Jason P. Mihalik
PhD, CAT(C), ATC, FACSM, FNATA
Jason Mihalik is a Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. He is the Director of the Matthew Gfeller Center and the Chief Executive Officer for the center's THRIVE Program. He holds adjunct appointments in the Department of Neurosurgery and Department of Allied Health Sciences. He also serves as Affiliate Faculty at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center in the TBI focus area. Jason completed his undergraduate degree in Exercise Science with a specialization in Athletic Therapy at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 2001. He completed his graduate work in Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, earning his Master's Degree in December 2004. He was a recipient of a 5-year Royster Fellowship, allowing him to ultimately complete his doctoral work in Human Movement Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the summer of 2009.
Jason's primary research interest intersects head trauma biomechanics with clinical outcomes in civilian athletes and military warfighters. He investigates the effectiveness of innovative concussion assessment, management, and rehabilitation technologies. He is additionally interested in the interrelationships between ocular and vestibular function, as well as the utility of neuroimaging and neurophysiology, in the context of the concussion management paradigm. He has developed smartphone applications designed to assist lay rescuers in recognize concussion signs and symptoms and intervene accordingly. Jason also studies field management of neurotraumatic spine-related injuries.
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: Dr. Mihalik is the Chief Science Officer for Senaptec Inc., a startup company in the visual and sensory performance space.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
PhD, ATC, FACSM, FNATA
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz is a Kenan Distinguished Professor, Athletic Trainer, and the founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he has served on faculty since 1995. Over the past 26 years, his clinical research program has focused on sport-related concussion and their effect on balance and neuropsychological function in high school and collegiate athletes, the biomechanics of sport concussion, and the long-term neurological effects of concussion in retired professional football players.
Kevin has published over 150 journal articles and textbook chapters on sport concussion and has helped sports medicine clinicians to improve diagnosis and management of this complex injury. More recently, his work is aimed at identifying biomarkers for determining the potential risk factors that predict symptom onset and progression of neurodegenerative disease in athletes who have played contact sports.
Kevin earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Sports Medicine from the University of Virginia in 1995, after receiving a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from The University of Pittsburgh in 1992 and a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from West Chester University in 1989. He has been awarded Fellowship in the American College of Sports Medicine in 2003, the National Academy of Kinesiology in 2006, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association in 2008. In September 2011, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, given annually to individuals who "show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work." Kevin resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife, Amy, and four children, Jacob, Nathan, Adam, and Tessa.
Candice Goerger is the Associate Director of Operations for the Matthew Gfeller Center & the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes (CSRA). She directs all on-campus research and off-campus clinical operations, manages all personnel & financial budgets, helps direct strategic planning, and provides programmatic support for both Centers. She serves as the Chief People Officer for the Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans (THRIVE) Program and has been instrumental in developing the off-site clinic location that opened in January 2023.
Prior to returning to UNC in 2018, she spent 5 years at Georgia State University, where she served as the Assistant Program Director for the Georgia State Reading Program – supervising and managing all operations for numerous multi-site federally funded research programs.
Candice began her career at UNC Chapel Hill in 2007 as a research assistant under the direction of Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training at Temple University and her Master’s degree in Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
Caprice H. Roberts
Caprice Roberts serves as the Assistant Director of Research Operations for the Matthew Gfeller Center and the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes (CSRA). Caprice coordinates and manages the day-to-day operations for the NFL LONG Research Study as well as, oversees various other research projects within both centers. Caprice completed her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior from East Carolina University.
Johna K. Register-Mihalik
PhD, LAT, ATC, FACSM
Johna Register-Mihalik, PhD, LAT, ATC, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. In addition to her role in the Gfeller Center, she serves as Core Faculty with the Injury Prevention Research Center here at UNC-CH and as the Traumatic Division Director for the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Alabama in Athletic Training and her master’s, Athletic Training, doctoral, Human Movement Science, and postdoctoral, Neuroscience, training at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Prior to joining the faculty in Exercise and Sport Science, she served as the Senior Research Associate in the Emergency Services Institute at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Register-Mihalik's research interests include the negative consequences, prevention, education and clinical management of sport and recreational TBI. Her primary work centers on novel behavioral and clinical interventions to improve the prevention and care for concussion across the lifespan. She has been the recipient of several research grants to pursue this line of work. Her work has been published in a variety of journals across the sports medicine and brain injury literature. Dr. Register-Mihalik is also an active member of many professional organizations including the National Athletic Trainers' Association, NATA, and the American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM. In addition, she currently serves on the NATA’s Convention Program Committee and the NATA Research and Education Foundation’s Pronouncements and Research Committees. Dr. Register-Mihalik was the 2018 recipient of the NATA Research and Education Foundation’s New Investigator award and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
Kevin A. Carneiro
Kevin Carneiro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Medical Director of UNC Spine Center as well as the Brain and Body Health Program through the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He is the physician for all patients in the Matthew Gfeller Concussion Clinic.
Kevin is a native of Canada, and received an honors undergraduate degree in Human Biology from the University of Toronto. He received his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He then completed residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PM&R, and a fellowship in Sports and Spine Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Medical School / Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, RIC. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as Sports Medicine.
Wesley R. Cole
Wesley “Wes” Cole is a Research Associate Professor with the Matthew Gfeller Center in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as a neuropsychologist for the Transforming Health and Resilience In Veterans (THRIVE) Program. Wes completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology from James Madison University in 2000. He obtained his masters (2003) and doctoral (2006) degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Carolina. As part of his graduate training, he completed a pre- and postdoctoral training at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, a member of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and former Chair of the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina.
Wes joined UNC and the THRIVE Program in 2022 after 13 years at Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Liberty (then Fort Bragg), where he served as a neuropsychologist, research lead, and chief of behavioral health services for the Intrepid Spirit Center. He has been the Principal Investigator for multiple TBI-related studies and has authored or co-authored numerous peer reviewed publications. He frequently presents at conferences and professional meetings on various topics related to brain injury. His primary research interests are with cognitive assessment and outcomes following concussion, autonomic nervous system dysregulation after concussion, return to duty assessment for military warfighters, and innovative treatments for postconcussive symptoms.
JD JD DeFreese is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. J.D. is a native of Indiana and completed his undergraduate degree at Indiana University and doctorate in kinesiology, with a specialization in sport & exercise psychology, at Purdue University. He also completed a postdoctoral research experience at UNC-Chapel Hill before joining the faculty in 2016. He serves in research, teaching, and service roles at UNC-Chapel Hill.
J.D.'s research examines the associations among current and former athlete psychological functioning, for example, burnout, depression, anxiety, well-being, motivation, with athlete social functioning, for example, social support, negative social experiences, and physical functioning, such as, concussion, musculoskeletal injury, training, and specialization. J.D. also teaches classes in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science on sport and exercise psychology and is the Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Shawn F. Kane
MD, FAAFP, FACSM
Shawn Kane is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the UNC-Chapel Hill. A native of New York, he attended Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA where he played varsity football and was in ROTC. Upon graduation he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Medical Service Corps and attended the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences for medical school. Upon medical school graduation, he was promoted to Captain and completed his Family Medicine Training at Womack Army Medical Center at FT Bragg, NC and then completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the National Capital Consortium at Ft Belvoir, VA/Bethesda, MD. He went on to serve a total of 27 years in the US Army, most of them as a physician in the US Army Special Operations Command. In 2018, he retired from the Army and started his second career here at UNC. He is board certified in Family Medicine and has a certificate of added qualification in Primary Care Sports Medicine.
Adam W. Kiefer
AAdam Kiefer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where co-directs the Simulation, Training, Analytics and Rehabilitation, STAR, Heel Performance Laboratory. He also holds a volunteer faculty position in the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Adam earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2003, his master’s degree at Barry University, 2005, his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cincinnati, 2009, and trained as a post-doctoral research associate at Brown University, 2013. Prior to his arrival at UNC, Adam served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and as the Director of Research Education in the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Adam‚'s research takes a complex systems approach to primary and secondary prevention of sport TBI and he integrates innovative mixed-reality and artificial intelligence technologies within a novel precision medicine framework to improve training and clinical outcomes. His expertise in behavioral dynamics and AI provides an innovative approach to measuring, modeling and analyzing the complexity of healthy and pathological human performance in a variety of contexts. Adam is a co-inventor of a patented real-time biofeedback technology for sport injury prevention ,and is currently funded by a Trailblazer Award from the National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to develop a behavior-based precision and personalized medicine mixed-reality simulation platform to help athletes return to play safely following injury.
Kristen L. Kucera
Ph.D., MSPH, ATC, LAT
Kristen Kucera is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Core Faculty with the Injury Prevention Research Center, and the Director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at UNC-CH. She joined the faculty in 2013 after serving as an assistant professor in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. Kristen received her undergraduate degree, BS, 1994, in Athletic Training at Linfield College, McMinnville, OR. She completed her master's, MSPH, 2002, and doctoral, Ph.D., 2006, degrees in the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
An epidemiologist and certified athletic trainer, Kristen's research interests include sport and occupational injury epidemiology with an emphasis in musculoskeletal disorders, ergonomics, and return to work. Evaluation and improved surveillance for sports and work-related injuries are another area of current focus. She has had funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to examine work-related injuries among certified athletic trainers and predictors patient lift equipment among nursing staff and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) to expand surveillance methods for catastrophic sports injuries.
Stephen W. Marshall
Stephen Marshall is Director of the Injury Prevention Research Center and Professor of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC, and is a core faculty member in the Gfeller Center. Stephen completed his undergraduate studies in Mathematics at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1987. In 1989, he completed a Post-Graduate Degree in Biometrics and Field Experimentation at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand. He completed his Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998.
In his capacity as Director of the Injury Prevention Research Center, he oversees a nationally-recognized injury prevention research center that has been funded by the CDC as one of the nation's 9 centers of excellence in injury prevention research. He has expertise in injury prevention and control, epidemiological studies of sports injury, and in the statistical analysis of sports medicine data. His areas of research within sports medicine include injury surveillance systems, design and analysis of randomized trials and observational studies, survival analysis, longitudinal data analysis, and intervntion devlopment and evaluation. He has worked with faculty and students at the Matthew Gfeller Center for over decade in a wide range of studies addressing concussion incidence, management, and prevention.
PhDDan Corry is a postdoctoral research associate in the Matthew Gfeller Center. He graduated with a degree in Biology of Global Health from Georgetown University in 2015, a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from Emory University in 2018, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Iowa in 2023. His research lies at the intersection of physical and mental health, primarily focusing on how psychological stress after a TBI affects mental health and other post-TBI outcomes, and how interventions to mitigate stress after a TBI can improve poor outcomes after an injury.
Aaron M. Sinnott
PhDAaron Sinnott is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Matthew Gfeller Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. He completed his BS (Athletic Training) from Sacramento State University, 2013, an MS (Exercise Science) from Humboldt State University, 2015, and a PhD (Rehabilitation Science) from the University of Pittsburgh, 2021. He was a site coordinator for the NCAA-DoD CARE Consortium Project and a lecturer at Humboldt State University (2015-2017). His research interests include the effects of aerobic exercise on neurocognitive, vestibular, ocular, and somatosensory function across post-concussion recovery milestones.
Aidan joins the Matthew Gfeller Center as a Social/Clinical Research Assistant. Aidan completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience at the University of Mary Washington. She plans to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Paula serves as the Project Manager for the Pragmatic Rehabilitation Intervention to Supplement Progressive Return to Activity following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Service Members and the Popular Opinion Leaders as a Sports Concussion Prevention Strategy in Middle Schools Study. Paula is responsible for implementing these studies and the overall day-to-day operations. She works on these studies in conjunction with IPRC. Paula completed her undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies and her Master’s in Public Health, Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Ryan serves as the Assistant Director of Technical Development for the Matthew Gfeller Center and the STAR Heel Lab. Ryan's primary focus is the development of mixed reality applications and technical pipelines. His research interests are in sport simulation, injury prevention, and concussion prognosis. He received his undergraduate degree in Information Systems and his Master's in Applied Neuromechanics from UNC-Greensboro.
Laura serves as a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator for the Matthew Gfeller Center. She coordinates site visits for military projects and manages all the athletes' baseline testing. Laura completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Stephanie serves as a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator for the NFL LONG study in the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. She coordinates and manages site visits for all retired NFL players in the Center. Stephanie completed both her Masters of Science in Kinesiology and Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology at East Carolina University.
MSN, PNP, RN
Maryalice currently serves as the Project Manager for The Assessing & Tracking Tactical (ATTAC) Forces Initiative. Maryalice is responsible for implementing and monitoring the day-to-day operations of this study. Maryalice completed her undergraduate degree in nursing at Duquesne University and her Master’s in Parent Child Nursing at the University of Michigan.
Jesi serves as the Clinical Care Coordinator for the NFLPA Trust Brain and Body Program. She conducts intakes with former NFL players and coordinates their multi-disciplinary clinical visits. She completed her undergraduate degrees in Science Education and Chemistry at NC State University and her graduate degree in Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona.
Michael is the accounting technician for the THRIVE and Brian and Body programs. He is responsible for recording and processing financial transactions, maintaining financial ledgers and reports, and conducting monthly reconciliations. He works closely with the administrative team and staff on day-to-day financial operations.
Charles Van Dyke
Charles joins the Matthew Gfeller Center as a Research Assistant, primarily working with the Varsity UNC Football team to study Head Impact Biomechanics in College Football under Jason Mihalik, PhD, and Aaron Sinnott, PhD. Charles completed his Bachelor of Arts in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021. He plans to attend medical school.
Nikki C. Aitcheson-Huehn
Nikki is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Movement Science. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University (Ontario, Canada) in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and a Master of Kinesiology degree in 2020. Her Master’s thesis focused on motor control and neurophysiology. Her dissertation focuses on analyzing the effect of load, both physical and visual, and concussion history on visual-motor control and hockey performance in-situ. Specifically, all data will be collected on ice with innovative technologies in lieu of traditional in-lab data collection techniques.
Ling Beisecker is a doctoral candidate in Human Movement Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the intersection of mental and physical health, with a particular focus on women of color and women’s sport student-athletes as they navigate their transitions into and out of college. Ling is particularly interested in how various aspects of identity, such as academic, athletic, and exercise identities, influence experiences of depression, anxiety, and stress. Prior to starting at UNC-CH, Ling worked in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor specializing in anxiety, relationships, and complex trauma. She completed her master’s in mental health counseling from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and bachelor’s in kinesiology & health sciences and psychology (double major) from the College of William and Mary.
Brittany M. Ingram
MA, LAT, ATC
Brittany M. Ingram (she/her/hers) is a certified athletic trainer and doctoral candidate with expertise in the psychosocial components of sport-related concussion. Her research examines the impact of social determinants of health on sport-related concussion disclosure and care-seeking. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Alabama in 2018 in Athletic training and her graduate training (MA-2020; Ph.D.-2024) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research agenda has two main areas of focus. The first area of focus is identifying the effect of social determinants of health on sport-related concussion. She uses qualitative methods and survey research to investigate these effects. The second area of focus is examining the efficacy of current concussion education techniques and develop new education modalities considerate of the intersection of sport-related concussion and social determinants of health. Overall, her research aims to improve concussion disclosure and care-seeking for historically disadvantaged populations.
Suraj is a first-year doctoral student in the interdisciplinary program of human movement science. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Central Florida (UCF), where he demonstrated a keen interest in the intersection of biomedical science and public health. He then pursued a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a specialization in Health Policy in Clinical Practice at Dartmouth College. During his time at Dartmouth, he had the privilege of collaborating with the late Coach Buddy Teevens exploring the intersection of athletics and public health. His work at Dartmouth focused on assessing the acceptability and feasibility of a novel concussion-preventative methodology in the context of college football. His research also delved into the innovative use of a mobile tackling dummy in college football practices, ultimately demonstrating its potential to increase the incremental predictive validity of concussions. With all considered, his research interests revolve around sports-related concussions and prevention strategies to safeguard the health of athletes.
Dominic is a second-year doctorate student in the Interdisciplinary Human Movement Science program at UNC. He graduated from Elon University in 2019 with a B.S. in Exercise Science where he focused on the underlying biomechanical changes impacting injury risk following concussions. Following graduation, Dominic managed Elon's Department of Physical Therapy's biomechanics lab, and moved to DC to work in Children's National Hospital's Pediatric Neuropsychology division as a concussion clinic research assistant. Currently, Dominic is interested in better understanding the functional changes following concussion recovery, using cutting edge technology to assess risk-taking behavior, focus, and perceptual-motor efficiency.
Allison “Ally” Lanasa is one of two 2023-2024 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate fellows. She is a senior majoring in Exercise and Sport Science, with a minor in Neuroscience, while also competing on the UNC varsity gymnastics team. She plans to complete her Senior Honors Thesis on the effects of vision occlusion on varied dynamic balance assessments in active military personnel. Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school in physical therapy.
Pascale Paul is the 2023-2024 Guskiewicz Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. She is a Junior majoring in Biochemistry with a second major in Neuroscience. Pascale assists in data collection within the CSRA and hopes to develop her own research study. She aspires to complete an M.D.- Ph.D. and become a physician-scientist in the future.
Bridget Treanor is one of two 2023-2024 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate fellows. She is a senior, double majoring in Exercise and Sport Science and Medical Anthropology. She plans to complete her Senior Honors Thesis on the relationship between concussion history and exercise tolerance among males and females. Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school, furthering her research experience in the Exercise Science field.
BS, MD, 2019
Andrew completed his 1-year TBD Fellowship in the Matthew Gfeller Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center. He is currently completing his medical degree in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
Nikki E. Barczak-Scarboro
Nikki is a research scientist in the Biobehavioral Sciences Lab in the Naval Health Research Center’s Warfighter Performance Department. She graduated from UNC-CH in 2015 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Anthropology. Nikki competed on the varsity swim team before medically retiring due to injury. She completed her Master of Science in the Psychology of Sport in 2016 from the University of Stirling, Scotland. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy at UNC-CH in 2020 with the Matthew Gfeller Center. Her dissertation was titled “Combat-Related Stressors on Special Operations Forces Combat Service Members’ Resilience and Mental Health”. Nikki's research areas include psychophysiological resilience and its components specifically in military populations..
Adrian is a research coordinator in the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Center. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Chemistry. In 2018 he received his Master of Science in Health with a concentration in Exercise Science and Chronic Disease from the University of North Florida. His research interest includes sport related concussion symptomology in relation with return to play time.
Christine E. Callahan
Christine completed her doctoral studies under Dr. J. Register-Mihalik in 2023 and is now a Research Scientist at Headspace.
Kody completed his doctoral studies under Dr. J. Mihalik in 2019 and is now a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Neurology at the Oregon Health & Science University
BS, BA, 2020
Anna is a Chapel Hill, NC native and is one of three Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellows in the Gfeller Center. She is a senior Biomedical Engineering major with a second major in Spanish Literature and a minor in Chemistry. Anna plans to attend medical school following graduation. She has conducted an undergraduate research project through the CDC funded TRAIN study in the Gfeller Center and will be completing an honors thesis project during the 2019-2020 academic year. Her main research interests include medical imaging, concussion prevention and head impact device measurements.
Avinash was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. He received his PhD in Epidemiology from The George Washington University in May 2018. Avinash’s research interests are in sports injury epidemiology, and particularly related to multifactorial modeling of injury outcomes. He is interested in reconciling potential interactions between sex and head impact biomechanics, as they relate to concussion outcomes. He is also interested in understanding the role of repetitive sub-concussive trauma in determining neurocognitive function over time.
Aly was a Social/ Clinical Research Assistant for the Matthew Gfeller Center and Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. She is attending medical school at UNC-CH starting Summer 2022.
Michael D. Clark
Michael Clark completed his doctoral studies under Dr. K. Guskiewicz in 2017. Michael has returned to the UNC School of Medicine to complete his medical training en route to completing his MD/PhD program.
Morgan was one of two 2022-2023 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellows. She was an Exercise and Sports Science major with a minor in Sports Medicine and graduated in 2023.
Michael J. Cools
Michael Cools completed his 5th year Neurosurgery Residency Research Fellowship, mentored by J. Mihalik in 2018. He is completing his residency at UNC-Chapel Hill and will be pursuing a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship upon completion.
Jamie was one of two 2018-19 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellows in the Gfeller Center. Jamie majored in Psychology & Neuroscience and minored in Biology and Chemistry while competing on UNC's varsity gymnastics team. She plans to attend medical school. Jamie coordinates a number of studies and assists in the weekly concussion clinic hosted in the Matthew Gfeller Center.
Emma J. Dums
BA, 2022Emma was a research coordinator in the Matthew Gfeller Center and Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. She was a 2021-22 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Matthew Gfeller Center. Emma majored in Exercise and Sport Science and minored in Chemistry and Neuroscience. She plans to attend medical school in 2023.
Cassie was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science. She received her PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience in 2016 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cassie’s research interests include reconciling basic experimental measures of cognition with those used in clinical prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injury. She is also interested in applying novel statistical methods and models, as well as neurophysiological and behavioral measures (such as EEG and fMRI) to better understand both concussion risk factors, and the neurocognitive consequences following injury.
Melissa A. Fraser
Ph.D., ATC, 2016
Missy Fraser completed her doctoral studies under Dr. K. Guskiewicz in 2016. Missy is now an Assistant Professor of Athletic Training in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State University.
,Thalia Hernandez was the 2022-2023 Guskiewicz Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. She is a senior majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in Neuroscience and will graduate in 2024.
Melissa completed her doctoral studies under Dr. J. Register-Mihalik in 2019. Melissa is now an Assistant Professor in the School of Health Professions at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Bradley J. Lauck
BA, 2022Bradley was a 2021–22 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Matthew Gfeller Center. Bradley majored in Exercise and Sport Science and minored in Chemistry and Military Science and Leadership. Bradley was an Army ROTC Cadet, and is a member of the North Carolina Army National Guard. He is currently working as a research coordinator in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and plans to attend medical school in 2023.
Robert C. Lynall
Ph.D., ATC, 2016
Rob Lynall completed his doctoral studies under Dr. J. Mihalik in 2016. Rob is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia.
Avanish is a senior undergraduate student from Waxhaw, NC and is one of three Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellows at the Gfeller Center. Avanish is majoring in Biology & Exercise and Sports Science, with a minor in Chemistry. He plans to attend medical school a year following graduation, with a hope of pursuing physiatry or family medicine. Avanish is guided by an interest in alleviating barriers to health services in underserved populations, and medicine that values improving quality of life. His research interests include psychosocial outcomes of sub-concussive head impacts and the efficacy of active rehabilitation/treatment following concussion.
Aliza K. Nedimyer
PhD, LAT, ATC, 2022
Aliza graduated from the Interdisciplinary Program of Human Movement Science in 2022. Her research broadly explored the roles of stakeholders on injury prevention and sport safety in athletes across the lifespan. Aliza will join the EXSS faculty as a Teaching Assistant Professor in July 2022.
Wes Northam completed his 5th year Neurosurgery Residency Research Fellowship (mentor: J. Mihalik) in 2018. He is completing his residency at UNC-Chapel Hill and will be pursuing a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship upon completion.
Caroline is a senior undergraduate student from Salisbury, NC. She is one of three Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellows in the Gfeller Center. Caroline is a Psychology major with a minor in Exercise and Sport Science, and plans to go to PA School after graduation. Eventually, she hopes to work in pediatric primary care. Along with working in the Gfeller Center, Caroline is an Undergraduate Learning Assistant for Dr. DeFreese's Sport Psychology class and also volunteers in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit in the Cancer Hospital. Caroline is interested in pupillary reactions after concussions, as well as pediatric development post-injury.
Jacob R Powell
PhD, LAT, ATC, 2023
Jake completed his doctoral studies under Dr. J. Mihalik in 2023 and is now a Military TBI Research Scientist at GDIT in support of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.
Johna K. Register-Mihalik
Ph.D., LAT, ATC, FACSM, 2010
Johna Register-Mihalik completed her doctoral studies under Dr. K. Guskiewicz in 2010 and postdoctoral research fellowship in 2011. Johna is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and core faculty member of the Matthew Gfeller Center and Co-Director of the STAR Heel Performance Laboratory here at UNC-CH..
Mel'leeah serves as the Lead Research Assistant for the Brain & Body Health Program in the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes (CSRA). CSRA works in conjunction with the Matthew Gfeller Center. She is responsible for assisting with clinical care coordination, assisting with various research studies, and day-to-day operations. Mel'leeah completed her undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Patricia R. Roby
Ph.D., ATC, 2020
Tricia is a postdoctoral research fellow at Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise and Sport Science with an emphasis in Athletic Training. After graduation, she worked as a certified athletic trainer at Tuscarora High School in Frederick, MD. She completed her Master of Education in Kinesiology from the University of Virginia in 2015. She was a research coordinator in the Matthew Gfeller Center at UNC-CH in 2016 and then stayed on to complete her Doctor of Philosophy in the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Movement Science. Her research interests include cerebrovascular function and pediatric concussion.
Ashley C. Santo
Ph.D., ATC, 2015
Ashley, Littleton, Santo completed her doctoral studies under Dr. K. Guskiewicz in 2015. Ashley is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Towson University.
Kenan G. Sayers
BS, 2022Kenan was the 2021-2022 Inaugural Guskiewicz Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. Kenan majored in Psychology and minored in Exercise & Sport Science and Hispanic Studies. He is pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Michigan State University in 2022.
Julianne D. Schmidt
Ph.D., ATC, 2013
Julianne, Toler, Schmidt completed her doctoral studies under Dr. K. Guskiewicz in 2013. Julianne is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia.
Stephen is a recent Biology graduate from UNC joining the Gfeller Center and CSRA as a post-baccalaureate research assistant. His involvement at the Center includes ARC/CSC baseline testing, BBHP/MWA, and NFL Long. Stephen plans to attend medical school next fall and hopes his time with us will be an excellent learning experience.
Med, ATC, Cfo,
Bridget is a research coordinator in the Matthew Gfeller Center. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Athletic Training and a Bachelor of Arts in Movement and Exercise Science Emphasis: Sport Psychology in 2014. As a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at the University of Minnesota, she completed her Masters of Education, Applied Kinesiology Sport Management Professional Studies Track in 2016. She coordinates Military projects and the NCAA-DoD Grand Alliance: Concussion Assessment, Research and Education, CARE, Consortium.
Elizabeth F. Teel
Liz Teel completed her doctoral studies under Dr. J. Mihalik in 2017. Liz is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Research Institute at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, Canada.
Marina was one of two 2022-2023 Jenner Carey Bryan Undergraduate Research Fellows. She majored in Exercise and Sports Science and Chemistry and graduated in 2023.
Christina B. Vander Vegt
Ph.D., ATC, 2020
Tina is a research scientist for the Fort Carson TBI Center of Excellence She graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. She completed her Master of Science in Athletic Training in August 2015 at Texas State University and went on to gain additional experience in a Post-Professional Residency in Athletic Training at Ben Hogan Sports Medicine in Ft. Worth, TX. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy in the Interdisciplinary Program in Human Movement Science at UNC-CH. Tina is interested in visual impairment following concussion and pupillary response changes as a physiological indicator of cognitive workload following sport-related concussion.
Samuel R. Walton
PhD, Postdoc, 2022
Sam Walton was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, Matthew Gfeller Center, and the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has accepted a position at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Erin B. Wasserman
Erin Wasserman completed a one-year postdoctoral research fellowship under Dr. J. Mihalik in 2016. Erin is now the Director of the NCAA Injury Prevention Program at the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention.