New Jersey Health Foundation Funds
Eye-tracking can provide much information that’s useful to our researchers. Where we look and how long we look provides insight into how we are engaging in a task. Shifting our gaze can signal a yes or no response, and how our pupils react indicates whether we feel attraction or aversion.
With a $60,000 gift from the New Jersey Health Foundation, directed by trustee Dean Janeway, the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation acquired an eye-tracking system that measures and records eye activity while participants perform cognitive tasks. This system can be used inside or outside the scanner, according to Dr. Glenn Wylie, the Center’s associate director. “This system is flexible and unobtrusive, so we can easily collect eye-tracking data during our testing on participants with spatial neglect, memory deficits, emotional processing deficits, and other cognitive problems. We’re also interested in integrating this capability in our studies of the underlying mechanisms of motivation and fatigue.”
Foundation scientists are enthusiastic about adding a dimension to their cognitive research. “We’re beginning to see that collecting eye-tracking data can lead us in interesting and unanticipated directions,” Dr. Wylie noted. “We definitely foresee the potential for new lines of investigation.”
Giving That Changes Lives
In 2016, gifts of nearly $1.1 million supported rehabilitation research and grant making at Kessler Foundation. In this report, we highlight different ways that giving has an impact on the lives of people with disabilities.
Hearst Fellowship Jump-starts Scientist’s Career
Research fellowships help launch the careers of the next generation of rehabilitation researchers, ensuring that we continue to develop ways to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Here, we highlight our first fellowship funded by the Hearst Foundations. In 2014, this two-year $150,000 fellowship was awarded to Silvana Lopes Costa, PhD, a promising young scientist dedicated to finding better treatments for the cognitive effects of multiple sclerosis (MS). As the first Hearst Fellow, Dr. Costa has exceeded the benchmarks for disseminating her findings, and most notably, has successfully competed for major additional research funding.
The impact of this focused fellowship program is clear – this former Hearst Fellow, poised to be a leader in the field, is already contributing to the field of MS research. In this podcast, Dr. Costa describes her approach to exploring cognitive difficulties in MS, which incorporates the neuroimaging capabilities of the Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center.
Stroll 'N Roll Reaches New Heights
In September, our 15th Annual Kessler Foundation Stroll ‘N Roll attracted the largest number of people ever. More than 550 people of all ages and abilities gathered in Verona Park for this major community event, which raised more than $135,000 to further our research and employment funding.
Join Steve Adubato as he continues the conversation on-location at Kessler Foundation's 13th Annual Stroll 'N Roll, where he speaks with individuals whose lives have been improved through Kessler Foundation, groups who support individuals with disabilities, and Kessler Foundation staff about their incredible work.
VIDEO: Kessler Foundation Stroll 'N Roll, Pt. 1, Steve Adubato, One on One
VIDEO: Kessler Foundation Stroll 'N Roll, Pt. 2, Steve Adubato, One on One
SLIDESHOW: 2016 STROLL N' ROLL
Every successful research study begins with a good idea that needs to be cultivated. Two of our donors chose novel approaches to jump-starting new avenues of research in 2016. One provides state-of-the-art technology that adds a new dimension to our neuroimaging research. Another focuses on an experimental treatment for shoulder injuries in wheelchair users with spinal cord injury.
Chief Development Officer
Engaging the Community in our Mission
In June, more than 100 donors and business and community leaders learned about our unique capabilities for addressing obstacles to recovery after stroke. This evening program, Life after Stroke, featured several participants in our research studies, our director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research A.M. Barrett, MD, and research scientists Karen Nolan, PhD, and Mooyeon Oh-Park, MD. Interviews conducted by broadcast journalist Steve Adubato were aired on public television stations in the tristate area, showing viewers how we apply expertise in cognitive neuroscience and robotics to improve life after stroke.
VIDEO: Steve Adubato goes on-location at Kessler Foundation to speak with Chairman Glenn Reiter and Karen Nolan, Senior Research Scientist in Human Performance and Engineering Research.
VIDEO: Steve Adubato talks with Rodger DeRose, President & CEO, about the innovative research being done at the Foundation, and Audrey, a stroke survivor and a beneficiary of our research.
Derfner Foundation Funds Innovative Study
in Wheelchair Users
Using a manual wheelchair stresses the upper limbs, often resulting in “wheelchair users’ shoulder”, a disabling complication that is difficult to treat. With a $54,000 gift from the Derfner Foundation, researchers are bringing a new treatment called Lipogems to wheelchair users with spinal cord injury.
The Lipogems procedure involves extracting stem cells from the person’s fat cells, then injecting them into their shoulder joint, according to study investigators Drs. Gerard Malanga and Trevor Dyson-Hudson. “It’s important to look for alternative treatments,” noted Dr. Dyson-Hudson, “because wheelchair users have a high risk for poor outcomes after surgery, especially if they continue to stress the joint. Also, injections of stem cells may encourage regeneration of damaged tissues in the shoulder." If Lipogems provides an alternative to surgery for wheelchair users’ shoulder, this small pilot study could have a big impact on the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and shoulder injuries.
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