The Pediatric Neurotrauma Lab, directed by Andrew Reisner, MD, is a multi-institutional collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University. Our mission is to establish a basic science research program focused on pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). We work to improve the health and quality of life of children living with acute neurological injuries, specifically TBI.
Through our large volume of pediatric neurotrauma patients, we use translational research to improve patient care. We collaborate with local and national researchers of all disciplines to advance the understanding and treatment of TBI.
The Pediatric Neurotrauma Lab’s mission is to facilitate research that can improve the treatment and outcomes of traumatic brain injuries in children.
Areas of Study include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Biomarkers from acquired Brain Injury
- Firearm Injuries
- Health Disparities & Social Determinants of Health
Click Below to Read More:
Meena Verma, MD
Meena is a pediatrician and clinical researcher with 20+ years of clinical experience with subject matter expertise in design-execution of clinical research studies. A public health professional and passionate servant leader who led an acclaimed 501(c)(3) non-profit. As an Executive Director and Chief Mentor, she led extensive domestic and global public health work. Meena is currently the Neurosciences Research Team Lead at the Scottish Rite Campus. She oversees studies under several Neurology disciplines, such as Neuroimmunology, Neurosurgery, Craniofacial, and Urology.
Makda Mulugeta, BS
Makda Mulugeta is a Research Coordinator at the Pediatric Neurotrauma Lab and recent graduate of Emory University. She works on TBI studies and recently presented at the 2023 Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, where she won Top 3 Disparities in Health Poster Award. She is passionate about improving global health, mitigating health disparities, and the intersection of medicine and anthropology. In her spare time, she volunteers with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Injury Prevention Program to prevent traumatic injuries in our local communities.
Gabrielle Bailey, MPH
Gabrielle Bailey serves as a Research Assistant for the Pediatric Neurotrauma Lab. She holds her bachelor’s degree in Human Health from Emory University with an emphasis on public health research development and both the biological and sociological aspects of health practice. Gabrielle currently works on TBI studies and recently graduated with her MPH from Emory.
Kevin Wang, PhD, Director of the Center for Neurotrauma, MultiOmics & Biomarkers (CNMB), Professor & Vice-Chair of Neurobiology and Faculty of the Neuroscience Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Firas H. Kobaissy, PhD, Associate Director of the Center for Neurotrauma, MultiOmics & Biomarkers (CNMB), Professor of Neurobiology and Faculty of the Neuroscience Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Ali Alawieh, MD, PhD, PGY-5 at the Department of Neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine.
Current PNL Students
Alvin Onyewuenyi, MPH
Eva de Valle Martinez
PNL Lab's Most Recent Publications:
Email us for PNL's full CV! PediatricNeurotraumaLab@choa.org
Click below to read some of our most recent abstracts and papers:
- Blackwell, L.S, Wali, B., Xiang, Y., Alawieh, A., Sayeed, I., Reisner, A. (2023) Prognostic value of plasma biomarkers S100B and osteopontin in pediatric TBI: A prospective analysis evaluating acute and 6-month outcomes after mild to severe TBI. Biomedicines, 11(8): 2167.
- Reisner, A., Blackwell, L. S., Sayeed, I., Myers, H. E., Wali, B., Heilman, S., ... & Rostad, C. A. (2022). Osteopontin as a biomarker for COVID-19 severity and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children: A pilot study. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 247(2), 145-151.
- Gao, N., Zhang-Brotzge, X., Wali, B., Sayeed, I., Chern, J. J., Blackwell, L. S., ... & Reisner, A. (2020). Plasma osteopontin may predict neuroinflammation and the severity of pediatric traumatic brain injury. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 40(1), 35-43.
- Blackwell, L.S., Martinez, M., Fournier-Goodnight, A., Figueroa, J., Appert, A., Vats, A., Wali, B., Sayeed, I., & Reisner, A. (2020). Patterns of osteopontin expression in abusive head trauma compared with other causes of pediatric traumatic brain injury. Journal of Pediatrics, 227: 170-175.
- Reisner, A., Ralston, A. K., Vats, A., Sawvel, M. S., & Blackwell, L. S. (2019). Commentary: guidelines for the management of pediatric severe traumatic brain injury: update of the brain trauma foundation guidelines, executive summary. Neurosurgery, 85(2), E384-E385.
- Murdaugh, D. L., King, T. Z., Sun, B., Jones, R. A., Ono, K. E., Reisner, A., & Burns, T. G. (2018). Longitudinal changes in resting state connectivity and white matter integrity in adolescents with sports-related Concussion–Erratum. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 24(8), 890-890.
- Reisner, A., Chern, J. J., Walson, K., Tillman, N., Petrillo-Albarano, T., Sribnick, E. A., ... & Vats, A. (2018). Introduction of severe traumatic brain injury care protocol is associated with reduction in mortality for pediatric patients: a case study of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s neurotrauma program. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, 22(2), 165-172.
- Watson, W. D., Suskauer, S. J., Askin, G., Nowak, S., Baum, K. T., Gerber, L. M., ... & Shah, S. A. (2021). Cognitive recovery during inpatient rehabilitation following pediatric traumatic brain injury: a pediatric brain injury consortium study. Journal of head trauma rehabilitation, 36(4), 253-263.
- Ilardi, D., Alexander, N., Xiang, Y., Figueroa, J., & Blackwell, L. (2022). Social-environmental factors as mediators of IQ and achievement differences across race groups in adolescents with high risk congenital heart disease. Child Neuropsychology, 1-18.
- Kashyap, N., Morris, M., Loerinc, L. B., Benoit, M., Blackwell, L., Howarth, R., & Gombolay, G. (2022). The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio is associated with intubation in pediatric anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis: A retrospective study. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 370, 577931.
2023 Congress of Neurological Surgeons
- Makda Mulugeta "Emerging Risk Factor in Pediatric Intracranial Gunshot Wounds: Age under 5 years” *Top 3 Disparities in Healthcare Poster
2023 National Neurotrauma Society (Abstracts Published)
Gabrielle Bailey "Social Determinants of Health as Predictors of Pediatric Concussion Outcomes” (oral presentation) *Top 20 Trainee Abstracts, Trainee Diversity Award
Makda Mulugeta “Applying Known Prognostic Factors of Mortality in Pediatric Intracranial Gunshot Wounds to a Younger Cohort"
Kendall Parsons “Socioeconomic Health Disparities in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: Comparisons of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Children”
2023 Southeastern Pediatric Research Alliance Conference
- Ruhika Aguru “The Relationship between Child Opportunity Index and Mortality in Pediatric Patients with Intracranial Firearm Injuries” (oral presentation)
- Makda Mulugeta & Gabrielle Bailey “Trends in Pediatric Gunshot Cases During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
2022 National Neurotrauma Society (Abstracts Published)
- Andrew Appert “Increased levels of osteopontin in children with subdural hematomas due to abusive head trauma”
- Makda Mulugeta “Implications of Race and Socioeconomic Status on Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Severity and Outcome” *Trainee Diversity Award
2022 Southeastern Pediatric Research Alliance Conference
- Andrew Appert “Increased levels of osteopontin in children with subdural hematomas due to abusive head trauma”
Eva del Valle Martinez “Follow-up visit attendance in children following a traumatic brain injury”
Keri Kramer “Neuropsychiatric outcomes in children with traumatic brain injuries”
Makda Mulugeta “Implications of Race and Socioeconomic Status on Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Severity and Outcome”
Hannah Myers “Comparing plasma biomarker profiles in complicated versus uncomplicated mild TBI in children”
- Anabelle Thomas “Gender and age differences in recovery trajectories following pediatric concussion”
For a more comprehensive list of PNL's abstracts, peer reviewed publications, and presentations, email us here!
PNL Lab's Most Recent Grants:
Elaine and John C. Carlos Endowed Chair of Neurotrauma, $2 million
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University, Established 2017
National Institutes of Health R21 grant, $466,650
Reisner A., Sayeed I. - PI; Blackwell L.S.-Co-I; - Osteopontin as a Blood Biomarker in Severe Pediatric Brain Injury.
Funded March 1, 2018- February 29, 2022
Emerging Leaders for Children’s group, Estimated at $250K
Concussion Program as beneficiary of their 2017 fundraising efforts, Funded 2017
Andrew Reisner Traumatic Brain Injury Fund, Total Donations > $500,000
Established by patients/families
CHOA Board of Trustees Pediatric Neurotrauma Lab, $500,000
Reisner A., Blackwell L.S., Sayeed, I. – PI , Funded 2018-2021
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Concussion Program, $250,000
Variety of Private and Corporate Donors
1 UO1 CE002939-01 Grant, $5 million
Gioia, G.A., Ratcliff, J., Simon, H.K.- PI – Promoting Recovery in Children Who Sustain a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: The TBI Evaluation and Management (TEaM) Toolkit, Funded 2018
Dr. Reisner was awarded "Innovations in Clinical Program Development Award 2023" at Emory Department of Pediatrics and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's 2023 Pediatrics Physician, Faculty & Staff Awards Celebration! He was awarded for his development of the Concussion Care Program. Congratulations Dr. Reisner!
Centenial Anniversary of the Serbian Neurosurgery Society Meeting, Belgrade, Serbia.
Dr. Reisner was honored as 1 of 7 international guests who were made honorary Serbian Neurosurgery Society members during the 100th annual Serbian Neurosurgery Meeting.
In addition, Dr. Reisner presented on Post-traumatic Aneurysms.
And Dr. Reisner moderated a session on Neurotrauma with Professor Tariq Khan.
Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2023 Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.
Mulugeta, M, Reisner, A, et al. Emerging Risk Factor in Pediatric Intracranial Gunshot Wounds: Age under 5 years. Awarded Top 3 Posters in Disparities in Healthcare.
National Neuotrauma Conference 2023, Austin, TX
Bailey, G, et al. Social Determinants of Health as Predictors of Pediatric Concussion Outcomes (poster & oral presentation). Awarded Top 20 Trainee Posters and Trainee Diversity Award.
Makda Mulugeta, et al. Applying Known Prognostic Factors of Mortality in Pediatric Intracranial Gunshot Wounds to a Younger Cohort.
Kendall Parsons, et al. Socioeconomic Health Disparities in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: Comparisons of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Children
Southeastern Pediatric Research Conference, Atlanta, GA
Image 1: Ruhika Aguru, et al. Relationship Between Child Opportunity Index and Mortality in Pediatric Patients with Intracranial Firearm Injuries (oral presentation)
Image 2: Makda Mulugeta & Gabrielle Bailey, et al. Trends in Pediatric Gunshot Wound Cases During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Dr. Reisner Presenting at ICRAN 2023 in Bolivia
CLICK TO WATCH : ICRAN 2023 SUMMARY VIDEO
The PNL Lab is now participating in the GEO-TBI study, "an international, prospective observational study on traumatic brain injury epidemiology". Read more about it here.
Dr. Reisner Presents at the 2022 Mediterranean Association of Neurological Surgeons: Cairo, Egypt Dec. 2022
PATIENT STORIES & HIGHLIGHTS: