The Abilities Research Center (ARC) is composed of expert clinicians and researchers from different backgrounds, all dedicated to maximizing the performance of individuals by implementing the latest technological solutions. Our goal is to find cures for chronic neurological disabilities or maximizing the performance of athletes.
- Mar Cortes, MD
Mar Cortes is a clinical scientist and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist with special interest in studying brain plasticity in relation with rehabilitation.
She believes in patient-centered care and in a deep understanding of neuroplasticity.
She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance, and Director of Neuromodulation at the Abilities Research Center (ARC); where clinicians and scientists partner with innovators and industry leaders using a multidisciplinary approach to help individuals achieve maximum performance and wellness. She is also a permanent lecturer at Harvard Medical School, where she teaches classes on brain stimulation and modulation of brain plasticity.
Previously, Dr. Cortes held a faculty position at Burke Neurological Institute (Cornell University), where she was the Director of the Human Spinal Cord Injury Laboratory. She completed a fellowship in Noninvasive Brain Btimulation at Harvard Medical School and has extensive experience in Clinical Neurorehabilitation in both Spain (Guttmann Institute, BCN) and the United States (Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Boston).
The primary goals of Dr. Cortes’s research are to understand neural plasticity and its clinical implications, and to develop novel individualized rehabilitation strategies to improve the quality of life for patients with neurological impairments. In her studies she uses a combination of brain stimulation and novel technology to promote recovery and quality of life in people with neurological disabilities. She also studies the effect of biophilia in mental health and brain function.
- David Putrino, PhD
Dr. Putrino is a physical therapist with a PhD in neuroscience. He is the Director of Rehabilitation Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, and an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Icahn Mount Sinai. He develops innovative rehabilitation solutions for adults and children in need of better health care accessibility. He also works with high-performance partners such as Red Bull, the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, and the U.S. Olympic team to use evidence-based technologies to improve athletic performance. He is the author of Hacking Health: How to Make Money and Save Lives in the HealthTech World. In 2019, he was named Global Australian of the Year for his contributions to health care.
- Adam Fry, PhD
Dr. Fry is an instructor at the Abilities Research Center (ARC). He conducts clinical trials for clients in health-tech and collaborates on a wide range of human performance research projects. The overall goal of his research is to improve performance in everyone from patients to athletic elitess. Dr. Fry obtained his doctorate in kinesiology from Loughborough University in England, after which he served in the departments of neurology and neurological surgery at Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook, Dr. Fry’s work focused on identifying electroencephalography biomarkers of neurological injury and interventions using brain stimulation.
Clinical Research Coordinators
- Leila Nasr
Born in the United States and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Lebanese immigrants, Leila speaks four languages: English, Arabic, Portuguese, and Spanish. She has always had a passion for helping others. Leila graduated from Lehman College in 2017 with a degree in exercise science, which she uses to improve the quality of life of people with physical disabilities through technology. Leila has many hobbies, including cooking for friends and family. She is working on a blog that features a collection of delicious, healthy recipes.
- Erica Breyman
Erica Breyman is a Clinical Research Coordinator II who works on projects investigating telehealth strategies and neurorehabilitation technologies for people with neurological injuries. She is also the Lead Coordinator of the Precision Recovery Program and Post Acute COVID-19 Program at Mount Sinai. Erica believes that research allows the opportunity for innovative solutions that can advance clinical practice. In addition to her clinical and research work at Mount Sinai, she also collaborates with community leaders as part of the Generational Youth Mentors program to provide young learners with equitable access to academic and socioemotional support. Erica holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry with a concentration in Chemical Biology from Brandeis University and will be attending medical school this fall.
- Sophie Dewil
Sophie completed her bachelor's degree at Vassar College, where she studied neuroscience and cognitive science. She has experience working as a research technician at Vassar College, The University of Indiana, and Columbia University. As a clinical research coordinator at the ARC, she focuses on investigating novel technologies and how they can improve functional capabilities in patients with stroke and spinal cord injury. She enjoys collaborating with other scientists, both within Mount Sinai and at other institutions.
- Aidan Rogers
Aidan Rogers joined the Abilities Research Center in February of 2022 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. His interest in neuroscience stems from his grandparents' experiences with neural trauma. He currently runs the Clinical Concussion Program here at Mount Sinai and coordinates a number of studies pertaining to neurorehabilitation including, but not exclusive to, stroke recovery and symptom mitigation. Aidan hopes to continue working with devices that create seamless solutions for patients and physicians by combining knowledge of neuroscience and datascience algorithms. Aidan's background is in engineering. He currently holds a MS and BS in Biomedical Engineering (Duke University 2021, George Washington University 2019).
Dr. Laura Tabacof
Laura Tabacof, MD is an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr Tabacof completed her residency in rehabilitation medicine at University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (US) and trained in non-invasive neuromodulation (TMS) at Harvard Medical School (US). Her mission is to treat people living with chronic pain using cutting-edge non-invasive technologies that target neuroplasticity. Dr. Tabacof spearheads pragmatic clinical trials and works with emerging health tech startups to validate novel therapies for chronic pain. In addition, Dr. Tabacof has multiple peerreviewed publications and has served as invited lecturer on rehabilitation to the World Health Organization, National Academy of Sciences and the Social Security Administration of the United States.
Abbey Sawyer joined the Abilities Research Centr in 2022 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. Her current research focusses on early feasibility work of brain-computer interfaces to optimize communication in people with neurological conditions, in particular, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis. Abbey passion for this field of research stems from watching her grandfather live with severe paralysis from multiple sclerosis during her early years. It is her hope that in the not too distant future, people with severe paralysis will be able to communicate and engage with their environment in the most meaningful way for them to optimize quality of life. Mostly recently, Abbey worked as a Post-Doctoral Trial Manager at the University of Melbourne leading research in respiratory care and sleep for people with ALS and other neurological conditions.
Abbey’s background is in exercise testing and training in people with chronic pulmonary conditions. Abbey holds a PhD (Exercise, Sports and Rehabilitation Science) from Curtin University in Perth, Australia and has extensive clinical experience as an acute care and outpatient-based physiotherapist (Bachelor of Physiotherapy, First Class Honors) in Australia.
- Gianluca Di Rosario, MS
Gianluca received a bachelor’s degree in sports sciences and a master’s degree in health and wellness at University of Brescia, Italy. He conducts research projects focusing on exoskeleton-assisted walking and posturography evaluations for spinal cord injury inpatient patients. He focuses on improving health and lifestyle through physical training, sports, and recreation activities for different categories of people. Gianluca helps both sedentary patients and athletes, as well as those affected by metabolic and psychiatric pathologies or cancer.
- Mark Boodram
Mark Boodram holds a bachelor’s in science from Hunter College. He has worked as a clinical research volunteer on the Mount Sinai Hospital Sleep Research Project for four years.
- Anil Ramparain
- Taylor Patterson
Taylor Patterson, previously a clinical research coordinator, completed her bachelor's degree in chemistry at Williams College, where she concentrated in pre-medical studies. She aided in recruitment and conducted ongoing research studies at Williams College.
- Jenna M. Tosto, DPT, PT
Dr. Tosto is a physical therapist with a doctorate in physical therapy from Temple University in Philadelphia. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and biopsychology from William Paterson University of New Jersey. During her studies, she completed multiple clinical and research affiliations at New York University Langone Health, New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. She previously served as a physical therapist at NYU Langone Rusk Rehabilitation, where she gained experience in adult acute care and adult inpatient neurological rehabilitation. Her areas of clinical and research interest include knowledge translation into neurological rehabilitation practice and the role of novel technology in motor recovery following neurological injury.
- Chung-Ying (Owen) Tsai, PhD, PT
Dr. Tsai is a licensed physical therapist in New York State and Taiwan and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Icahn Mount Sinai. He has years of experiences in exoskeletal-assisted walking for individuals with walking difficulties. Dr. Tsai is certified in using the ReWalk, Ekso, and Indego devices. He is also fluent in both English and Mandarin. His research focuses on investigating the effects of applying virtual reality and exoskeletons to aid in rehabilitation, and the biomechanics in injury prevention and movement skills for people with disabilities. His goal is to find the most efficient and effective approaches for clinical practice and evaluation to help people with disabilities recovery more quickly and thoroughly. Dr. Tsai’s research results have been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
- Jimmy McKay, PT, DPT
Dr. McKay is the Director of Science Communications at the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance and the ARC. He believes that science isn’t finished until it’s understood. He also runs a popular physical therapy podcast, PT Pintcast. Dr. McKay helps organizations including the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, and the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research get their messages to their target audiences. Dr. McKay holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a doctorate in physical therapy from Marymount University.
- Michael Kypros, PT, DPT
Dr. Kypros is a physical therapist who helps people with neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and Parkinson’s disease. He has treated patients in hospital, outpatient, and inpatient settings and is pursuing neurologic clinical specialist board certification. Dr. Kypros believes that neuroplasticity means that the brain is always changing and is able to adapt, allowing people to learn new motor patterns and regain patterns they thought were lost. He is dedicated to helping patients improve their quality of life and return to their prior function. Dr. Kypros holds a doctorate in physical therapy from Wayne State University in Detroit.
Speech Language Pathologists
- Courtney McSweeny
Courtney McSweeny is a Speech Language Pathologist who helps people with neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and progressive diseases improve their speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing abilities.
She believes all people deserve the ability to communicate with one another.
In addition to her work at Mount Sinai, Courtney works in acute care with patients in their most delicate states.
Courtney is a certified Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD) practitioner, helping people with Parkinson's Disease and other conditions find their voice and improve their communication.
Courtney holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Siena College, and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The College of Saint Rose.
In order to be an expert in her field, Courtney is currently working towards becoming a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.
- Mackenzie Doerstling
Mackenzie is a program manager who works on many aspects of the research studies at the ARC. Mackenzie believes that research is an invaluable foundation for innovation and progress. She holds a master’s of public health and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She has worked in a variety of settings with special populations, such as Division 1 athletes, cancer survivors, and those with pulmonary diseases.
- Patrycja Graczyk
Patrycja Graczyk joined the Mount Sinai Health System in 2016, working in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health as a coordinator for the World Trade Center Health Program. Currently, she is an administrative manager at the ARC and the Charles Lazarus Children’s Abilities Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital. Patrycja holds a BA in business administration from Brooklyn College, concentrating in Human Resources management and leadership.
The Abilities Research Center works closely with many collaborators who are affiliated with the Mount Sinai Health System and with others who are outside of the health system. We develop innovative solutions for our patients; we believe that interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and interinstitutional collaboration is necessary for successful, timely innovation in neurorehabilitation. Our collaborators include:
Within the Mount Sinai Health System
Thomas N Bryce, MD
Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
Kristen Dams-O’Connor, PhD
Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Neurology
David Dorfman, PhD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Miguel X Escalon, MD
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Martijn Figee, MD, PhD
Senior Faculty Member of Psychiatry and Neurosurgery
Mary Catherine George, MM, PhD
Clinical Trials Research Manager
Joseph Herrera, DO, FAAPMR
Professor and System Chair of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine
Vincent Huang, MD
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Christopher Kellner, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Helen S Mayberg, MD
Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry
Jessica Robinson-Papp MD, MS
Associate Professor of Neurology
David M Simpson, MD
Professor of Neurology and Neuromuscular Diseases
Ann M Spungen, PhD
Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Allison C Waters, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Senior Outreach Program Coordinator of Rehabilitation Medicine
Outside of the Mount Sinai Health System
Hao Su, PhD, ME
Assistant Professor at City College of New York
John Krakauer, MD
Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Gary Thickbroom, PhD. MSc
Visiting Professor in Neuroscience, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Cornell University
Gustavo Moviglia, MD, PhD
Professor at the Center for Research in Tissue Engineering and Cellular Therapy at Maimónides University
Dimitris Kiosses, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College
Hermano Igo Krebs, PhD
Principal Research Scientist at MIT
Marom Bikson, MD
Co-Director of Neural Engineering at The City College of New York and the New York Center for Biomedical Engineering
Dylan Edwards, PhD
Director of Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute
Tim Vartanian, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University