Tom Van Vleet, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Brain Plasticity Institute; Research Neuropsychologist, VA NCHCS
My research program is focused on the design, validation and development of effective cognitive rehabilitation strategies to address core deficits in attention and executive function resulting from neurological injury or psychiatric distress (e.g., acquired brain injury, depression). Since the time of my training in neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology (Northern Illinois University, University of Chicago, University of California at Berkeley), I have examined functional connectivity and related neurochemistry in neural networks of attention, with special emphasis on disruption and recovery (i.e., neuroplasticity). In the context of my research, I have examined neuroplasticity at several levels: functional corticosubcortical connectivity analyses; pharmacological challenge following brain injury; the effects of environment on recovery; and most recently, the influence of computerized executive control training in adults with acquired brain injury and/or age-related cognitive decline. Findings from recent pilot studies suggest that executive control training may also benefit children (i.e., improving focus, enhancing learning). I am also a licensed clinical neuropsychologist and have worked with interdisciplinary teams to devise and implement treatment plans for individuals suffering from neurological injury or psychiatric disorder. The scarcity of effective cognitive remediation strategies to improve the lives of high needs children fuels my interest in this collaborative endeavor. Thus, I welcome the opportunity to work with other members of the Child Research Center to advance the work of this great mission.