Weill Cornell Medicine Events

Neurobiology of brain injury seminar series

What lies beneath concussion symptoms and recovery


Douglas H. Smith, MD 

Robert A. Groff Professor of Teaching and Research in Neurosurgery

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA


Thursday, February 9thth

10:00 am - 11:00 am

45-minute seminar followed by 15-minute discussion


All are welcome to attend!




Abstract: Since the term ‘concussion’ describes a clinical presentation, but not underlying pathological process, it cannot be currently considered a true diagnosis. Nonetheless, mounting evidence indicated the mechanical forces of concussion selectively induce diffuse axonal injury (DAI) across the white matter, which is increasingly acknowledged as an important anatomic substrate for cognitive dysfunction.  We have recently found multiple evolving phenotypes of axonal injury that appear together within the same tract.  These processes appear to trigger a selection process that drives axons to either dysfunction and degeneration or repair and recovery.  Notably, these selective pathways depend on the extent of sodium channelopathy and microtubule damage in axons, which is found to be greater in female axons on average compared to male axons.  Finally, these early events may initiate chronic neurodegenerative processes that include protein misfolding in injured axons. 


Bio: Douglas H. Smith, M.D., is the Robert A. Groff Professor of Teaching and Research in Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition, Dr. Smith is the Scientific Director of the Big 10/ Ivy league Collaboration on Concussion and serves as a member on the Concussion Scientific Advisory Boards for the NFL and the NCAA.  Dr. Smith has also worked with the U.S. Department of State to identify a new neurological disorder, “Havana Syndrome.” Dr. Smith’s group has established that damage and dysfunction of brain axons underlie concussion symptoms and that this injury can trigger progressive neurodegeneration, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His research efforts are represented in over 250 publications. Recent awards include the Dorothy Russell medal, from the British Neuropathological Society, the William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Anthony B. Marmarou Neurotrauma Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.



This seminar series aims to create and sustain collaborations between clinicians and  researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine who have interests in brain injury. To join the listserv please send an email to sut2006 at med dot cornell dot edu.


Sudhin A. Shah, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in Radiology

Brain Health Imaging Institute

Weill Cornell Medicine

sut2006 at med dot cornell dot edu


Tracy Butler, M.D.                            

Associate Professor of Neurology in Radiology

Brain Health Imaging Institute

Weill Cornell Medicine

tab2006 at med dot cornell dot edu



Dial-In Information

Please contact sut2006 at med dot cornell dot edu for zoom details

Thursday, February 9 at 10:00am to 11:00am

Virtual Event
Event Type





Education, Research

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Douglas Smith, MD, University of Pennsylvania

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