Who We Are

about

Raphael Center for Neurorestoration Mission

Our mission is to develop, refine, and make wearable and implantable neurotechnologies available to improve the mobility, health, independence, and well-being of children and adults living with chronic effects of neurological disease and injury.

Meet the Team

Mijail Serruya, MD, PhD
Director, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration
Vickie & Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Dr. Serruya has been working in neurotechnology for over two decades in a variety of roles, and has been issued multiple patents for innovative technologies. His goal is to make Jefferson/ Philadelphia a global destination for helping children and adults with chronic neurological disease and injury find new treatments to help them live the best lives they can. 

Ashwini Sharan, MD
Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery & Neurology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Dr. Sharan is a well-experienced neurosurgeon with a special focus in epilepsy surgery, Parkinson's Disease, chronic pain, and spinal implants. Throughout his career, he has held numerous leadership positions, including being the President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, President of the North American Neuromodulation Society. Dr. Sharan has a passion for innovation, and through design and discovery, seeks to provide all patients with solutions for improved outcomes as a part of their treatment plan. 

Alessandro Napoli, PhD
Lead Engineer, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Dr. Napoli leads the Engineering team that designs, develops, and implements innovative neurotechnology employed in our clinical trials. Previously, he led a multidisciplinary team of researchers with the objective of developing, calibrating, and field-testing a system for quantifying postural stability in people who sustained a traumatic brain injury or musculoskeletal injuries. The goal of his team is to develop innovative technologies to help patients with neuromuscular impairments improve their functional outcomes.

Mahdi Alizadeh, PhD
Senior Research Investigator, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Dr. Alizadeh is a distinguished Neuroimaging Research Scientist with a rich background as a biophysicist and biomedical engineer. He possesses extensive expertise in pioneering and implementing cutting-edge neuroimaging methodologies for the investigation of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and spinal cord injury. His research interests revolve around the integration of functional and structural MRI techniques, aimed at unraveling the intricate complexities of brain and spinal cord pathophysiology. Notably, Dr. Alizadeh is a recipient of NIH R01 funding, further highlighting the significance and impact of his                                                                translational research to improve standard of care and predict surgical outcomes.   

Vineet Arora, MD
Bench Nuroscience Program Manager, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Dr. Arora is an experienced bench neuroscientist with expertise in neurophysiology, neurogenetics, molecular neuroimaging, and sound theoretical knowledge about nuclear medicine and biophysics.

Mikael Avery, MArch, MS, OT/L
Lead Industrial designer, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Mike Avery is a designer, educator, maker, and licensed occupational therapist. He works and teaches at the intersection of architecture, product design, and health. He holds degrees in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Occupational Therapy. He believes that the true measure of a project’s success is evaluated by how well it aligns with the desires, needs, and goals of those who will engage with the objects, spaces, and experiences we create.  As an occupational therapist, he works to create client-centered care plans that support an individual’s participatory goals while residing in their local community. 

Tatiana Guerrero, OTD,OTR/L 
Clinical Research Coordinator , Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Dr. Guerrero is a research occupational therapist seeking to advance the research and development of neurorehabilitation technology. In collaboration with the team, she works to develop, refine and implement clinical study protocols to integrate innovative technology with evidence-based interventions to expand options and improve the standard of care for individuals affected by neurological conditions.

Erica Jones
Research Coordinator, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Ms. Jones assists in the facilitation of  the daily research operations of the Center. Alongside other leadership members, she focuses on short-term goals to achieve our mission and vision for the Center. She trains research staff, supervises staff, and oversees clinical trials from start-up to close-out developing and contributing to standard operating procedures and processes.

Michelle Keon, MBE
Project Manager, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Ms. Keon supports various projects in the Center.  Her primary role is writing, editing and managing research-related materials for submission to the institutional review board, federal government, scientific journals and grant programs so the team can focus on conducting their research.

 

Mehdi Khantan, MSc
PhD Candidate, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Mr. Khantan is pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering with a concentration in bioengineering, signal processing, and data science. He designs, develops, and implements innovative neurotechnology for clinical applications. He is researching organoid intelligence, brain-computer interface, exoskeleton design, and the in vitro recapitulation of brain circuitry by developing virtual white matter technology. Formerly, he led a research and development team that developed innovative laboratory and IoT-based hydroclimatology                    measurement systems.

James Lim 
Graduate Student, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Mr. Lim is pursuing a PhD in neuroscience and is focused on recreating brain circuitry in vitro to investigate the computational properties of neural tissues with preserved cytoarchitecture. His prior work involved generating human brain organoids derived from induced pluripotent stem cells for brain repair and elucidating its developing microcircuitry. In particular, he aims to utilize bioengineering and neuroscience techniques to develop an in vitro visual circuit to study experience-dependent plasticity.

Shirin Madarshahian, PhD
Data Scientist, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Dr. Madarshahian develops innovative technologies for rehabilitation purposes. Her work involves designing novel tasks that aim to investigate motor control, neurophysiological enhancements, and advancements in movement patterns following the implementation of innovative assistive technologies. In addition, they analyze collected data to help guide evidence-based decision making and the development of tailored rehabilitation approaches. 

Caio Matias, MD, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Dr. Matias is a neurosurgeon with fellowship-training in spine surgery and functional neurosurgery, which includes treating chronic pain. His expertise allows him to provide a comprehensive approach, focusing on each patient’s individual needs in order to offer the best treatment option. Based on this philosophy, Dr. Matias is able to provide different solutions for patients with chronic pain and spine problems, including decompression, spinal fusion, minimally-invasive approaches, as well as spinal cord stimulation. He also has a special interest in surgical procedures to restore function and improve the quality of life of patients with chronic conditions such as                                                        epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. 

Jennifer Rexon, PT, DPT
Therapy Manager, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Dr. Rexon is an experienced physical therapist who leads the clinical team, manages the clinical service line, and plays an active role in the multidisciplinary research team. Previously, she worked in outpatient rehabilitation providing patient-centered care for people with traumatic brain injuries, vestibular dysfunction, migraines and musculoskeletal injuries. She is dedicated to finding creative solutions through innovative repurposing of known and new clinical methods and technologies to improve people's quality of life.

Nabila Shawki
Biomedical Technology Developer, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Ms. Shawki research area is digital pattern identification, and hardware development. In the center she is looking at the correlation of EEG (brain signals) and kinematics (limb movement) data. With this data they will be creating clinical care tools to help clinicians decide the best intervention for the patient. 

Phyo Thuta Aung
Software Developer, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Mr. Aung is our Software Engineer and works with the neurotechnology research and development teams along with clinical staff to identify and develop all necessary software suites. In addition, he works collaboratively to integrate existing technologies into the project workflow such as signal acquisition sensors and motion capture systems, into our custom software.

 

Megan Vesey, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Ms. Vesey is the interventionist on several of the clinical trials, conducting Occupation therapy with participants.  In addition, she interviews potential participants to see if they are candidates for any of the studies at the Center. She is also developing protocols for future studies.  

Rachel Zarin, MBE
Biomedical Technology Developer, Raphael Center for Neurorestoration

Ms. Zarin designs and develops the device prototypes used in the center and performs testing to ensure they meet manufacturing specifications. She meets with clinical trial patients to collect feedback and iterates and adjusts their devices based on their feedback. She collates this information from experiments, procedures, and interviews to inform future research.