The External Advisory Board (EAB) reviews AR3T’s educational and scientific initiatives, ensures that AR3T is addressing the most current rehabilitative and regenerative topics, and makes strategic recommendations for the expansion of Center programs.

COL Teresa L. Brininger, PhD, OTR/L, CHT

COL Teresa Brininger

COL Teresa Brininger is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist who has served in a variety of military assignments working with and rehabilitating injured Service Members. After earning her Doctoral Degree in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh she was assigned to the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine where she conducted research in musculoskeletal injuries and traumatic brain injury with a focus on returning Service Members to duty. She was then assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command where she managed the rehabilitation research portfolio. COL Brininger has served on a variety of multiple interagency strategic planning committees and government oversight committees for rehabilitation, regenerative medicine and traumatic brain injury research initiatives. Currently she serves as the Director of the Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, where she is responsible for overseeing the planning, budgeting and execution of Army, Defense Health Program and Congressional Special Interest funds directed toward investigating strategies to repair catastrophic wounds, improve pain management, maximizing return to duty rates and improving overall quality of life for Service Members who have sustained traumatic injuries.

Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.

Donald E. Ingber

Dr. Ingber is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his B.A., M.A., M.Phil., M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Ingber is a pioneer in the field of biologically inspired engineering. At the Wyss Institute, he currently leads a multifaceted effort to develop breakthrough bioinspired technologies to advance healthcare and to improve sustainability. His work has led to major advances in mechanobiology, tumor angiogenesis, tissue engineering, systems biology, nanobiotechnology and translational medicine. Through his work, Ingber also has helped to break down boundaries between science, art and design. Ingber has authored more than 400 publications and 130 patents, founded 4 companies, and been a guest speaker at more than 480 events internationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named one of the Top 20 Translational Researchers world-wide in 2012 (Nature Biotechnology), a Leading Global Thinker of 2015 (Foreign Policy magazine), and has received numerous other honors in a broad range of disciplines, including the Robert A. Pritzker Award and the Shu Chien Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Rous Whipple Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of In Vitro Biology, the Leading Edge Award from the Society of Toxicology, and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Innovator Award.

Some of Ingber’s most recently developed technologies include an anticoagulant surface coating for medical devices that replaces the need for dangerous blood-thinning drugs; a dialysis-like sepsis therapeutic device that clears blood of pathogens and inflammatory toxins; a shear stress-activated nanotherapeutic that targets clot-busting drugs to sites of vascular occlusion; and Human Organs-on-Chips created with microchip manufacturing methods and lined by living human cells, which are being used to replace animal testing as a more accurate and affordable in vitro platform for drug development and personalized medicine. In 2015, Ingber’s Organs-on-Chips technology was named Design of the Year by the London Design Museum and was also acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City for its permanent design collection.

Naomi Kleitman, PhD

Naomi Kleitman

Dr. Kleitman serves as the Senior Vice President of Grants and Research at the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, overseeing the Foundation’s research portfolios, as well as providing strategic guidance on all grant programs for the organization. She is based in Maryland, near Washington, DC.

From 2001-2012, Naomi served as a Program Director at the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, administering a portfolio of grants and contracts in spinal cord injury (SCI) research aimed at developing successful strategies for nervous system repair and restoration of function. She also focused on translation of fundamental research on spinal cord and peripheral neural repair into clinical studies that apply these basic principles, and the development of rigorous standards for preclinical and translational SCI research. Naomi has participated on numerous NIH and interagency groups, as a Federal Liaison to SCI research programs at the Departments of Defense, Veterans Administration and several non-federal agencies, and was co-lead for the NIH/NINDS-FDA/CBER working group.

Naomi was a faculty member of the University of Miami School of Medicine in The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis from 1989-2001, studying mechanisms of axonal regeneration in tissue culture and the development of populations of adult rodent and human Schwann cells for transplantation in peripheral and central nervous system injury sites. She also served as the Scientific Liaison for The Miami Project, encouraging interaction between clinicians, rehabilitation and basic researchers, as well as informing the public, patient groups, and the media about progress in SCI research.

Naomi received a PhD in neural and behavioral biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and did postdoctoral work at Washington University, St. Louis.

Audrey Kusiak, PhD

Audrey Kusiak

Dr. Kusiak is a Scientific Program Manager in the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development (VA ORD), where her portfolio includes research on spinal cord injury, pain, regenerative medicine and translational neural repair. Dr. Kusiak received her PhD in Neuroscience from the College of Medicine at the University of Florida in 1992 and completed postdoctoral work in the Department of Neuromorphology at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry at Martinsried, Germany. She became an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Baltimore, Maryland, and then a Research Scientist at the NIA. Prior to her current position, Dr. Kusiak was a Program Analyst in the Repair and Plasticity Cluster at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She represents VA ORD on the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience (IWGN), the Institute of Medicine’s Regenerative Medicine Forum, the Department of Defense’s Spinal Cord Injury Program (SCIRP), the Department of Defense’s JPC-8/CRMRP Pain Management IPR and the DoD/VA Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma (CENC) Government Steering Committee.

Richard K. Shields, PT, PHD, FAPTA

Richard K. Shields

Dr. Shields received a bachelor’s degree in biology, a post baccalaureate degree in physical therapy (Mayo Clinic), a master’s in exercise physiology, and a PhD with emphasis in movement control (University of Iowa). Dr. Shields managed the acute spinal cord injury program at the University of Iowa for several years. He developed lines of research related to how various doses of stress impact tissue health in people with central nervous system injury. His work strives to improve the health quality of individuals who suffer from reduced activity from paralysis, obesity, injury, or age. His research has been funded for the last 20 years by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and several private foundations. Dr. Shields has published over 100 scientific papers and has delivered over 200 scientific presentations. He was the recipient of the Iowa Neurology Clinical Research Award, the APTA Neurology Section Research Excellence Award, the University of Iowa Outstanding Mentor and Teaching Award, the Mayo Clinic Outstanding Alumnus Award, the APTA Williams Research Award, the research section’s Maley Research Award, and named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow from the APTA. He is the current chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences within the Carver College of Medicine, at the University of Iowa.