Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Meet our world-class Speaker Roster

Confirmed Speakers

Alvaro Fernandez

Alvaro Fernandez, CEO of SharpBrains

Alvaro Fernandez, named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, runs SharpBrains, an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science. He has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN, among others. Mr. Fernandez is the co-author of “The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age” (translated into Spanish, Polish and Japanese), and the Editor-in-chief of SharpBrains’ recent market report on Pervasive Neurotechnology and IP. Alvaro has an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University, and a BA in Economics from Universidad de Deusto in his native Spain.

Anu Acharya, Founder and CEO of Map My Genome

Anu is the CEO at Map My Genome, which just won the Innovative Healthcare Startup award at the 2015 VCcircle Healthcare Awards. A molecular diagnostics company, Map My Genome offers prognostics and diagnostics tests, and also distributes digital brain health solutions in India. Anu was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and serves on the WEF’s Global Agenda Council as a member of the Personalized and Precision Medicine. She served as a governing board member at CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and currently serves as a governing board member at the NIBMG. Trained at premier institutions such as the IIT Kharagpur, India (IIT) and University of Illinois, she has been awarded several awards by Red Herring Magazine, Biospectrum, and others.

Dr. Bruce Wexler, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try at Yale Uni­ver­sity

A Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try at Yale Uni­ver­sity, Dr. Wexler won the NIH Director’s Award for high impact, high inno­va­tion, par­a­digm chang­ing med­ical research, 2012–2016. Dr. Wexler is founder and chief sci­en­tist of C8 Sci­ences and cre­ated C8 Kids. He is also the direc­tor of the Neu­rocog­ni­tive Research Lab­o­ra­tory at the Con­necti­cut Men­tal Health Cen­ter, and a facil­i­ta­tor for the Coun­cil of Reli­gious Insti­tu­tions of the Holy Land, design­ing and man­ag­ing a U.S. State Depart­ment funded study of how “the other” is por­trayed in Israeli and Pales­tin­ian school books.

Charlie Hartwell

Charlie Hartwell, Operating Partner at the Bridge Builders Collaborative

Charlie helps fund and support the visions of social entrepreneurs who have scalable business models for applications, practices, products and tools that build bridges for mind-training. He is a Harvard Business School graduate who has led, founded, run and worked in organizations in 16 different industries. Previously Charlie was President of Ideas to Go, an innovation-consulting firm. His career has included Wall Street, corporate marketing stints at HJ Heinz and Pillsbury. In 1998, he formed yourexpedition, the first for-profit expedition company in U.S. history, launched by the historic Bancroft Arnesen Expedition across Antarctica by polar explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen.

Chris Berka, CEO and Co-Founder of Advanced Brain Monitoring (ABM)

Chris has over 25 years experience managing clinical research and developing and commercializing new technologies, is co-inventor of eleven patented and 14 patent-pending technologies, and served as the principal investigator or co-investigator for grants & contracts awarded by the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, ONR and NSF that provided more than $30 million of research funds to ABM. She received her BA with distinction in Psychology/Biology at Ohio State University and completed graduate studies in Neuroscience at UCSD.

Conny Lin, Research Scientist at FitBrains (a Rosetta Stone company)

Conny Lin, M.Sc., is a Research Scientist at FitBrains, a computerized cognitive training program by Rosetta Stone, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia, where her research focuses on the genetic components of learning and memory. At Fit Brains, she manages research collaborations and conducts in-house research programs. She has received numerous awards, including a Science Policy Fellowship at the British Columbia Ministry of Health, where she advocates for the value of big data in health policy decisions.

Conor Russomanno, Co-Founder and CEO of OpenBCI

Conor is an artist/ engineer living in NYC. He is an avid brain-computer interface enthusiast and has been working with commercial/ DIY BCIs incessantly for the last few years. on top of being a part-time faculty at Parsons School of Design, teaching Creativity & Computation and a course titled The Digital Self. He holds an MFA Design & Technology from Parsons School of Design, and a BS in Civil Engineering & Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University.


Danny Dankner, CEO of Applied Cognitive Engineering (ACE)

Danny runs Applied Cognitive Engineering (ACE), a cognitive simulations firm that develops specialized “brain gyms” to enhance the performance in high-pressure domains. Previously, Mr. Dankner was on the founding team of Kinetica Internetting Solutions, directed the Project Management activities at MobileSpear (a developer of a mobile services platform), leading projects in Singapore, Spain and Israel, and had a key role in the merger of G-sites and Box Interactive, leading to the creation of Scepia Internet Solutions – Israel’s largest solution provider. Danny holds an MBA in Marketing & IT and LL.B, both from Tel Aviv University and an Israeli Bar Diploma. He is a certified system analyst.

Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, Pres­i­dent of the Alzheimer’s Research and Pre­ven­tion Foundation

Dr. Khalsa grad­u­ated from Creighton Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine in 1975, and received his post­grad­u­ate 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. Dr. Khalsa is board cer­ti­fied in anes­the­si­ol­ogy and pain management

Douglas Ziedonis

Dr. Douglas Ziedonis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School

Douglas Ziedonis, M.D., M.P.H., is also President of UMass Memorial Behavioral Health Services. He is internationally recognized for his research addressing co-occurring addiction and mental illness, in particular tobacco and food addiction. He is Director of the UMass Center of Excellence (COE) in Addictions and Co-Director of the UMass COE in Neurosciences. He and his research team have been well-funded by NIH, SAMHSA, Foundations, Veteran Affairs (VA), and state research grants, and his studies include developing and evaluating medication and behavioral therapy approaches and organizational change interventions.

Eduardo Briceño, CEO of Mind­set Works

Eduardo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Mindset Works, which he started with Carol Dweck, Lisa Blackwell and others, to help people develop as motivated and effective learners. Prior to Mindset Works, Eduardo was an Education Pioneers Fellow at New Leaders, a Principal with the Sprout Group,and an analyst with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Eduardo holds MBA and M.A. in Education degrees from Stanford University, and bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Glenn Morrison, Director of Clinical Trials at Lumos Labs

Glenn Morrison, PhD, is the Director of Clinical Trials at Lumos Labs. Co-author of the just published paper “Reliability and validity of the NeuroCognitive Performance Test, a web-based neuropsychological assessment,” Glenn brings to Lumos Labs his proven clinical development experience designing, implementing and conducting clinical trials in US and Internationally. Previously he was the Principal Clinical Scientist and Global Development Team Lead CNS at Genentech/Roche. Glenn completed his PhD in Neuroscience at University of Toronto.

Dr. Graeme Moffat, Direc­tor of Sci­en­tific & Reg­u­la­tory Affairs at InteraXon

Graeme leads health and neuroscience R&D at InteraXon, the maker of Muse: the brain sensing headband. Prior to joining InteraXon, he served as Managing Editor of the Frontiers journal series under the Nature Publishing Group, covering Neuroscience, Neurology and Psychiatry. Graeme’s experience includes research engineering with CNRS (France) and Neurelec/Oticon Medical on hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as clinical trial development. He holds a PhD in neuroscience from Université Aix-Marseille and a BSc in physics from McMaster University, and is currently a fellow of the Ontario Centres of Excellence in Toronto.

Ita­mar Lesu­isse, CEO & Co-Founder of Peak

Ita­mar Lesu­isse is the co-founder and CEO at Peak (pre­vi­ously Brain­Bow), a mobile brain train­ing plat­form with global aspi­ra­tions launched in Asia Pacific and Europe to great suc­cess. Prior to Brain­Bow, Ita­mar was founder at Scov­ille and Kukunu, sold in 2013, worked on Euro­pean ePay­ments at VISA, launched new prod­uct lines in the UK at, and worked at The Boston Con­sult­ing Group. He hols mul­ti­ple patents and Mas­ter in CS and Elec­tron­ics Engi­neer­ing from Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa.


Dr. Jennifer Buss, Assistant Vice President of Science and Technology at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Dr. Buss over­sees the con­tract work and per­son­nel in the S&T Pol­icy Divi­sion at the Potomac Insti­tute, man­ag­ing a vari­ety of OSD pro­grams includ­ing an out­reach effort for the Depart­ment of Defense to the start-up com­mu­nity. Addi­tion­ally, Dr. Buss is the Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Neu­rotech­nol­ogy Stud­ies (CNS) at the Potomac Insti­tute for Pol­icy Stud­ies, a center dedicated to ascribing meaningful policy solutions to one of the most influential science and technologies of our time. Dr. Buss earned a doc­tor­ate in bio­chem­istry from the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Depart­ment of Chem­istry and Bio­chem­istry. Dr. Buss received her BS in bio­chem­istry with a minor in math­e­mat­ics from the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware.


Joan Severson, President of Digital Artefacts

Joan Severson is the President of Digital Artefacts, the developer of iPad app BrainBaseline. The firm specializes in research and development of interactive computer graphics and 3D modeling and real-time visualization and simulation of interactive geo-specific and other virtual environments. Joan has collaborated with and/or directed research and development of scientific animations, virtual environments, user interfaces and software for the Smithsonian NMAH, the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, NOAA, the National Institutes of Health, behavioral researchers (psychologists and neurologists) corporate and university research and development organizations.

José Barrios, Co-Founder & CEO of Cognilab

José Barrios is a Mexican-born entrepreneur with a passion for the mind, brain and machines, working with the world’s top universities to design a new system to allow psychologists to collect, store, and study the human mind through crowdsourcing. Cognilab is a new research suite for the scientific study of the human mind, powering some of world’s top research laboratories at Harvard, McGill and MIT, among others, with a mission to streamline the creation, distribution and analysis of advanced behavioural and brain science research.

Kate Sul­li­van, Direc­tor of the Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter at Wal­ter Reed National Mil­i­tary Med­ical Cen­ter

Kate Sul­li­van, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS, is the Direc­tor of the Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter, Wal­ter Reed National Mil­i­tary Med­ical Cen­ter. She 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. Madeleine S Goodkind, staff psychologist at the New Mexico VA Health Care System

Madeleine Goodkind is a staff psychologist at the New Mexico VA Health Care System and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Her clinical work focuses on treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. She has published scientific articles on emotional and neurobiological underpinnings of psychiatric and neurological conditions and on transdiagnostic processes in psychiatric illnesses. She completed her PhD in clinical psychology and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Palo Alto VA and Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Majid Fotuhi, Chair­man of Mem­o­syn Neu­rol­ogy Insti­tute

Dr. Majid Fotuhi is Chair­man of Mem­o­syn Neu­rol­ogy Insti­tute, Med­ical Direc­tor of Neu­roGrow Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter, and Affil­i­ate Staff at Johns Hop­kins Howard County Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal. Dr. Fotuhi received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School, and his doctoral PhD degree in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He lectures at Harvard Medical School, and has been an active member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Medical Association, International Brain Research Organization, and Society for Neuroscience.

Mark Baxter, General Manager of FitBrains (a Rosetta Stone company)

Mark Baxter is the new GM of FitBrains, which was acquired by Rosetta Stone in December of 2013. Prior to the acquisition, Mark was VP Product & Creative and Co-founder of Vivity Labs, a developer of life-relevant gaming experiences across Mobile, Web & Social platforms, the creator of Fit Brains, a popular casual brain gaming platform. As someone who believes that games have great potential to be a powerful medium for self-improvement, he has been in the games & digital media industry for more than 13 years as a designer and producer of AAA, casual, mobile and social games.

Michael Meagher, Pres­i­dent of Cogniciti

Michael Meagher runs Cogniciti, the cognitive health spin-off from research center and hospital Baycrest up in Ontario, Canada. His experience has been a mix of serial entrepreneur and corporate executive. His career began with a 9-year stint in Procter & Gamble, and continued by running 5 successful business services firms where he helped create more than 3,000 net new jobs. Michael has been a lecturer at the Ivey School of Business, co-authored a book on environmental marketing, managed a successful federal election campaign, chaired and served on numerous Boards, and received multiple awards from the Young Presidents Organization.

Nikhil Sri­ra­man, IP Analyst at SharpBrains

Nikhil Sri­ra­man is a patent attor­ney admit­ted to prac­tice before the United States Patent and Trade­mark Office (USPTO). Nikhil has held posi­tions at the USPTO, IP law firms and in-house at For­tune 500 com­pa­nies. He cur­rently serves as Primal’s Vice Pres­i­dent of Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty, as well as Sharp­Brains’ Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty Analyst. With degrees by DePaul University College of Law and University of Michigan, Nikhil’s professional experience includes legal and engineering work at Ford and Johnson Controls.

Dr. Peter Delahunt, Research Scientist at Posit Science

At Posit Science, Dr. Delahunt helps develop core computer-based training exercises for BrainHQ and other Posit Science applications. His research focuses on the effects of aging on visual perception, investigating cognitive training options for driving safety in drivers both young and old, and reversing declines in visual performance using computer-based training in normal aging and clinical populations. He earned his PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Brig. General Pete Palmer (Retired), Director of the EDGE Innovation Network

Prior to joining General Dynamics Mission Systems, Pete performed over 32 years of active service as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, retiring in 2008 as a Brigadier General. During his career with the Army, Pete was assigned to serve as the Director of Accelerated Capabilities Development for the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC), where he helped champion the Army’s push into understanding and improving the relationship between the soldier and technology. Pete’s experience as a thought leader in Human Dimension has kept him at the forefront of technology discovery and allowed him to interact with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), industry and academia

J. Peter Kissinger, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety

J. Peter Kissinger joined the Foundation as CEO in May of 2002. The Foun­da­tion is a pub­licly sup­ported, char­i­ta­ble research and edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion that was founded by AAA in 1947. Its focus is on “sav­ing lives through research and edu­ca­tion.” Prior to the Foundation, Peter was the Senior Vice President of the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF), the research arm of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and was also employed by the National Transportation Safety Board for twelve years, serving the last eight as Managing Director. Peter has a B.S. in Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy and an M.S. in Operations Research from The George Washington University.

Peter Freer, Inven­tor and CEO of Freer Logic

Mr. Freer has created and patented body-based brain monitoring rated #1 by Frost & Sullivan in 2015 for “New Product Innovation” in Cognitive Biosensors for Automotive Market. His team is working with major automotive and consumer electronics companies to integrate the technology to better monitor driver distraction and drowsiness. He is co-author of a white paper on Human Performance Management with the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations, and holds 5 patents (with others pending) related to human cognition and thought technology training. Previously, Peter Freer, MEd, created Play Attention, an interactive neurofeedback learning system.

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

Dr. Reiner’s cur­rent focus lies in Technologies of the Extended Mind and 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. Peter White­house, Pro­fes­sor of Neu­rol­ogy at Case West­ern Reserve University

Peter J. White­house, MD, PhD is Pro­fes­sor of Neu­rol­ogy as well as for­mer Pro­fes­sor of Cog­ni­tive Sci­ence, Psy­chi­a­try, Neu­ro­science, Psy­chol­ogy, Nurs­ing, Orga­ni­za­tional Behav­ior, Bioethics and His­tory. With col­leagues he dis­cov­ered fun­da­men­tal aspects of the cholin­er­gic pathol­ogy in Alzheimer’s and related demen­tias. He is clin­i­cally active at Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tals of Cleve­land in the Joseph Foley Elder Health Cen­ter at Fairhill Cen­ter, and his research inter­ests include the devel­op­ment of more effec­tive treat­ments for indi­vid­u­als with cog­ni­tive impair­ment, includ­ing drugs and non-biological inter­ven­tions, eth­i­cal issues in the med­ical pro­fes­sion and inte­gra­tive health care sys­tems

Dr. Randy McIn­tosh, Vicepresident of Research and Direc­tor of Baycrest’s Rot­man Research Institute

Dr. McIntosh is a pioneer in the study of how different parts of the brain work together to bring about the wide range of human mental operations, combining modern functional neuroimaging methods with mathematical modeling to characterize changes in brain network dynamics. He also has extensive experience with most neuroimaging technologies. At Rotan, Dr McIntosh leverages the scientific expertise at his home institute to contribute to the next five years of Brain NRG. In particular, research in stroke recovery will provide access to patient data to help build the Virtual Brain–which is poised to deliver the first open simulation of the human brain based on individual large-scale connectivity.

Richard Varn, Presidential Appointee at the Center for Advanced Technology and Neuroscience at Educational Testing Services (ETS)

Richard is focused on role of predictive analytics to help education gain proof of outcome and proof of value, and to gain efficiency in educational settings. In addition to work in building a Center for Advanced Technology and Neuroscience, he serves on the Work Force Readiness business development team and oversees Enterprise Resiliency Management. Previously, Richard was the Chief Information Officer for the City of San Antonio and the State of Iowa, among other responsibilities.

Roy Hamilton

Dr. Roy Hamilton, Assistant Professor in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Hamilton graduated from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001. During his medical training he pursued training in the field of noninvasive brain stimulation and earned a masters degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Health Sciences and Technology with a specific focus on neuroplasticity in blind and sighted individuals. He completed residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 and a fellowship in Cognitive Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.

Dr. Ruth Wolever, Chief Sci­ence Offi­cer at eMindful

In addition to her role with eMindful, Dr. Wolever is a clinical health psychologist and Director of Research for Duke Integrative Medicine. She conducts research on the integration of mind and body treatments into mainstream medicine. She also explores applications to improve sleep, eating behaviors, weight management, diabetes control, and cardiovascular risk factors, along with other health conditions. The curriculum she has developed and tested with rigorous academic methodology has been used by thousands of people who participate in eMindful’s programs.

Tara Thiagarajan, Chairman and Managing Director of Madura Microfinance

Tara’s interest lies in understanding large-scale human systems for the purpose of developing scalable, for-profit solutions that drive progress. She has a BA in Mathematics from Brandeis University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern,, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University. She did her postdoctoral research in neural network behaviour at the Section for Critical Brain Dynamics at the NIH and is a visiting scientist at National Centre for Biological Sciences.. She is also an Advisory Group Member at Ashoka Changemakers.

Tommy Sagroun

Tommy Sagroun, CEO of CogniFit

Tommy Sagroun is the CEO of CogniFit, where he began as the Global Product Manager overseeing client relationships, including the global rollout of a partnership with Bayer to help patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He started his career in banking retail at Societe Generale in Paris, and spent several years at Deloitte & Touche where he worked in M&A and auditing. He later left Paris and joined the New York branch of Barclais where he was responsible for business development in the biotechnology and software industries. Mr. Sagroun earned a Master in Accounting and Finance from the Academy of Paris, France.

Dr. Walter Greenleaf, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab

Walter Greenleaf, PhD is a neuroscientist and a medical product developer, known internationally as a pioneer in the medical application of virtual environment technology. He recently served as the Director for the Mind Division, Stanford Center on Longevity, where his focus was on advancing research on age-related changes in cognition. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Chief Science Officer at Pear Therapeutics and Cognitive Leap, and Medical Director for AppliedVR.

Zack Lynch, Founder and Executive Director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization

Zack Lynch is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO), the trade group that lobbies and advocates on behalf of companies involved in neuroscience, brain research institutes, patient advocacy groups, and brain research foundations worldwide. Previously, he co-founded NeuroInsights and several enterprise software companies in profit optimization and collaborative forecasting. Zack received an MA in Economic Geography, BS in Evolutionary Biology and BS in Environmental Science, all from UCLA.