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BIAA Names Winner of 2013 Young Investigator Award


BIAA Names Winner of 2013 Young Investigator Award
Recognizes promising up and coming researchers in the field of brain injury

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) announced today that Coleen M. Atkins, Ph.D., has been selected as the winner of the 2013 BIAA Young Investigator Award. The award is presented based on originality of research, promise for making significant contributions to the field of brain injury research, publication and meeting-presentation performance, and conducting research independent of the candidate’s mentors.

Dr. Atkins is currently an Assistant Professor at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where she is working with Dr. Dalton Dietrich studying traumatic brain injury. She received her doctorate in Neuroscience in 1999 under the training of Dr. David Sweatt at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, studying the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory.

In her nomination for the award, it was noted that Dr. Atkins “has established a cohesive area of independent research, typified by recent senior author papers in the Journal of Neuroscience and Neuroscience in 2013 and two senior author Journal of Neurochemistry papers in 2012.” It was also noted that “her work is focused on therapy development targeting hippocampal signaling pathways (phosphodiesterase, cAMP) involved in cognition, including treatments applicable to chronic injury. [Dr. Atkins] utilizes a wide spectrum of research approaches, from behavior to electrophysiology to cell and molecular biology.”

The long-term research objectives of Dr. Atkins’ laboratory are to identify the cellular signaling mechanisms that underlie synaptic plasticity during memory formation and to determine how these synaptic plasticity mechanisms are altered during TBI. Currently, Dr. Atkins is funded by the NIH to develop therapeutic strategies for learning and memory rehabilitation of chronic TBI survivors. She is highly active in Brain Awareness Week outreach activities as well as volunteering in her local community to promote the understanding of neuroscience to the general public.


The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the country’s oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy organization. Our mission is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education, and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury. Through advocacy, we bring help, hope, and healing to millions of individuals living with brain injury, their families and the professionals who serve them. 

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