CNI Grantees


Current Grantees

Research on the Mechanisms and Treatment of Neurotrauma (Option A) Grantees
RFP #17-002 GRANT AWARD PERIOD: April 1, 2017 – June 30, 2020
PI=Principal Investigator

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Kristy Dixon, PhD

“PAIN-T Alleviation Immediately after Neurotrauma Mediated via TNFR1.”

This project will build on preliminary data by examining that extent of injury-induced hippocampal plasticity and its association with the development of pain, and determine whether this is TNFR1-mediated. This proposal will also build on preliminary data by examining the mechanism as to how TNF induces hippocampal plasticity. The study will assess the efficacy of XPro1595 to alleviate pain and comorbid behaviors in mice following brain injury.


Research on the Mechanisms and Treatment of Neurotrauma (Option A)
GRANT AWARD PERIOD: February 1, 2020 – January 31, 2022
PI=Principal Investigator

United Spinal Association of Virginia, PI: Richard Bagby

“Peer Mentor and Family Support Program to Educate and Empower Those Affected by SCI/D”

Newly injury SCI/D survivors referred through hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and other partnering organizations. Specific protocols established with medical professionals in hospital settings in order to meet HIPPA compliance.

In addition to newly injured, those living with SCI/D who are still facing difficulties or life skills challenges are mentored through this program.

Newly injured SCI/D Survivors and their families will receive education, training and support on issues such as: the phases of rehabilitation, depression, setting personal goals for the newly injured, setting boundaries for caregivers, the role of family members, community based opportunities, networking, and local medical and home care resources.

This Peer Mentor and Family Support program will also provide long-term practical and emotional support for individuals and families as they move toward independence and healing. Our programs will provide a one-stop resource in addition to a personal connection to those that have experienced the same trauma. This sharing of resources, experiences, and encouragement can alter the quality of life for individuals after injury and provide meaningful work for the disabled mentors.


Research on the Mechanisms and Treatment of Neurotrauma (Option A) Grantees
RFP #22-009 GRANT AWARD PERIOD: November 18, 2021 – November 17, 2025
PI=Principal Investigator

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Carrie Peterson, PhD / Co PI: Zina Trost, PhD

“Immersive Virtual Reality and Noninvasive Spinal Stimulation to Promote Arm Function in Individuals with Tetraplegia”

This project will develop a home-based rehabilitation program to improve upper limb function for individuals with cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Will test the safety, feasibility and initial efficacy of the home-based rehabilitation, which consists of non-invasive spinal cord stimulation combined with upper limb exercises guided in a virtual reality environment.

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Andrew Ottens, PhD

“The Biofluid Peptidome for Novel Diagnostic and Prognostic Facilitation of TBI Care”

This project will test the overall hypothesis that traumatic brain injury (TBI)-generated waste peptides (the TBI peptidome) released into the circulation will provide a multivariate quantitive assessment of ongoing pathological processes that will acutely correlate with injury severity and inform on secondary insults that worsen injury intheacute-caresetting.

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Amol Karmarkar, PhD

“Transitions and Disparities in Care and Outcomes (TDCO) for Neurotrauma”

This project will learn and translate the findings about (1) when and how transitions of care occur for persons after TBI and SCI; (2) which groups of persons served are at greater risk to experience negative health outcomes; and (3) how COVID-19 global pandemic impacted these transitions of care and the outcomes.

Sportable, PI: Shelley Sowers, Sportable Athletic Director

“Developing and Testing the Efficacy of Targeted Wellness Training in Children and Adults with SCI, TBI and other Trauma-related Disability Participating in a Recreational Sports Program”

This project will be a collaborative and two-part investigation to develop and feasibility test (ease of delivery, preferred materials, acceptance by participants) a disability-specific wellness program and then investigate the actual added value and effectiveness of this directed and individualized wellness training on individuals with physical disabilities who are participating in structured, recreational sports programs.

Community-Based Rehabilitation Programs and Services (Option B) Grantees
RFP #18-061 GRANT AWARD PERIOD: August 1, 2018 - July 31, 2021
PI=Principal Investigator

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Amy Armstrong, PhD

“Enhancing Parenting Skills (EPS) of Civilians and Veterans with TBI and their Non-injured Partners.”

Enhancing Parenting Skills (EPS) of civilians and veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and their non-injured partners: A service-based program.

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Christine Groah, MEd

“Project Achieve.”

Using Cognitive support technology to assist women veterans and service members with Traumatic Brain and/or Spinal Cord Injuries to achieve postsecondary education and careers.

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Zina Trost, PhD

“Virginia Spinal Cord Injury outreach and Services Clearinghouse.”

Creating a registry for collecting and monitoring the characteristics of Virginia with SCI and their Outcomes.


Community-Based Rehabilitation Programs and Services (Option B)
FEDERAL GRANT CASH MATCH GRANT AWARD PERIOD: October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2021
PI=Principal Investigator

Virginia Commonwealth University, PI: Jeffrey Kreutzer, PhD/Jennifer Marwitz

“Virginia Commonwealth University Traumatic Brain Injury Model System and Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Collaboration Grant.”

As part of the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services’ (DARS) federal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Mentor Grant award from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has contracted with DARS through the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund. The three major projects in this Scope of Work are:

  • Analysis of Brain Injury Data in Virginia
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: Development of Brain Injury-Related Questions
  • Incidence and Prevalence of Opioid Use and Misuse in Virginia

Information on Previous Grantees




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