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Our Story
Our Board of Directors
Our Team


Since our founding in 1986, we have worked toward our vision of improving the outcomes of patients with traumatic brain injuries. We do this through the development of our best-in-class, evidence-based guidelines, groundbreaking research partnerships, and educational outreach.

Our Story

1980s and 1990s

In 1986, Dr. Jamshid Ghajar and the board of the Sunny von Bulow Coma and Head Trauma Research Foundation founded Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) in order to support ongoing research on TBI.

In the late 1980s, BTF began awarding TBI research fellowships to young neurosurgeons at top universities to advance their research and foster interest in head injury.

BTF’s first evidence-based Guidelines for Managing Severe TBI (Coma) was developed in 1995. This pivotal patient care standard was the result of collaboration between a national and international group of experts dedicated to finding the best evidence to improve patient outcomes. In the two decades since, BTF has expanded to six additional guidelines, including Management of Severe TBI, Management of Pediatric Severe TBI, Early Prognosis in Severe TBI, Surgical Management of TBI, Pre-hospital Management of Severe TBI, and Field Management of Combat-Related TBI.


In 2000, BTF established the first New York State TBI trauma center tracking and compliance network with the New York State Department of Health; similar networks throughout the U.S. and internationally followed.

Then in 2002, BTF became the first organization to lead a university consortium to research the neurobiology of mild TBI (concussion) with funding provided by the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Six years later, BTF was awarded a second grant by the James S. McDonnell Foundation to lead another research consortium to examine the nature of attention and deficits in concussion patients.

A 2008 Department of Defense TBI Advanced Technology award funded BTF’s development of a portable device that detects concussion in seconds. Today, that technology is fully functioning and being applied and tested through BTF’s “EYE-TRAC Advance Study,” which tests 5,000 high school and college athletes and 5,000 military personal using BTF’s custom-developed portable eye-tracking device “Dynamic Visual Synchronization (DVS) Goggles”.

In 2009, BTF helped spin off Sync Think, Inc., a technology company dedicated to developing a commercial goggle eye tracking solution for concussion.

In 2011, BTF partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the “Concussion Definition Consortium-An Evidence Based Project” to create an evidence-based definition of concussion to help with the identification, screening, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of the condition. That definition has since been adopted by organizations such as the NCAA.


Today, BTF continues to focus on conducting innovative clinical research, updating its evidence-based guidelines, and working towards its goal of improving outcomes for the millions of people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries every year.

Alan Quasha

Chairman of the Board

Chairman and CEO, Quadrant Management

Alan Quasha founded Quadrant and is responsible for managing investments and overseeing the firm. In addition to his role at Quadrant, Alan is a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Vanterra Capital; is on the investment committee of Trilantic Capital Partners Fund IV; is a member of the General Partner and investment committee of Vanterra Transformative Energy & Materials Fund I, L.P; is Chairman of Carret Asset Management, LLC; and is Chairman of Brean Capital.

During his extensive career, Alan has invested in numerous companies in the U.S. and emerging markets. Many of these investments involved restructuring and turnaround situations requiring significant hands-on operating experience.

Additionally, Alan is Chairman of the Brain Trauma Foundation and Chairman of Rumi Scientific. Alan holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College, an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master of Law degree from New York University Law School, and a Doctorate of Law from the Harvard Law School.

François M. Chateau 

Partner, Dentons

François Chateau is a partner in Dentons' New York office, where he works closely with the Firm's global managing partner and Global Board on strategic development and management. He was previously Global Vice Chairman of Dentons and Chairman of the Global Board of legacy firm Salans, which he helped lead through the combination that created Dentons.

François is engaged in the representation of French and other European companies in the US, as well as US companies investing in Europe in general and France in particular. As a successful entrepreneur, François has extensive experience in contract negotiations, intellectual property issues, international tax planning, joint ventures, licensing and distributions agreements, venture capital and venture development. In addition to his transnational work, Mr. Chateau acts as an adviser to wealthy multinational families and individuals in their business affairs and as trustee for family trusts.

As a dual French and US citizen, François is very active in the French-American community in the US and is a Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite in France. In addition to his role on Brain Trauma Foundation’s board, Francois is a Trustee of the Naked Heart Foundation and is a Board member of Interaudi Bank.

Jamshid Ghajar

President, Brain Trauma Foundation

Jamshid Ghajar MD, PhD, FACS, is a board certified neurosurgeon, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center and President of the Brain Trauma Foundation.

He completed the MD/PhD program at Cornell University Medical College. During his residency training in neurosurgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Jam invented and patented several neurosurgical devices that are currently used worldwide. After residency, he joined the faculty at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and was a founder of the Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) in 1986.

Paul J. Manafort

Partner, DMP International, LLC

Paul Manafort, an attorney and a founding partner of DMP International, LLC, has been active in business, government and international affairs for over three decades with specialization in providing strategic advice and raising capital for young companies, as well as in project finance, trade, tax matters and geopolitics. Prior to founding Davis Manafort, Paul directed the international affairs activities at Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly for 15 years.

Paul has provided political counsel to Republican candidates and managed numerous state and national Republican campaigns including those of Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush. Additionally, Paul has provided strategic advice to political candidates in over 74 countries since 1981.

Additionally, Paul is serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Study of Democratic Institutions and the Center for Democracy; is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Director of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); and is on the Investment Policy Advisory Committee (INPAC) at the Office of the US Trade Representative.

Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Public Administration and a Juris Doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Pamela J. Newman

President and CEO of The Newman Team, AON plc

Pamela is an international insurance broker specializing in Fortune 500 clients worldwide. She is President and CEO of The Newman Team at Aon PLC, which believes superior client service is a religion.

Additionally, Pamela is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of NY. She is on the Board of the Police Athletic League of New York; is on the Corporate Board of Carnegie Hall; is a member of the Associate Committee of the Julliard School; is a member of the Women’s Medical Center Advisory Board of New York Presbyterian Hospital - Cornell Medical Center; is on the Board of the New York Citizens Budget Commission; and is on the Board of the PCI Media Impact.

Pamela Newman earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Michigan. During her years in academia, she received a three-year teaching fellowship and was awarded the Horace A. Rackham Doctoral Research Grant.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Actress, Pretty Matches Productions

Sarah Jessica Parker is an American actress, producer, and designer best known for her leading role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO television series Sex and the City. She was also an executive producer on the show, and won two Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2001 and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2004.

Sarah Jessica made her Broadway debut in 1976 at age 11, in the revival of The Innocents, before going on to star in the title role of the Broadway musical Annie in 1979. Among her many roles, she is particularly known for the films Footloose, L.A. Story, Honeymoon in Vegas, Hocus Pocus, Ed Wood, The First Wives Club, and The Family Stone. In addition to her two Emmy wins, she has also won four Golden Globe Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

In addition to acting, Sarah Jessica is considered a style icon with immense commercial appeal, and has worked with the Gap and been named the Council of Fashion Designers of America's "Fashion Icon of the Year." She also has a successful fragrance line, sold through her company SJP Beauty, and a line of shoes called the SJP Collection.

George Soros

Founder, Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations

George Soros is founder and chair of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations. Born in Budapest in 1930, he survived the Nazi occupation during World War II and fled communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. He then settled in the United States, where he accumulated a large fortune through the international investment fund he founded and managed.

George has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began providing funds to help black students attend Cape Town University in apartheid South Africa. The Open Society Foundations today operate in more than 100 countries, working to promote the values of open society, human rights, and transparency.

Soros is the author of over a dozen books, including The Tragedy of the European Union (2014). His articles and essays on politics, society, and economics regularly appear in major newspapers and magazines around the world.

Elizabeth van Merkensteijn


Elizabeth van Merkensteijn began her business career at Young and Rubicam as an assistant commercial producer, leaving in 1995 as a Senior Producer. Sample clients included the US Postal Service, AT&T, Colgate Palmolive, Warner Lambert, Dr. Pepper and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Elizabeth came on the board of BTF in 2005

Elizabeth went to the University of Vermont, graduating with a BA in Art History and English. She continued her education at Columbia University graduating with a MA in English and Comparative Literature.

Deborah Ward

Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties

Following a long career in the apparel industry, Deborah changed fields and currently works as a residential real estate broker. She is affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties in Greenwich, CT. She has been ranked in the top 2% of brokers nationally. Deborah has been recognized with the Chairman's Circle Gold Award and the President's Circle Gold Award.

Deborah graduated from Boston College with a BS in Finance and Marketing.

Christina Hom Wilson


Charitable work and Philanthropy have always been a major part of Christina’s life. She has been honored for her philanthropy by the Simon Weisenthal Center and Hearts and Hope. She has served on the Boards of Florence Fuller Child Development Centers and Honey Shine Mentoring. Currently, Christina is an Advisory Board Member to the Childrens’ Cancer Caring Centers and active with the Parent’s Leadership Council at Boston College.

Jamshid Ghajar



Jamshid Ghajar MD, PhD, FACS, is a board certified neurosurgeon, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center and President of the Brain Trauma Foundation.

He completed the MD/PhD program at Cornell University Medical College. During his residency training in neurosurgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Jam invented and patented several neurosurgical devices that are currently used worldwide. After residency, he joined the faculty at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and was a founder of the Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) in 1986.

Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner


Chief Operating Officer

Stephanie A. Kolakowsky-Hayner, PhD, CBIST, FACRM is the Chief Operating Officer at the Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF). She is also BTF’s Principal Investigator (PI) on the Brain Trauma Evidence-based Consortium (BTEC) project funded by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and Site-PI on the Fort Hood arm of Eye Tracking Rapid Attention Computation Advance study.

Dr. Kolakowsky-Hayner serves as the Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of the Brain Injury Association of California. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists’ Board of Governors and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Board of Governors. Stephanie is the Vocational-Community Issues Panel Chair for the Brain Injury Association of America and Mount Sinai’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation and Chronic Disease Management of Adults with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury development project. She also serves on the Community Advisory Board of the DOD-funded Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium and as the Co-Chair of the 4th Federal Interagency Conference on Traumatic Brain Injury.

Stephanie has over 20 years progressively independent experience in research related activities including literature review, database creation and maintenance, data collection, data cleaning, statistical analyses, coordination of multi-site research projects, maintaining project integrity, dissemination of findings, editing, supervision of junior and senior level research staff and students, and report, manuscript, book chapter, and grant writing.

Until March 2015, she was the Director of Rehabilitation Research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in San Jose, CA, and was the Project Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research funded Northern California Traumatic Brain Injury Model System of Care Follow-up Center and the Northern California Spinal Cord Injury Model System of Care Follow-up Center, and the Partnering-PI for the DoD-funded study of rTMS: A Treatment to Restore Function after Severe TBI; a project to improve functional recovery for persons remaining in vegetative or minimally conscious state 3 to 12 months after severe TBI. In her role at SCVMC she oversaw the brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, and amputee peer support programs with over 100 active participants and was also instrumental in securing funding for TBI Matters, a community-based quarterly education series.

To date, Dr. Kolakowsky-Hayner has made more than 180 professional presentations and published over 170 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and other information materials for professionals and consumers with disabilities.

Sheri Macdonald

Chief Development Officer

Sheri Macdonald is a proud graduate from Santa Clara University. A life-long competitive athlete and community advocate, she is actively involved with: The SCU Bronco Bench Foundation, The San Jose Earthquakes Community Fund, The San Jose Sharks Foundation, The Evolution Sports Expos, The Silicon Valley Capital Club’s Charity Committee and Celebrity Bartenders, The Pan-Hellenic Council, The Electronic Music Alliance (EMA), and economic development and health and human services efforts with a plethora of Northern CA Mayors, City Council Members, Board of Supervisors, State Assembly and Congressional Members. She has also worked with a multitude of executives from venture capital companies, institutional funders, and band of angel groups, consulting with and mentoring numerous entrepreneurs and Start-up CEO’s on business development strategies and successfully securing investment capital.

Christopher Adams

Research Associate

Maya Balamane


Assistant Program Manager-Methodology

Rob Benigno

IT Services Consultant

Philip Celmer

Database Manager Consultant

Yamini Chandra

Finance Intern

Tavita Chan Tung

Office Manager

Dawn Collins


Clinical Research Coordinator

Chava Creque

Program Manager

James Duffy

Director, Strategic Partnerships

Ryan Duggan

Research Associate

Dakota Foard

Research Associate

Ara Froehlich

Staff Accountant

Soraya Ghahremani

Director of Human Resources

Christiana Gozo

Senior Research Associate

Theana Hinrichs-Cunningham

Clinical Research Coordinator

Eugene Jaw

Junior Biostatistician

Meredith Klein


Director of Outreach

Avtar Lal


Director of Methodology

Jun Maruta



Margherita Person

Senior Clinical Research Coordinator

Umesh Rajashekar



Nancy Ralph


Clinical Data Manager

Daniel Scheur

IT Services Consultant

Lisa Spielman



Irene Tseretopoulos


Staff Neuropsychologist