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External Scientific Advisory Committee

Members of the External Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) are distinguished scientists, noted for their expertise in areas related to stroke recovery. ESAC members provide guidance and counsel to the Partnership. By helping CPSR leaders formulate the organization’s goals and assess its achievements, they provide an invaluable outside perspective.

Rajiv Ratan, MD, PhD

Dr. Rajiv Ratan is Burke Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Executive Director, Burke/Cornell Medical Research Institute.

Dr. Ratan completed M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at New York University as part of the NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program. He trained in Neurology and Neurorehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before moving to Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1996. He has coedited a major textbook on cell death and neurological disease and he is a permanent member of the Molecular, Developmental and Cellular Neuroscience-2 grant review committee at the NIH.

S. Thomas Carmichael, MD, PhD

Dr. S. Thomas (Tom) Carmichael is a neurologist and neuroscientist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  Dr. Carmichael is Professor and Vice Chair for Research and Programs in the Neurology Department, with active laboratory and clinical interests in stroke and neurorehabilitation, and brain repair after injury.  He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1993 and 1994, and completed a Neurology residency at Washington University School of Medicine, serving as Chief Resident in 1997-1998.

Dr. Carmichael was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at UCLA from 1998-2001, studying mechanisms of axonal sprouting, with a clinical emphasis on neurorehabilitation and stroke.  He has been on the UCLA faculty since 2001.  Dr. Carmichael’s laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural repair after stroke and other forms of brain injury.  This research focuses on the processes of axonal sprouting and neural stem cell responses after stroke, and on neural stem cell transplantation.  Dr. Carmichael is an attending physician on the Neurorehabilitation and Stroke clinical services at UCLA.

George F. Wittenberg, MD, PhD

Dr. George F. Wittenberg is Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland. He directs the Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy. Previously, he was Director of the Rehabilitation Program within the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He obtained his doctorate degree in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, in 1991 and completed medical school in 1993 at the same university. Dr. Wittenberg had further clinical and research training at Washington University, St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

His ongoing research interests presently lie in using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional imaging to understand motor cortical reorganization following stroke and in designing and testing new methods for neurorehabilitation. He was the site principal investigator in VA Cooperative Study #558, “Robotic Assisted Upper-Limb Neurorehabilitation in Stroke Patients” and continues to study of the neural plasticity that underlies robotic rehabilitation. He is now developing hybrid methods of combining TMS with robotic and virtual reality training, and multimodal physiological monitoring with feedback control of robotic assistance, to maximize the return of motor function after neurological injury by harnessing activity-dependent brain plasticity.

William Milberg, PhD

Dr. William Milberg is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the Associate Director for Research of the Brockton/West Roxbury Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center.

Dr. Milberg received his PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialty in Neuropsychology from Wayne State University in 1978. He completed an internship in Neuropsychology under the supervision of Edith Kaplan at the Boston VAMC, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School with Brendan Maher. He holds the Diplomate in Clinical Neuropsychology from ABEPP and he is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and the Associate Director for Research of the Brockton/West Roxbury Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center.