Researchers at Spaulding are working on the future— today. In the past year, they have continued to strive to achieve dramatic results for patients here and around the world. They are focused on improving areas of rehabilitation treatment and care for neurological or musculoskeletal function, physical activity, inactivity, and exercise. They are constantly reevaluating the efficacy and delivery of new treatments through conducting applied research on new technologies.

Researchers at Spaulding have dedicated themselves to conducting a vigorous research agenda both in the hospital and in collaboration with colleagues at teaching hospitals and universities throughout the greater Boston area and across the country. As a result, researchers at Spaulding carry out their research in compliance with the strictest practices for conduct of research studies, and with the greatest regard for the protection of human subjects. Policies promulgated by federal regulatory bodies are applied to all projects and form the groundwork for all research activities carried out at Spaulding.

Research at Spaulding focuses on several areas of Rehabilitative Medicine including: Aging, Cardiovascular, Integrative Medicine, Motion Analysis, Muscle Cell Physiology, Robotic Therapy, Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, and Traumatic Brain Injury. These endeavors enhance Spaulding’s treatment programs, with clinical research results often quickly finding their way to the bedside.


Zafonte, Ross, D.O.
Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Vice President of Medical Affairs for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and the Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Chairman of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Zafonte is a leading expert on brain injury and has been published extensively on traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. He is an editor of the seminal textbook: Brain Injury Medicine. Dr. Zafonte is participating as the Principal Investigator in the TBI/PTSD national consortium and the Principal Site Investigator in a multicenter trail funded by NIDRR to look at the effect of an FDA approved medication on irritability and aggression in the TBI population. He is passionate about raising awareness and expanding the knowledge base of brain injury to improve outcomes and quality of life for the patient, family and community.

Research Interests: Novel uses of pharmacologic interventions to improve outcomes for the minimally conscious and vegetative populations, and to decrease irritability and aggression and insomnia in the mild TBI population. Development of MRI imaging techniques to precisely identify the area of the brain impacted by the traumatic injury. Use of non-pharmacological tools to stimulate the regeneration of neurons. Collaborating with the Department of Defense in the development of treatment paradigms for the returning veteran population effected by TBI and PTSD.

Giacino, Joseph, Ph.D.
Joseph T. Giacino, PhD is the Director of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology and Research Associate in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also a consulting neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Giacino holds the rank of Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and is Adjunct Professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions.

Dr. Giacino’s clinical and research activities are centered on the development and application of novel assessment and treatment methods for individuals with severe acquired brain injury (ABI) and disorders of consciousness (DOC). He served as co-chair of the Aspen Workgroup (responsible for developing the diagnostic criteria for the minimally conscious state [MCS]) and was co-lead author of the Mohonk Report, which provided recommendations to the U.S. Congress for lifelong care of patients with DOC. He currently chairs the VS/MCS Guideline Development Panel, co-sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and charged with revising existing guidelines for management of patients with DOC. He is principle investigator on a project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to develop novel fMRI paradigms to assess the integrity of language and visual processing networks in patients with DOC. He also served as  Project Director of a recently-completed, NIDRR-funded 12-site clinical trial of amantadine hydrochloride (AH) designed to determine whether AH facilitates functional recovery in patients with prolonged disturbances in consciousness, and was Co-PI of an FDA-approved pilot study of deep brain stimulation aimed at promoting recovery of speech and motor functions in patients with chronic post-traumatic MCS.

Bean, Jonathan, M.D., M.S., M.P.H.
Dr. Bean’s research is focused upon developing a rehabilitation-based disability prevention strategy for older adults. His work addresses both the identification of modifiable impairments which underlie mobility decline among older adult; and the development of rehabilitative interventions to ameliorate and prevent mobility related disability. He has received career development awards from both the American Geriatrics Society and the National Institute on Aging. His work is funded by the NIH and private foundations. Dr. Bean is the director of Research Education and Training for the Department of PM&R.

Research interests: Geriatric PM&R, exercise physiology, and musculoskeletal medicine.

Fregni, Felipe, MD., Ph.D., M.P.H
Dr. Felipe Fregni is the Director for the Laboratory of Neuromodulation at Spaulding and an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School. His current projects are focused on mobility impairments and chronic pain.  The focus of his research has largely been centered upon developing methods of non-invasive brain stimulation such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as potential treatment tools for certain neurological and psychiatric disorders. He is also interested in investigating the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of neuromodulatory tools in neuropsychiatric disorders using quantitative EEG, transcranial magnetic stimulation and neuroimaging. Finally, Dr. Fregni has a large CME course on methodology in clinical research and is also interested in developing new methodological approaches for medical device trials.

Research interests: noninvasive brain stimulation, motor rehabilitation for victims of stroke and Parkinson’s disease, pain reduction in patients with chronic pain, clinical research methodology, medical device trials, mechanisms of action.

Glenn, Mel, M.D.
Dr. Mel Glenn is the Director of the Spaulding/Partners longitudinal follow-up center for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS). The longitudinal follow-up program is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) through a contract with the National Data and Statistical Center (NDSC) at Craig Hospital in Colorado. By continuing to do follow-up interviews on participants previously enrolled in the database by Spaulding, we support a national database of patients with traumatic brain injury that is used to conduct research on all aspects of care. Dr. Glenn is PI on one such multicenter study: "Outcome of combined traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury."

Morse, Leslie, D.O.
Dr. Leslie Morse, DO, is associate director of research and director of SCI research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School. She also directs Spaulding’s Bone Health Research Program, and is program director of the Spaulding-Harvard Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center, one of 14 sites across the US selected to demonstrate improved care, contribute to a national SCI database, participate in independent and collaborative research, and provide SCI education. Her research, as well as her clinical focus, has been the care of individuals with SCI, with a long-term goal of developing mechanism-based therapeutic interventions to prevent and treat SCI-induced osteoporosis. To that end, she is studying the relation of adiposity and bone health (R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health); the impact of FES-adapted rowing on the bone health of people with SCI (a clinical trial supported by the Department of Defense); and the mechanisms of rapid-onset, SCI-related osteoporosis.  Dr. Morse completed her medical training at the University of New England and her residency in PMR at Boston Medical Center.  She is a clinical associate at Massachusetts General Hospital, a staff physiatrist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and an assistant professor in the department of PMR at Harvard Medical School. Author of more than 20 publications, she has received several national best paper awards, and presented her work nationally and internationally.

Research interests: spinal cord injury and osteoporosis; therapies/protocols for bone health in SCI population; effect of FES-rowing on bone and cardio health in SCI; bone turnover markers and evolution of bone health in SCI.

Schneider, Jeffery, M.D.
Dr. Schneider is the Medical Director of the Trauma, Burn and Orthopedic Program. His research focuses on long-term outcomes after burn injury.  He is currently working on the “Development and Feasibility Assessment of a Novel Gaming System for Children with Upper Extremity Burn Contractures.”  This research is supported by Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center.  This research is in collaboration with the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding and Shriners Hospital for Children – Boston.  Dr. Schneider is also involved in a project examining the efficacy of burn rehabilitation using a national data base from Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation. 

Research interests: Efficacy of burn rehabilitation, Burn outcomes, Burn rehabilitation technology.

Taylor, J. Andrew, Ph.D.
Dr. Taylor is the Director for the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at SRH which is focused on the study of changes in cardiovascular function associated with healthy aging and age-related diseases. Current projects, including several that are NIH funded, investigate the mechanisms of these changes as well as interventions such as exercise, statin treatment, and reducing oxidative stress to prevent or overcome cardiovascular declines associated with coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke. These projects employ a variety of state-of-the-art techniques, including micromeurography, Doppler ultrasound, Ultrasonography, signal processing, exercise testing and indirect calorimetry to assess aerobic fitness, and a variety of mathematical and statistical analyses to model and assess cardiovascular regulation.

Current research interests are control of cerebral blood flow in health and disease, specifically TBI; the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal effects of exercise training via hybrid FES-rowing in SCI; the cardiovascular effects of sleep apnea; the cardiovascular/autonomic benefits of yogic breathing; the physiologic transduction of sympathetic outflow in regional vascular resistance in humans.

Thank you very much for the care you have given to me. I have come a long way on a long road to recovery. Thank you.

Richard S.

New Spaulding Hospital

Spaulding Honored Again

Spaulding is once again a top 5 hospital in the US News and World Reports Best Hospitals. Learn More

Connect with us