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Dr. Flavia Vitale received Penn’s McCabe Fund Fellow Award and she was awarded a R21 grant from the National Institutes of Health

Flavia Vitale headshotFlavia Vitale, PhD, is a 2018 recipient of the McCabe Fund Fellow Award, receiving a $40,000 grant that supports junior faculty at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine to initiate novel and innovative biomedical and surgical research. Dr. Vitale’s project, “A Novel, Multimodal Nanotechnology for Simultaneous Electrical, Optical and Neurometabolic Mapping Brain Circuit Dynamics at Single-cell Resolution”, aims to develop multimodal microsensors that have real-time electrophysiological, bioimaging and biosensing capabilities. These microsensors, then, will be used as a tool to study in vivo, in real-time, and at single-cell resolution, the interplay between chemical and electrical signaling in neurons affected in neurological disorders such as Parkinson disease, post-traumatic epilepsy, and chronic neuropathic pain syndromes. These single-cell observations will then lead to development, testing and production of novel and targeted treatment approaches. She will be operationalizing her project at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology based in Penn’s School of Applied Science and Engineering, as well as within her laboratory at the Center for Neurotrauma, Neurodegeneration and Restoration based at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. The McCabe Award was established in 1969 as a gift from Thomas B. And Jeanette E. Laws McCabe to Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Neurons and synapses

Neurons grown on MXene, a novel nanomaterial pioneered by Dr. Vitale for use in bioelectronic medicine.

In collaboration with Dr. Hajime Takano at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Vitale was awarded a R21 pilot grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke entitled “Dynamic Contribution of Identified Neurons to High Frequency Oscillations.” This project will investigate the cellular mechanisms of seizure generation in animal models using high resolution neuroimaging and electroencephalography with transparent graphene electrodes. The ultimate outcome of this project is the establishment of early biomarkers of seizures in those who have refractory epilepsy and traumatic brain injuries. This research program also is based at the Singh Center for Nanotechology at Penn, and at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Having joined the Penn faculty in 2017, Dr. Vitale is an Assistant Professor on the tenure track in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and in the Department of Neurology, at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. She participated in baccalaureate and masters level training in biomedical engineering at the Universtà Campus Bio-Medico di Roma in Rome, Italy. Her doctoral training in chemical engineering occurred at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” in Rome. She participated in a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Robert A. Welch Research Foundation in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Rice University in Houston, TX. She continued her post-doctoral training within Penn Neurology’s Center for Neuroengineering and Therapeutics in the Litt Lab which is directed by Brian Litt, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Bioengineering. Dr. Vitale’s expertise entails nanofabrication and development of novel bioelectronic devices for recording and neuromodulation of brain activity.

Vitale EMG electrodes

A novel, flexible, high-density electromyography electrode developed by Dr. Flavia Vitale and her team for precise motor point localization, in collaboration with Dr. Timothy Dillingham and Dr. Greg Robbins.

Having joined the Penn faculty in 2017, Dr. Vitale is an Assistant Professor on the tenure track in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and in the Department of Neurology, at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. She participated in baccalaureate and masters level training in biomedical engineering at the Universtà Campus Bio-Medico di Roma in Rome, Italy. Her doctoral training in chemical engineering occurred at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” in Rome. She participated in a post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Robert A. Welch Research Foundation in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Rice University in Houston, TX. She continued her post-doctoral training within Penn Neurology’s Center for Neuroengineering and Therapeutics in the Litt Lab which is directed by Brian Litt, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Bioengineering. Dr. Vitale’s expertise entails nanofabrication and development of novel bioelectronic devices for recording and neuromodulation of brain activity.

Other current pilot funding sources as a principle investigator include the Penn Heath Tech Center’s innovation grant for a project entitled, “A Multipoint Injection Technology for Intraparenchymal Therapeutic Gene Transfer,” and the CURE Taking Flight Award for a project entitled, “A Tunable Controllable Microarray for Mapping Epileptic Brain Networks.”. As a co-investigator, she has pilot funding from Penn’s Department of Otolaryngology for a project entitled, “Pilot Grant Program on Development of Flexible Electrodes for Cochlear Implants.”

Kristine Lima Joins Penn PM&R as the New Clinical Research Coordinator

Kristine Lima brings with her three years of experience as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She previously was employed within Penn’s internationally renown Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology. Kristine is well grounded in the infrastructural processes essential to perform successful multi-specialty research investigation that is dependent on both governmental and industrial funding sources. She has a baccalaureate level degree from Temple University in Philadelphia in Biology.

Recent Penn PM&R Faculty and Resident Physician Publications

Bink, H., Sedigh-Sarvestani, M., Fernandez-Lamo, I., Kini, L., Ung, H., Kizum, D., Vitale, F., Litt, B., Contreras, D. Spatiotemporal evolution of focal epileptiform activity from surface and laminar field recordings in cat neocortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 2018; 119:2068-2081.

Chandra, A., Lin, T., Wang, L., Young, T., Zhong, L., Tseng, W-J., Levine, M.A., Cengel, K., Liu, X.S., Zhang, Y., Pignolo, R.J., Qin, L. Proteasome inhibitor bortezomib is a novel therapeutic agent for focal radiation-induced osteoporosis. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2018; 32:52-62.

Bui, K., Johnson, M.J. Designing robot-assisted neurorehabilitation strategies for people with both human immune virus and stroke. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, Published 14 August 2018. https://doi.org/10/1186/s12984-018-0418-3.

Driscoll, N., Richardson, A.G., Maleski, K., Anasori, B., Adewole, O., Lelyukh, P., Escobedo, L., Cullen, D.C., Lucas, T.H., Gogotsi, Y., Vitale, F. Two-dimensional Ti3C2 MXene for high-resolution neural interfaces. ACS Nano 2018; 12:10419-10429.

L. E. Pezzin, E. R. Larson, W. Lorber, E. L. McGinley, and Timothy R. Dillingham. Music-instruction intervention for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomized pilot study BMC Psychology (2018) 6:60; pp 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-018-0274-8. Clinical trial number PRO00019269.

Prosser LA, Pierce SR, Dillingham TR, Bernbaum JC, Jawad AF. iMOVE: Intensive Mobility training with Variability and Error compared to conventional rehabilitation for young children with cerebral palsy: the protocol for a single blind randomized controlled trial. BMC Pediatr, 2018 Oct 16;18(1):329. doi: 10.1186/s12887-018-1303-8. PMID: 30326883.

Timothy Dillingham, MD, MS, Jessica Kenia, MS, Frances Shofer, PhD, Jim Marschalek, MS. A Prospective Assessment of an Adjustable, Immediate Fit, Transtibial Prosthesis. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Journal. In Press 2019: doi: 10.1002/pmrj.12133

Greenwald, B.D., Hampton, S., Jasey, N., Glazer, D. Neurological complications after traumatic brain injury. In: Eapen, B.C., Cifu, D.X., (editors), Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury, Elsevier, 2018:37-48. Notes: ISBN:978-0-323-54456-6.

Hagan, K.L. Hullfish, T., Casey, E., Baxter, J.R. Tendon structure quantified using ultrasound imaging differs based on location and training type. Journal of Applied Physiology 01 Dec 2018. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00723.2018. http://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00723.2018

Hullfish, T.J., Hagen, K.L., Casey, E., Baxter, J.R. Achilles tendon structure differs between competitive distance runners and nonrunners despite no clinical signs or symptoms of midsubstance tendinopathy. Journal of Applied Physiology 2018; 125:453-458.

Liu, Z., Yuan, X., Liu, M., Fernandes, G., Zhang, Y., Yang, S., Ionita, C.N., Yang, S. Antimicrobial peptide combined with BMP2-modified mesenchymal stem cells promotes calvarial repair in an osteolytic model. Molecular Therapy 2018; 26:199-207.

Pan, J., Vasudevan, J.M. Prirformis syndrome: a review of the evidence and proposed new criteria for diagnosis. In: Freedman, M., Gehret, J., Young, G., Kamen, L., (editors), Challenging Neuropathic Pain Syndromes: Evaluation and Evidence-based Treatment, Elsevier, 2018.

Piazza, M., Peck, S.H., Gullbrand, S.E., Bendigo, J.R., Arginteanu, T., Zhang, Y., Smith, H.E., Malhotra, N.R., Smith, L.J. Quantitative MRI correlates with histological grade in a percutaneous needle injury mouse model of disc degeneration. Journal of Orthopedic Research 2018; 36:2771-2779.

Popescu, A., Patel, J., McCormick, Z.L., Maus, T.P., Rodes, M., Walega, D.R., Smith, C.C. Patient safety committee for the spine intervention society. Fact finders for patient safety: are gadolinium-based contrast media safe alternatives to iodinated contrast agents for the safe performance of spinal injection procedures? Pain Medicine 2018; 119:2089-2090.

Smith, S.R., Zheng, J.Y., Silver, J., Haig, A.J., Cheville, A. Cancer rehabilitation as an essential component of quality care and survivorship from an international perspective. Disability and Rehabilitation 2018; 21:1-6.

Smith, R.O., Scherer, M., Cooper, R., Bell, D., Hobbs, D.A., Pettersson, C., Seymour, N., Borg, J., Johnson, M.J., Lane, J.P., Srinvasan, S.S., Rao, P.V.M., Obiedat, Q.M., MacLachlan, M., Bauer, S. Assistive technology products: as position paper from the first global research, innovation and education on assistive technology summit. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology 2018; 13:1-13.

Shen, W., Das, S., Vitale, F., Richardson, A.G., Ananthakrishnan, A., Struzyna, L.A., Brown, D.P., Song, N., Ramkumar, M., Lucas, T.H., Cullen, D.K., Litt, B., Allen, M.G. Microfabricated implantable extracellular matrix microelectrodes to improved biocompatibility for intra cortical neural interface applications. Microsystems and Nanoengineering, Publication Date: 2018-09-24. DOI:10/1038/s41378-018-0030-5.

Tian, Z., Ma, X., Yasen, M., Mauck, R., Qin, L., Shofer, F.S., Smith, L.J., Pacifici, M., Enomoto-Iwamoto, M., Zhang, Y. Intervertebral disc degeneration in a percutaneous mouse tail injury model. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2018; 97:170-177.

Vitale, F., Litt, B. Bioeletronics: the promise of leveraging the body’s circuitry to treat disease. Bioelectronics in Medicine 2018; 1:3-7.

Vitale, F., Vercosa, G.G., Pamulapati, S.S., Seibt, F., Yan, J.S., Kemere, C., Beierlein, M., Pasquali, M., Robinson, J.T. Fluidic microactuation of flexible electrodes for neural recording. Nano Letters 2018; 18:326-335.

Zhang, Y., Tian, Z., Ashley, J.W., Wang, L., Tower, R.J., Wei, Y., Qin, L., Yang, S., Enomoto-Iwamoto, M. Extracellular matrix and adhesion molecule gene expression in the normal and injured murine intervertebral disc. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2019; 98:35-42.

Recent Penn PM&R Faculty and Resident Physician Presentations

Brent, Y., Tian, Z., Martin, J.F., Shofer, F.S., Archete, C., Chen, Y., Enonmoto-Iwamoto, M., Zhang, Y. Genetic background and gender influence on gene expression in the mouse tail intervertebral disc model injury. Philadelphia Spine Research Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, November 2018 (Poster).

Driscoll, N., Takano, R., Vishnubhotla, R., Johnson,A.T.C, Coulter, D., Litt, B., Vitale, F. Transparent graphene electrodes for high resolution in vivo optical and electrophysiological mapping of epileptic networks. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2018 (Oral presentation).

Driscoll, N., Richardson, A.G., Maleski, K., Anasori, B., Adewole, O., Lelyukh, P., Escobedo, L., Cullen, D.C., Lucas, T.H., Gogotsi, Y., Vitale, F. Ti3C2 MXene neural electrodes for sensitive detection of neuronal spiking activity. Materials Research Society Meeting, Boston, MA, December 2018 (Oral presentation).

Hagan, K.L., Casey, E. Female runner with groin pain. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, April 2018 (Poster).

Hagan, K.L., Examination effects of activity measure for post-acute care (AMPAC) score on inpatient rehabilitation facility discharge outcomes. American Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Assembly, Late Breaking Research Session and PHiT Fire Session, Orlando, FL, October 25 and 26, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Hagan, K.L., Charles, J. Examination of effects of activity measure for post-acute care (AMPAC) on inpatient facility discharge outcomes. Association of Academic Physiatrists, Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 21, 2019 (Poster).

Hagan, K.L., Charles, J. Accelerated neurorecovery of memantine and carbidopa/levodopa after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Association of Academic Physiatrists, Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 21, 2019 (Poster).

Hagan, K.L., Hullfish, T., Casey, E., Baxter, J.R. Tendon structure quantified using ultrasound imaging differs based on location and training type. Association of Academic Physiatrists, Annual Meeting, February 22, 2019 (Poster).

Hampton, S. Medical evaluations of unexplained exposures. Association of Academic Physiatrists, Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, February 2018 (Oral presentation).

Hullfish, T., Hagan, K.L., Casey, E., Baxter, J. Competitive collegiate distance runners have structurally different tendons than recreationally active young adults. Orthopedic Research Society, Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2018 (Poster).

Hulme, A., Robbins, G., Singh, S. Epidural hematoma resulting in complete paraplegia after spinal cord stimulator placement. Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, February 16, 2018 (Poster).

Johnson, M.J. Defining social robot roles in rehabilitation based on observed patient-therapist interactions in stroke therapy. Social Robots in Therapy: Focusing on Autonomy and Ethical Challenges Workshop, Human-Robot Interaction Conference, Chicago, IL, March 4-6, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.J. Human-human interactions during task-oriented stroke therapy can inform social robot roles and actions. Bone and Joint Seminar Series, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, April 14-18, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.J. Affordable robot-assisted stroke rehabilitation for community-based settings. Penn Alumni Club of Houston, Houston, TX, July 9,2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.J. Professionals who are revolutionizing physical therapy. AlterG Conferences and Webinars, September 13, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.J. Affordable therapy and service robots for health and function monitoring. Prognostic Health Management Annual Conference, September 25, 2018, Philadelphia, PA (Panelist).

Johnson, M.J. How much autonomy is acceptable? Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers TechEthics Virtual Panel, October 2018 (Panelist).

Johnson, M.J. Thinking outside the box: robot-assisted stroke rehabilitation for developed and developing countries. Woman Shaping a Better Tomorrow: Driving Innovation, University of Pennsylvania Alumnae Colloquium, Pennovation Center, Philadelphia, PA, October 14, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.L. Robot-assisted stroke rehabilitation for developed and developing countries, University of Technology, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, October 23, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.L. Why adaptability, affordability, and autonomy are important considerations for rehabilitation robots and assistive technology for the 21sr century older adults? United Nations International Expert Conference on Human Rights of Older Persons, Vienna Austria, November 11-12, 2018 (Panelist).

Johnson, M.L. User-driven design of a rehabilitation and service robots for low-resource and community-based settings. Forum 2018 Healthcare Robotics, Contextual Robotics Institute, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, November 8, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Johnson, M.L. Gaining insight into impairment and function using rehabilitation and service robots for high-resource and low-resource settings. James Brister Society, Fall Meeting, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, November 9, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Piazza, M., Peck, S.H., Gullbrand, S.E., Bendigo, J.R., Arginteanu, T, Zhang, Y., Smith, H.E., Malhotra, N.R., Smith, L.J. Quantitative MRI correlates with histological grade in a percutaneous needle injury mouse model of disc degeneration. Orthopedic Research Society, Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2018 (Poster).

Popescu, A. Spine imaging interpretation for the PM&R specialist. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Assembly, Orlando, FL, October 2018 (Oral presentation).

Swanson, R. Neurological manifestations following exposure to directional phenomena: preliminary findings. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Polytrauma Grand Rounds, May 2018 (Oral presentation).

Tessier, J.M., Whipple, E., Robinson, K., Schultheis, M.T. Sleep and executive functioning in post 9/11 combat veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder. International Neuropsychological Society, Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., February 2018 (Poster).

Tingan, A. Neck pain, shoulder pain: which is it? Philadelphia Orthopaedic Sports Rehabilitation Foundation Upper Extremity Update, Philadelphia, PA, November 2018 (Oral presentation).

Tower, R.J., Tian, Z., Cosgrove, B., Mauck, R.L., Qin, L., Enomoto-Iwamoto, M., Zhang, Y. Cells have epithelial cell-like cytoskeleton and highly express N-cadherin. Orthopedic Research Society, Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2018 (Poster).

Tower, R.J., Tian, Z., Cosgrove, B., Wei, Y., Mauck, R.L., Qin, L., Enomoto-Iwamoto, M., Zhang, Y. Nucleus propulsus cells have epithelial cell-like cytoskeleton and highly express N-cadherin. Philadelphia Research Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, November 2018 (Poster).

Vitale, F. Carbon nanostructures in medicine and biology symposium. Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, Seattle, WA, May 13-17, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Vitale, F. Carbon-MEMS 2018 Workshop, San Diego, CA, June 11-12, 2018 (Oral presentation).

Wang, F., Chandra, A., Tower, R.J., Ahn, J., Zhang, Y., Qin, L. Prior focal radiation causes atrophic nonunion fracture in mice. Orthopedic Research Society, Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2018 (Poster).

Wei, Y., Tower, R.J., Tian, Z., Mohanraj, B., Mauck, R.I., Qin, L., Zhang, Y. Temporal-spatial distribution of type II collagen gene expression in the mouse intervertebral disc. Philadelphia Spine Research Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, November 2018 (Poster).

Zhang, Y. Intervertebral disc degeneration and regeneration. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, January 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y. The nonsurgical treatment of back pain. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, March 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 8 (ADAM 8) in intervertebral disc degeneration. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, March 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y. The conservative treatment of back pain. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, April 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y. Role of ADAM 8 in intervertebral disc degeneration. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, April 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y. Pathophysiological role of ADAM 8 in intervertebral disc degeneration. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA June 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y., Tian, Z., Sun, H., Zhang, H., Chen, Y.H. Reduced inflammation in injured tail intervertebral disc of TIPE and TIPE2-deficient mice. Immunochemistry and Immunobiology Gordon Research Conference, West Dover, VT, June 2018 (Poster).

Zhang, Y. Overexpression of human interleukin-8 in mouse intervertebral disc tissue to model patients with back pain. Philadelphia Spine Society, Philadelphia, PA November 2018 (Oral presentation).

Zhang, Y., Tian, Z., Sun, H., Zhang, H., Chen, Y.H. Reduced inflammation in injured tail intervertebral disc of TIPE and TIPE2-deficient mice. Philadelphia Spine Research Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, November 2018 (Poster).

ForwardMotion is written and edited by Keith M. Robinson, MD

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