Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Confirmed Speakers and Moderators

Headline Speakers

Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Assis­tant Sec­re­tary for Voca­tional and Adult Edu­ca­tion, US Depart­ment of Education

Brenda Dann-Messier was nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Obama as assis­tant sec­re­tary for voca­tional and adult edu­ca­tion on July 14, 2009. On Oct. 5, 2009 she was con­firmed by the U.S. Sen­ate and began her offi­cial duties on Oct. 13, 2009. As the first assis­tant sec­re­tary for the Office of Voca­tional and Adult Edu­ca­tion (OVAE) who is also an adult edu­ca­tor, Dann-Messier leads the Department’s efforts in adult edu­ca­tion and career and tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion, as well as efforts sup­port­ing com­mu­nity col­leges and cor­rec­tional edu­ca­tion. She over­sees the admin­is­tra­tion of 11 grant pro­grams in these areas, total­ing approx­i­mately $1.9 bil­lion annu­ally. Dann-Messier is com­mit­ted to col­lab­o­ra­tion, both within the Depart­ment and across fed­eral agen­cies, includ­ing work­ing with the U.S. Depart­ments of Labor, Agri­cul­ture, Health and Human Ser­vices, Home­land Secu­rity and Commerce. OVAE’s vision is for all youths and adults to have mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties to obtain life­long edu­ca­tion and train­ing in order to achieve reward­ing careers and fam­ily lives, par­tic­i­pate in their com­mu­ni­ties, and attain their per­sonal goals. You can read more Here.

Dr. Molly Wagster, Chief of the Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Branch in the Division of Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Dr. Wagster oversees administration and development of research in cognitive and emotional change with age and in sensory and motor disorders of aging. She directly manages a portfolio of research in mechanisms of cognitive (memory, learning, attention, language) and affective (emotion) change with age that spans research from molecules to behavior. She serves as the NIH Project Officer for the development of the NIH Toolbox for Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function (contract supported by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research) and directs the trans-NIH Cognitive and Emotional Health Project. Dr. Wagster received her MS and PhD in Biopsychology from Tulane University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropathology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Michael Merzenich, Emeritus Professor, UCSF

For more than three decades, Dr. Merzenich has been a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research. In the late 1980s, Dr. Merzenich was on the team that invented the cochlear implant, now distributed by Advanced Bionics. In 1996, Dr. Merzenich was the founding CEO of Scientific Learning Corporation (Nasdaq: SCIL), and in 2004 became co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science. Dr. Merzenich has published more than 200 articles, received numerous awards and prizes, and been granted more than 50 patents for his work. His work was featured on the PBS specials “The Brain Fitness Program” and “Brain Fitness 2: Sight and Sound.” Dr. Merzenich earned his BS degree at the University of Portland and his PhD at Johns Hopkins. He retired from his long career as Francis A. Sooy Professor and Co-Director of the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience at the University of California at San Francisco in 2007. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and recently launched the research/ technology incubator Brain Plasticity Inc.

All Featured Speakers and Moderators

Tracy Packiam Alloway, PhD, Director of the Center for Memory and Learning in the Lifespan, the University of Stirling, UK

Tracy was recently awarded the prestigious Joseph Lister Award by the British Science Association for her contribution to science. Tracy has developed the only standardized working-memory tests for educators published by Psychological Corporation, which to date has been translated into 15 languages and used to screen for working memory problems in students with dyslexia, motor dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder), ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She provides consultancy to the World Bank and her research has received widespread international coverage in hundreds of media outlets, including Scientific American, the BBC, Reuters, ABC News, and NBC.

Daphne Bavelier, Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester

Daphne Bavelier is a Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. Her work focuses on brain plasticity and examines the role of experience in shaping the functional organization of the human brain as well as in pushing the boundaries of behavior. She studies populations with altered experience such as deaf individuals, video game players or individuals using a visual rather than a spoken language (e.g. users of American Sign Language), and asks basic questions such as: Do deaf individuals see better? What is the impact of video gaming on vision and cognition? How does the use of a visual, rather than spoken language, change the cerebral organization for language?

Pro­f. Cary Cooper, Sci­ence Co-ordination Chair, Foresight Project on Men­tal Cap­i­tal and Well­be­ing

Professor Cooper chaired the Sci­ence Co-ordination team of the Fore­sight Project on Men­tal Cap­i­tal and Well­be­ing. He is a Pro­fes­sor of Orga­ni­za­tional Psy­chol­ogy and Health at the Lan­caster Uni­ver­sity Man­age­ment School, Pres­i­dent of the British Asso­ci­a­tion for Coun­selling and Psy­chother­apy, and Direc­tor and founder of Robert­son Cooper Ltd. Prof. Cooper is recog­nised as a world-leading expert on stress and work­place issues, and received his BS and MBA degrees from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, and his PhD from the Uni­ver­sity of Leeds.

Dr. David Darby, Chief Med­ical Offi­cer, CogState

Dr. David Darby is a Founder and Chief Medical Officer at CogState Ltd developing computerized cognitive testing instruments including for early detection of dementia and concussion in sports, and is also adjunct Associate Professor at the Centre for Neuroscience, and Senior Research Fellow of the Florey Neurosciences Institute, University of Melbourne. Prof Darby completed a PhD in neurology and neuropsychology and neurology training in 1991, and served as an instructor in Behavioral Neurology at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School from 1992 to 1995.


Jerri Edwards, Associate Professor, University of South Florida

Dr. Edwards’ research is aimed toward discovering how cognitive abilities can be maintained and even enhanced with advancing age. Ultimately, the goals of Dr. Edwards’ research are to extend the mobility and independence of older adults thereby improving their quality of life. She is particularly interested in how cognitive interventions may help older adults to avoid or at least delay functional difficulties and thereby maintain independence. Much of her work has focused upon the functional ability of driving including assessing driving fitness among older adults and remediation of cognitive decline that results in driving difficulties.

Dr. Martha Farah, Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Farah is the Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania and Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences. Much of her career has been devoted to understanding the mechanisms of vision, memory, and executive function in the human brain. In recent years she shifted her research focus to a new set of issues that lie at the interface between cognitive neuroscience and “the real world.” These new issues of interest to me include the effects of socioeconomic adversity on children’s brain development and emerging social and ethical issues in neuroscience (“neuroethics”), mood regulation, and decision making.

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Alvaro Fernandez, CEO, SharpBrains

Alvaro Fernandez is SharpBrains’ co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. He has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and others. Alvaro is a member of the Global Agenda Councils initiative run by the World Economic Forum, and recently co-authored The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. He started his career at McKinsey & Company and led the launch of several publishing and education companies in the US and Europe. Alvaro has an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University, and enjoys teaching The Science of Brain Health at UC-Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Lindsay Gaskins, CEO, Marble: the Brain Store

Lindsay started Marbles: The Brain Store in 2008 with the simple idea of finding the best brain games out there and putting them all in one place. Not just products for aging baby boomers concerned about memory loss and victims of brain disorders, but also anyone who wanted to improve focus and attention, enhance creativity, become better multi-taskers. Marbles opened three more Chicagoland stores in 2009 and four more stores in 2010. Previously, Lindsay was a Vice President at Sandbox Industries, a Chicago-based venture capital fund and incubator.


Adam Gazzaley, Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Gazzaley is a faculty member in the Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry departments, and principal investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory that conducts research on the neural mechanisms of attention and memory. A major focus of his research has been to expand our understanding of the alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. His most recent studies explore how we can preserve and improve attention and memory as we get older. He has received many awards and honors for his research, including the 1997 Cortical Scholar Award, Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award and the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging.

Ken Gibson, President, LearningRx

In 2002, Dr. Gibson founded LearningRx, a network of more than 60 centers across the United States and abroad offering cognitive skills testing and training. The company has been named to Franchise Times “Fast 55” and Franchise Marketing Magazine’s “Top 100 New Franchises,” as well as an honorable mention on the Franchise 50 list put out by Franchise Business Review.

Prof. James Giordano, Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies and Vice President for Academic Programs, Potomac Institute

Prof. James Giordano is Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies and Vice President for Academic Programs at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. He is also a Senior Research Associate, Wellcome Centre for Neuroethics and Uehiro Centre for Practical Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, and Visiting Professor of Neurophilosophy and Neuroethics at Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms’ Universität, Bonn, Germany. Prof. Giordano is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, and author of more than 120 publications in neuroscience, pain, neurophilosophy, and neuroethics. His ongoing research addresses the role of neuroscience and technology in medicine, social, and national defense applications, and explores the neuroethics of pain, pain care, and implications for the treatment of human and non-human organisms.

Evian Gor­don, CEO, Brain Resource

Dr Evian Gor­don, PhD, MBBCh, is the Chair­man and Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of Brain Resource. Dr Gor­don has over 20 years of expe­ri­ence in human brain research. He was the found­ing direc­tor of the Brain Dynam­ics Cen­tre at West­mead Hos­pi­tal and a senior lec­turer in the Depart­ment of Psy­cho­log­i­cal Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney. He edited the first book on “Inte­gra­tive Neu­ro­science” and has more than 160 publications.

Dr. Walter Greenleaf, CEO, Virtually Better

Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D. is a research scientist trained in Neuro- and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and founder and CEO of Virtually Better. His research, writing, and presentations focus on the use of simulation technology to improve physical medicine and neurological and cognitive rehabilitation. Dr. Greenleaf is known internationally as a pioneer in medical applications for advanced computer technology, and he has designed and developed several innovative products in clinical medicine in areas such as virtual reality, telemedicine technology, clinical informatics, point-of-care data collection via handheld devices, ergonomic evaluation technology, as well as rehabilitation technologies.

Muki Hansteen-Izora, Senior Design Researcher and Strate­gist, Intel’s Dig­i­tal Health Group

Muki is also the Intel lead and co-PI for the Tech­nol­ogy Research for Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing (TRIL) Centre’s Cog­ni­tive Func­tion research strand, which is inves­ti­gat­ing how inter­ac­tive media and gam­ing tech­nolo­gies can sup­port cog­ni­tion in older pop­u­la­tions. Prior to join­ing Intel, Muki served as a lead researcher at Philips Research Labs. He holds a degree in Cul­tural Anthro­pol­ogy from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Santa Cruz, and com­pleted his grad­u­ate train­ing in Learn­ing, Design, and Tech­nol­ogy at Stan­ford University.

Dr. Joe Hardy, Senior Director of Research and Development, Lumos Labs

Dr. Hardy works with a network of research collaborators from institutions such as Stanford and Harvard to validate and improve the cognitive training programs. Dr. Hardy has over 15 years of experience studying the brain, and has published 20 peer-reviewed scientific articles on neuroscience and cognition. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Cognitive Psychology and completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.

Kathleen Herath, Associate Vice President Health & Productivity, Nationwide Insurance

Kathleen Herath, RN, BSN CRRN, oversees the Health and Productivity strategy at Nationwide for the company’s 33,000 associates. She is responsible for the company’s integrated health and productivity program, which includes: health screenings, wellness programs, disability and disease management, health education, work life resources and walking programs and occupational health clinics. The Health and Productivity program at Nationwide has been awarded more than six awards in the last three years including the prestigious C. Everett Koop National Health Award and SharpBrains’ Brain Fitness Innovation Award.


Jonas Jendi, CEO, Cogmed

Jonas Jendi joined Cogmed in 2001 as its chief executive officer. In 2007, Jendi opened Cogmed’s North American headquarters in Naperville, IL, where he is now based. Prior to Cogmed, Jendi provided strategic consulting for the Boston Consulting Group in Stockholm and Paris, and held management and consulting roles for various technology start-ups. He holds a MS from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Dr. Jef­frey Kaye, Direc­tor, NIA — ORCATECH

Dr. Kaye is Professor of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). He directs the NIA – Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at OHSU and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He also directs ORCATECH – the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology. He currently leads a large NIH study using ubiquitous, unobtrusive technologies for assessment of elders in their homes to detect changes signaling cognitive decline is imminent.

Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., Pres­i­dent and Med­ical Direc­tor, Alzheimer’s Research and Pre­ven­tion Foundation

He is a grad­u­ate of Creighton Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Khalsa received his train­ing in Anes­the­si­ol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco, where he was Chief Res­i­dent. He is also a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les Med­ical Acupunc­ture for Physi­cians Pro­gram and has stud­ied mind/body med­i­cine at Har­vard Med­ical School’s Mind/Body Med­ical Institute.

Robin Klaus, Chairman and CEO, Club One

Robin has more than 20 years of executive management experience in the fitness industry, including being president and chief operating officer of fitness manufacturer Star Trac, chairman of Planet Fitness, and former chairman of American Sports Institute. Mr. Klaus currently serves on the board of directors of Napa Sonoma Summer Search. Mr. Klaus holds a bachelor’s in international relations from American University, a master’s in international economics from University of Pittsburgh and a master’s in business administration from Stanford.


Kenneth Kosik, Co-Director, UC Santa Barbara Neuroscience Research Institute

Dr. Kosik is the Co-Director of UCSB Neuroscience Research Institute and Founder of CFIT. He received his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, completed a neurology residency from Tufts New England Medical Center, and held various appointments at the Harvard Medical School. In the fall of 2004 he assumed the co-directorship of the Neuroscience Research Institute and the Harriman Chair at the University of California Santa Barbara. He has received multiple awards, including a Whitaker Health Sciences Award from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association, the Zenith Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, and a NASA Group Achievement Award.

Veronika Litin­ski, Direc­tor, MaRS Ven­ture Group

Veronika Litin­ski coor­di­nates the MaRS ven­ture ser­vices pro­grams deliv­ered to entre­pre­neurs, investors and high-growth com­pa­nies. She also pro­vides advi­sory ser­vices to entre­pre­neurs and high growth com­pa­nies, with a spe­cial focus on life sci­ences mar­kets, spe­cial­iz­ing in cor­po­rate finance and busi­ness devel­op­ment. Veronika started her career as a research sci­en­tist at Lawrence Liv­er­more Lab in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. Tran­si­tion­ing to the busi­ness world, Veronika founded a med­ical jour­nal, earned her MBA (Finance) at the Uni­ver­sity of San Fran­cisco, and worked in cor­po­rate finance with Union Bank and GATX Finan­cial Cor­po­ra­tion. Veronika is a mem­ber of Finan­cial Women Asso­ci­a­tion (FWA) and Finan­cial Exec­u­tives Inter­na­tional (FEI).

Henry Mahncke, CEO, Posit Science

Dr. Mahncke is Posit Science’s new CEO. Previously, he led their Research & Outcomes team, designing scientific research and implementing outcomes trials to advance the company’s product development. Dr. Mahncke did his graduate work and earned his doctorate in neuroscience in Dr. Merzenich’s lab at UCSF. He then worked as an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company. While at McKinsey, Dr. Mahncke worked with leading global healthcare and consumer products companies in devising market strategies. Dr. Mahncke has also served in the consulate of the British government as a Science and Technology consultant. He holds a BA from Rice University and a PhD from UCSF.

Alexandra Morehouse, Chief Marketing Officer, AAA NorCal

Alexandra Morehouse is a veteran of membership-driven organizations having spent more than a decade with American Express, as well as a stint at Charles Schwab before joining AAA nearly nine years ago, where she became Chief Marketing Officer of AAA’s second-largest club, Northern California Nevada and Utah, with 4.2-million members.

Mar­garet Mor­ris, Senior Researcher in Intel’s Dig­i­tal Health Group

Mar­garet stud­ies the ways that emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies can enhance men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing. She con­ducts ethno­graphic research to iden­tify needs and works with engi­neers to develop and eval­u­ate exploratory pro­to­types. Prior to join­ing Intel in 2002, she stud­ied tech­nol­ogy adop­tion in Sapient’s Expe­ri­ence Mod­el­ling group. Margie com­pleted her Ph.D. in Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy with a minor in Behav­ioural Neu­ro­science at the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico, her clin­i­cal intern­ship at the San Fran­cisco VA Med­ical Cen­tre, and her post­doc­toral fel­low­ship at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity. She has a B.A. in Eng­lish from Haver­ford College.

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Pascual-Leone researches the physiology of higher cognitive functions and the study of brain plasticity in skill acquisition and recovery from injury. He is also the Program Director of the Harvard-Thorndike Clinical Research Center of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Pascual-Leone obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the Faculty of Medicine of Albert Ludwigs University in Germany, and trained at the University of Minnesota and the US National Institutes of Health. He greatly enjoys teaching and is the recipient of numerous awards.

Lena Perelman, Director Community Outreach, SCAN Health Plan

At SCAN Health Plan, one of the largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans in the United States, Lena oversees SCAN’s community involvement programming, including the recently launched SCAN Van, the first mobile resource center built specifically for seniors and their caregivers. Perelman has more than 10 years of experience in healthcare and senior services, having worked at Talbert Medical Group, Secure Horizons and Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services. Perelman earned a master’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Paula Psyl­lakis, Senior Pol­icy Advi­sor, Ontario Min­istry of Research and Innovation

Paula Psyllakis is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, in Canada. From 2007-2009 Paula served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. Prior to joining government, Paula worked for the Alzheimer Society of Toronto as the Education Coordinator and before that, with individuals with dementia. She has a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics and is primarily interested in language processes and dementia.

Patty Purpur, Director, Stanford Health Promotion Network

The Stanford Health Promotion Network (SHPN) is an association of employers, health plans, medical care providers, and local government officials who aim to improve employee health and productivity through focused health promotion initiatives and strategies. Patty graduated with a BA in Psychology from Stanford University in 1989. In 1992, she founded TimeOut Services to offer personal fitness services and expanded to Corporate Wellness Program design and management. Her company grew to 100 employees and over 5 million in sales in 2008.


William Reichman, President, Baycrest

Dr. William E. Reichman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Baycrest, one of the world’s premier academic health sciences centres focused on aging and brain function. Dr. Reichman, an internationally-known expert in geriatric mental health and dementia is also Professor of Psychiatry on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is a noted authority on the delivery of mental health and dementia services in nursing home settings. His previous academic activities have focused on the pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and its associated apathy and negative symptoms. Dr. Reichman is a former President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation.

Peter Reiner, Co-Founder, National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia

Dr. Reiner’s current focus lies in the area of neuroethics, specializing in the non-medical impact of technology on the brain, with particular interests in the neuroethics of cognitive enhancement as well as the impact of modern technological society upon brain function. Dr. Reiner has a distinguished track record as a bench research scientist studying the neurobiology of behavioural states and neurodegenerative disease, and also was the President & CEO of Active Pass Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company that he founded to tackle the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. John Reppas, Director of Public Policy, Neurotechnology Industry Organization

Previously, Dr. Reppas was a fellow in the Department of Neurobiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Bio-X program at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Reppas is an expert in next-generation neuromodulation technologies, brain-machine interfaces, and human brain imaging. He is an advisor to early-stage life science companies and their investors, and also an angel investor. He graduated from Oxford University with a Bachelors of Medicine, received his MD from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and a PhD from the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.

Carlos Rodriguez, Chief Technology Officer, CogniFit

Mr. Rodriguez earned an Industrial Engineering Master Degree from the Polytechnic University Carlos III of Madrid, and is a graduate of the Grande Ecole INSA Lyon, France. Carlos began his professional career at Peugeot Group before joining the Uralita Group as a consultant in the New Technologies department in Madrid. Following this, Carlos joined the Consumer and Market Knowledge department at Procter & Gamble for 5 years, initially working in the Western Europe headquarters in Geneva before moving to Madrid, where he was responsible for overall consumer strategy design for several European brands and key distribution channels. Today Carlos is partner at Milk Capital in Paris and leads the CogniFit operations in Spain & South America.

Beverly Sanborn, Vice President of Activities and Memory Programs, Belmont Village Senior Living

Beverly has over two decades of experience designing and managing older adult services across the continuum of care, including healthy aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a Masters in Social Work from UCLA.


Lisa Schoonerman, Co-founder, vibrantBrains

Lisa held a variety of technical and editorial positions with the Thomson Corporation in the Legal Publishing division (now ThomsonReuters), beginning in Rochester, NY and then coming to San Francisco to work for what was then Bancroft Whitney. Lisa’s work for Thomson included a 3-year assignment in the UK, where she was Editorial Director of the group providing content for Westlaw UK, the first international application of the Westlaw database.

Dr. Gary Small, Director of the Center on Aging, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior

Dr. Small is a professor of psychiatry and his research, supported by the National Institute of Health, has made headlines in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today. Scientific American magazine named him one of the world’s leading innovators in science and technology. Dr. Small lectures throughout the world and frequently appears on The Today Show, Good Morning American, PBS, and CNN. He has written five books, including The New York Times best seller, The Memory Bible.

Nigel Smith, Strategy and Innovation Director, AARP

Nigel is responsible for developing decentralized innovation models for AARP and for consulting with business units in the execution of innovation processes. Prior to AARP, Nigel was the Director or Product Innovation for Visa USA. Other professional experiences have been with McKinsey & Company, Goldman Sachs Group, and KPMG. Nigel holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from Stanford University and a Bachelors in Business Administration degree from Howard University.

Joshua Stein­er­man, Asst. Pro­fes­sor, Albert Ein­stein Col­lege of Med­i­cine – Mon­te­fiore Med­ical Cen­ter

Edu­cated and trained at Har­vard, Yale, Colum­bia, and the State Uni­ver­sity of New York, Dr. Stein­er­man is a behav­ioral neu­rol­o­gist and neu­ropsy­chi­a­trist who com­bines patient care with clin­i­cal research in brain aging and cog­ni­tion. Dr. Stein­er­man co-directs the Einstein-Montefiore Cen­ter for Healthy Brain Aging and is the sci­en­tific founder of ProG­evity Neuroscience.


Yaakov Stern, Cognitive Neuroscience Division Leader, Columbia University

Dr. Stern directs the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Sergievsky Center and is Director of Neuropsychology for the Memory Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He also directs the post-doctoral training program Neuropsychology and Cognition in Aging, and is a Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology in the Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, as well as the in Sergievsky Center and the Taub Institute for the Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Kate Sullivan, Director of the Brain Fitness Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Kate Sullivan M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders at James Madison University. She has been a speech-language pathologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for 10 years where she recently helped launch the Brain Fitness Center (BFC), located in the WRAMC’s Military Advanced Training Center, to complement traditional care approaches.

Dr Michael Valenzuela, Leader of the Regenerative Neuroscience Group, UNSW

Dr Michael Valenzuela is a Research Fellow at the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales and Leader of the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at UNSW. His current research is aimed at understanding the competing forces of neuroplasticity and degeneration in the human brain, and includes studies of adult stem cells, animal models, neuroimaging, clinical trials and epidemiology. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Eureka Prize for Medical Research for his research on the relationship between dementia and complex mental activity.

Sophia Vinogradov, Interim Vice Chair of Department of Psychiatry, UCSF

Dr. Vinogradov is a Professor of Psychiatry in Residence; Interim Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health, Associate Chief for Education and Research, Mental Health Service, at the San Francisco VA Medical Center; and Research Co-Director of the Prodrome Assessment, Research, and Treatment program at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco. She received her M.D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine, obtained her psychiatry residency training at Stanford University School of Medicine, and completed a Psychiatric Neurosciences Research Fellowship at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center and Stanford University.


Thomas M. Warden, Vice President, Allstate’s Research and Planning Center (ARPC)

Mr. Warden is Vice President and Leader of Allstate’s Research and Planning Center (ARPC), where he helps set ARPC’s research agenda and manage its execution by 60-member ARPC staff, leading the development of significant innovations that contribute to Allstate’s profitable growth. In 2010 Allstate received SharpBrains’ Brain Fitness Innovation Award.  Tom is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has an M.B.A. from Harvard University.


Keith Wesnes, Practice Leader, United BioSource Corporation

In 1986 Professor Wesnes founded Cognitive Drug Research (acquired in 2009 by United BioSource) to offer this system as a service in clinical trials. Professor Wesnes has published over 270 peer-reviewed research articles as well as more than 20 chapters and literature reviews. He holds Professorships at the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK and the Brain Sciences Institute at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia.