scientific Co-Director for the Center for Sports Medicine Health & Human Performance (bi-campus); and Associate Dean for Trans-Campus Research Advancement. Dr. Faden has published 390 refereed research papers, 50 book chapters and proceedings, and 9 books.  His present work examines the pathobiology and treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, mechanisms of cell death, neuroinflammation and central pain. Dr. Faden was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Neurotherapeutics. He was President of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, first President of the National Neurotrauma Society and President of the San Francisco Neurological Society.

Dr. Michael Fehlings

Professor of Neurosurgery
Vice Chair Research, Department of Surgery
Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration Co-Director, Spine Program
McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine
University of Toronto
Head, Spinal Program
Senior Scientist, Krembil Research Institute
Scientist, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine
Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network

Dr. Fehlings is the Vice Chair Research for the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and Head of the Spinal Program at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Dr. Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, holds the Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, is a Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Fehlings was appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program (which he held until June 2012) and is currently Co-Director of the University of Toronto Spine Program. Dr. Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments to improve functional outcomes following spinal cord injury (SCI). He has published over 850 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 88) chiefly in the area of central nervous system injury and complex spinal surgery.

Dr. Andrew Gardner

Dr Gardner is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow and a clinical neuropsychologist with the School of Medicine & Public Health at The University of Newcastle. He is an honorary clinical research fellow with the Hunter New England Local Health District. He is also a Co-Director of the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNE LHD)’s Sport Concussion Clinic, an Executive Committee Member of the Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury, and serves the concussion consultant to Rugby Australia. Dr Gardner is continuing to develop his research program by focusing on the investigation of concussion across the full spectrum, from the acute, sub-acute stages through to the potential chronic problems associated with sports concussion in active and retired athletes of all levels of competition.

Dr. Christopher Giza

Dr. Giza received his M.D. from West Virginia University and completed Adult and Pediatric Neurology training at UCLA. He then worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team before joining the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center in 1998. He served on the California State Athletic Commission from 2005-2015, and travelled to Afghanistan in 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Department of Defense. He directs the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program & the Operation Mend mild TBI program. Dr. Giza co-authored concussion/mild TBI guidelines for the AAN, CDC (for youth) and the Concussion in Sport Group (Berlin Guidelines). He has consulted with the NFL, NHLPA, NBA, Major League Soccer, NCAA and US Soccer.   His research focuses on development, neuroplasticity, exercise/sports, concussion and more severe traumatic brain injury.  He is a Professor of Pediatric Neurology & Neurosurgery at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.  

Professor Steve Lacroix

Steve Lacroix is Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Université Laval and Director of the Neurosciences Axis at the CHU de Québec Research Center (Canada). He received his Ph.D. from Université Laval in 1998. He was trained as a postdoc at the University of California, San Diego, in the field of spinal cord regeneration (1998-2001). From 2001 to 2003, he completed a second postdoc in neuroimmunology at McGill University, Montréal. Dr. Lacroix teaches and conducts research in the fields of neuroimmunology and regenerative medicine. His recent research has focused on the identification of the endogenous signals initiating neuroinflammation and the role of immune cells in neural damage and repair in the context of spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury and multiple sclerosis. With over 20 years of research in neuroimmune diseases, he has published more than 50 papers with over 5000 citations, many of which are published in the leading journals of neurosciences and immunology.

Jennie Ponsford

Jennie Ponsford, AO, BA (Hons), MA (Clin Neuropsych), PhD, FCCN, MAPS, is Professor of Neuropsychology and Director of Clinical Programs in the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University and Director of the Monash-Epworth Rehabilitation Research Centre at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent 38 years engaged in clinical work and research with adults and children with brain injury. Her research has investigated outcomes following mild, moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and factors predicting outcome. She has also evaluated the efficacy of numerous rehabilitative interventions to improve outcome. She has published over 320 journal articles and book chapters, and two books on rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury. Professor Ponsford is Past-President of the International Neuropsychological Society, Past-President of the International Association for the Study of Traumatic Brain Injury and the Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment (ASSBI), and serves on the Executive of the International Brain Injury Association and ASSBI. In 2013 she was awarded the Robert L. Moody prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury and Rehabilitation, in 2015 the INS Paul Satz Career Mentoring Award and in June 2017 she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medical research in the field of neuropsychology and through seminal advances in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injuries.

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