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External Advisory Board

Huw Morris (Chair) is Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at UCL Institute of Neurology, and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital and the National Hospital, Queen Square.  He was Senior Lecturer and then Professor in Neurology and Neurogenetics at Cardiff University, the Royal Gwent Hospital and the University Hospital of Wales from 2003-2013. His clinical and research training took place at the National Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and the Western Pacific island of Guam.   He began research in PSP and related disorders as a PSP Association and MRC Clinical Research Fellow in 1997.  His main interests are Neurogenetics, Movement Disorders and Dementia.  He is leading a UK-wide research network in PSP and Cortico-basal degeneration (PROSPECT),  a UK-wide research project in genetic Parkinson’s (Parkinson’s Families Project). He leads the cohort group of the Global Parkinson’s genetics program (  He also studies genetic determinants of progression and variation in Parkinsonian disorders to help to define new treatments.

Ramon Diaz-Arrastia is Professor of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine where he serves as Director of Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research. Dr. Diaz-Arrastia’s research interests are focused for the past 20+ years on understanding the molecular, cellular, and tissue level mechanisms of secondary neuronal injury and neuroregeneration, with the goal of developing therapeutic interventions. Dr. Diaz-Arrastia received his MD and PhD degrees at Baylor College of Medicine in 1988.  He served on the faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern from 1993 – 2011, and at the Uniformed Services University and the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine from 2011 – 2016. Dr. Diaz-Arrastia has published over 250 primary research papers, as well as over 50 invited reviews and book chapters.  He has also served in several national committees related to TBI research and practice, convened by the NIH, DoD, VA, and the National Academy Medicine.

Melinda Fitzgerald is John Curtin Distinguished Professor and the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research (Interim) at Curtin University.   Professor Fitzgerald leads a team of researchers and post-graduate students in nationally coordinated research focused around understanding and preventing the loss of function that occurs following neurotrauma. She leads the MRFF funded AUS-TBI and AUS-mTBI national consortia, each of 100 researchers and up to 50 partner organisations, designing informatics approaches in moderate to severe and in mild traumatic brain injury. Lindy also founded and is the CEO of Connectivity: Traumatic Brain Injury Australia, a not-for-profit that links people with lived experience, carers, researchers, clinicians and health care providers to improve outcomes for people following TBI of all severities

Andrew I.R. Maas is Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery at the Antwerp University Hospital and University of Antwerp. He holds positions as past Chairman of the Neurotraumatology Committee of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS), the International Neurotrauma Society, and is Co-Chairman of the European Brain Injury Consortium and Advisory Board member to Wings for Life. He has a vast experience as a general neurosurgeon and has specific research interests in neurotrauma and neuro-intensive care. Dr Maas was the Principal Investigator of the IMPACT study group (International Mission on Prognosis and Clinical Trial design in TBI), that was awarded an NIH grant (2003-2011) and resulted in over 55 publications and recommendations for improved trial design. Together with Prof David Menon, University of Cambridge, he coordinated the large scale collaborative project CENTER-TBI: Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI (, supported by the FP7 program of the European Union (Grant no: 602150; duration:2013-2021), which has yielded over 300 publications to date

Geoffrey T. Manley, is the Chief of Neurosurgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) and is Professor and Vice Chairman of Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Manley is an internationally recognized expert in neurotrauma. In addition to a robust clinical practice at ZSFG, San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area’s level 1 trauma center, he coordinates and leads national and international clinical research efforts in the study of the short- and long-term effects of TBI. With a nationwide team of TBI experts, has recently launched the TRACK-TBI NETWORK, an innovative, precision-medicine driven consortium that will test Phase 2 drugs for TBI. The TRACK-TBI studies have created a modern precision medicine information commons for TBI that integrates clinical, imaging, proteomic, genomic, and outcome biomarkers to drive the development of a new TBI disease classification system, which could revolutionize diagnosis, direct patient-specific treatment, and improve outcomes. His over 300 published manuscripts reflect a wide range of research interests from molecular aspects of brain injury to the clinical care of TBI. He sits on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on VA Examinations for Traumatic Brain Injury and has served as a consultant for the Prehospital Guidelines Committee for the World Health Organization and on numerous clinical research committees for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Defense.

Douglas H. Smith is the Robert A. Groff Endowed Professor Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition, Dr. Smith is the Scientific Director of the Big 10/ Ivy league Collaboration on Concussion and he also serves as a member on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the US National Football League (NFL), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-DoD consortium on concussion and the International Concussion Society.  Furthermore, Dr. Smith serves as a trustee of Mind Your Brain Foundation.  Notably, the U.S. State Department asked Dr. Smith to lead an investigation into neurological deficits induced in members of the embassy in Cuba, which led to a newly discovered disorder, “Havana Syndrome.” Dr. Smith’s group has established that damage to brain networks and specifically, diffuse axonal injury (DAI), represents key pathological processes underlying concussion symptoms and that the extent of acute axonal pathology is predictive of cognitive outcome.  In addition, his group has discovered mechanisms of concussion and more severe TBI that lead to progressive neurodegeneration, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy. These collective efforts are represented in over 250 published scientific reports that have been extensively cited. His awards include the Dorothy Russell medal, the highest honor conveyed by the British Neuropathological Society, the William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award from the University of Pennsylvania and the Anthony B. Marmarou Memorial Neurotrauma Lecture Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Jitesh Sodha is the Chief Financial Officer of Spire Healthcare, one of the UK’s leading private hospital groups and he is also a non-executive director of PZ Cussons Plc, the consumer brands company. Jitesh is a keen road cyclist and in January 2022 suffered a sudden heart attack and cardiac arrest while out on his bike in Regents Park.  The subsequent fall at speed resulted in various broken bones and a serious traumatic brain injury. Jitesh was an inpatient in the Neuro rehabilitation unit at St Georges Hospital for 8 weeks and then discharged under the care of the outpatient Wandsworth Community Neuro team.  He returned to work part-time 4 months after the accident and full-time 2 months after that.  He continues to receive NHS treatment for facial palsy following the accident but he is delighted to say that his speech aphasia has all but disappeared. 

Elisa R. Zanier is the director of the Department of Acute Brain and Cardiovascular Injury and the Laboratory of Traumatic Brain Injury and Neuroprotection at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy. She earned her medical doctor degree from the University of Milan, Italy, in 1998 and completed her residency in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine in 2002. She conducted her post-doctoral research at the Neurotrauma Laboratory, Neurosurgery Division, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. From 2004 to 2008, she worked as a Neurointensivist and Anesthesiologist in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit at the Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan. Since 2008, she has been affiliated with the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy. Her multidisciplinary team of over forty researchers focuses on developing preclinical models of acute brain and cardiac injury and enhancing collaboration between laboratory and clinical activities with the goal of: i) understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of acute brain and cardiovascular injuries, defining disease-associated endophenotypes, and identifying potential drug targets; ii) developing therapies for acute brain and cardiovascular damage and its chronic sequelae; iii) establishing a preclinical biorepository to identify new biomarkers and explore new mechanisms, reducing the use of animals for research; iv) contributing to the scientific training of early-career basic scientists and clinicians in the fields of critical care and neuroscience. Dr. Zanier is an expert in traumatic brain injury and has contributed to the understanding of maladaptive mechanisms leading to progressive neurodegeneration and to the definition of stem cell-based immune approaches to protect the injured brain. She has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications in acute brain injury and leads international and national consortia supported by organizations such as the American Department of Defense, the NIH, American Society of Alzheimer’s Disease, the European Union, and the Italian Ministry of Health. Since 2021, Dr. Zanier has also served as the Dean of the International Graduate PhD Program at IRFMN in collaboration with the Open University (UK).

Huw Morris (Chair)

Ramon Diaz-Arrastia

Melinda Fitzgerald

Andrew Maas

Geoffrey T Manley

Douglas H Smith

Jitesh Sodha

Elisa R Zanier