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Leadership

Ali Rezai, MD

John D. Rockefeller IV Chair in Neuroscience
Executive Chair, Vice President and Associate Dean

Ali Rezai, MD, is the executive chair of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, associate dean of Neuroscience and the John D. Rockefeller IV Chair at West Virginia University. A neuroscientist and practicing neurosurgeon, Dr. Rezai’s clinical areas of expertise include the neurosurgical management of Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, and behavioral disorders. His work at the Institute also targets important societal health challenges such as Alzheimer’s disease and addiction.

Dr. Rezai has led teams that have pioneered groundbreaking techniques and treatments such as neuromodulation and brain implants to treat traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, headaches, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders. His work has been widely recognized: the brain-computer interface to treat paralysis was published in the Journal Nature in 2016 and also generated front-page news in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times. In October 2018 the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute team and its partners conducted the first phase II human trial to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s disease using an innovative focused ultrasound technology.

Dr. Rezai has authored more than 220 scientific publications, has received several awards for innovation, and currently holds 55 US patents. His research in neuromodulation has led to novel therapeutic applications and medical device technology. He has trained more than 50 fellows and presented findings in neuroscience and brain health to the President of the United States and the United States Congress.

Karyn Wallace, MBA, CNMT, PET

Vice President

Karyn Wallace oversees all aspects of the RNI, including four academic departments, multidisciplinary patient care, outreach across the state and region, the research enterprise, and strategic plan implementation. She previously served as assistant vice president of neuroscience, a role to which she was appointed in October 2017.

Wallace previously served as the clinical administrative director of Radiology. Earlier in her career, she worked as a nuclear medicine technologist, a PET/CT technologist, and manager of PET/CT. She has an MBA from WVU and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology from Wheeling Jesuit University.

Randy Nelson, PhD

Director of Basic Science Research

Neuroscientist Randy Nelson, PhD, holds the Hazel Ruby McQuain Chair for Neurological Research in the WVU School of Medicine and is the director of basic science research in the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, as well as across the University. He also leads the Neuroscience PhD Program, one of the seven biomedical science PhD programs at the WVU Health Sciences Center, and serves as a professor in the WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry.

Dr. Nelson earned a PhD in psychology and a PhD in endocrinology from the University of California Berkeley. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Austin.

He came to WVU from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he was professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience. He held the Dr. John D. and E. Olive Brumbaugh Chair in Brain Research and Teaching and had a joint appointment as professor of psychology. Nelson was basic science director of the Neuroscience Research Institute, where he oversaw the research efforts of more than 280 neuroscientists at Ohio State. He also directed the Chronic Brain Injuries Discovery Theme as the faculty lead and co-directed the Neuroscience Graduate program prior to becoming the chair.

Nelson served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University from 1986-2001, when he moved to Ohio State. He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and 11 books, including “Introduction to Behavioral Endocrinology,” an internationally recognized textbook. Nelson was instrumental in developing the undergraduate program in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, as well as an undergraduate major and minor in neuroscience at Ohio State. He has received numerous national honors and awards, including the 2017 Award for Education in Neuroscience by the Society for Neuroscience.

Scott Galster, PhD

Vice Chair and Director, Applied Neuroscience

Scott Galster, PhD, is a psychologist who joined the WVU faculty in 2017 as a tenured professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the WVU School of Medicine. His work focuses on all aspects of human performance research, including physical, cognitive, behavioral, biomarker, physiological, environmental, and social measures used to assess an individual’s or team’s functional state. He earned a PhD in applied experimental psychology from The Catholic University of America.

Dr. Galster came to WVU from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, where he led research and collaboration programs on human performance and was the Senior International Focal Point for the 711 Human Performance Wing.

Prior to that he served as AFRL’s Applied Neuroscience Branch Chief, leading a team of 80-plus civilian, military, and contractor personnel focused on providing neuroscience-based solutions, augmentations, and capabilities to U.S. Airmen. He developed the Sense-Assess-Augment framework that is being used throughout the world to focus research efforts on applied problem spaces. He also is responsible for the co-development of Divergent Collaboration with the Wright Brothers Institute, featured in “Harvard Business Review,” and the “stitching” approach used within the Small Business Office at the Air Force to create large programs out of smaller efforts.

John V. Campo, MD

Assistant Dean of Behavioral Health and Wellness, Chief Behavioral Wellness Officer

Board certified in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Campo has been consistently recognized among America’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America. His scholarly work focuses on mental health services, including the delivery of mental health services in general medical settings, the study and prevention of suicide, and the relationship between physical and emotional health.

Marc Haut, PhD

Vice Chair and Director, Clinical Research and Education

Marc W. Haut, PhD, ABPP, is a board-certified, clinical neuropsychologist who most recently served as professor and chair of WVU’s Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry. He joined the WVU faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor and has been an active clinician, educator and researcher. In previous roles, he directed neuropsychology training and services and headed the psychology section.

In his current role he has focused on expanding clinical psychiatric and behavioral health services to underserved areas of the state through Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) programs and telepsychiatry. In addition, he is dedicated to expanding clinical services to address the current opioid epidemic. WVU is utilizing grant funding and collaborations throughout the state to expand Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) through the use of ECHO and a hub and spoke model. Additionally, he has been building the research infrastructure of the department to support development of novel treatment programs to improve outcome for addiction and other mental health services. He is working with Dr. Ali Rezai and others at the RNI to expanding the role of neuromodulation in the treatment of psychiatric disease, including addiction.

James H. Berry, DO

Interim Chair, Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, Associate Professor and Vice Chair, Director of Addiction Services

James H. Berry, DO, is director of addiction services and interim chair of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry in the West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is a nationally recognized expert in addiction psychiatry. He is the director of the WVU Medicine Chestnut Ridge Center’s Comprehensive Opioid Addiction Treatment (COAT) program and conducts training throughout the state on evidence based management of addiction. Dr. Berry received his Doctor of Osteopathy degree from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He then completed a psychiatry residency at the WVU School of Medicine, followed by a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at the University of Hawaii Manoa. He is board certified in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry.

Mark R. Lee, MD, PhD

Chair, Department of Neurosurgery

Dr. Lee joins the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute from the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, Austin, where he specializes in conditions such as epilepsy, Chiari malformation, brain and spinal cord tumors, hydrocephalus, spasticity and spina bifida. He previously served as the Allen Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta. Dr. Lee’s efforts and leadership in pediatric neurosurgery and epilepsy have resulted in the development of one of the largest pediatric epilepsy surgery programs in the country, and the use of many innovations and new technologies such as robotics and stereotactic laser thermal ablation.

Dr. Lee is included, annually, in the prestigious listings of Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors. He is board-certified in neurosurgery and pediatric neurosurgery. He obtained his medical degree and doctorate degree in neurobiology at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, completed residency training and a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at New York University, as well as an epilepsy surgery fellowship at Medical College of Georgia. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business.

Dr. Lee is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Council of Neurological Societies Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery, American Epilepsy Society, American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, American College of Surgeons and the Society of Neurological Surgeons. He has published nearly 200 papers and book chapters, and he served four years of active duty as a Major in the United States Army.

David Watson, MD

Chair, Department of Neurology

David Watson, MD, is a board-certified clinical headache specialist who serves as chair of the Department of Neurology and director of the WVU Headache Center. He joined the WVU faculty in 2008 as assistant professor of neurology and has been an active clinician, educator, and researcher. His clinical work focuses on patients with headache disorders, including migraine and cluster, as well as access to clinical care in underserved populations. He has also been active in clinical research focused on new treatment options for headache patients.

Dr. Watson earned his medical degree from the WVU School of Medicine and completed a residency in neurology and a fellowship in headache medicine at the University of North Carolina. In previous roles, he served as an assistant professor of neurology at the University Headache Center at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a clinical instructor in neurology at the University of North Carolina.

Watson is a member of the Government Relations Committee of the American Academy of Neurology and formerly served as the chair of the Grassroots Working Group. He founded and chairs Runnin’ For Research, a charitable organization dedicated to headache and migraine disorders research. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Palatucci Advocate of the Year award in 2017 by the American Academy of Neurology.

Victor Finomore,PhD

Director of Research, Development, and Data Analytics

Victor Finomore, PhD, director of research, development, and data analytics, also serves as assistant professor in the WVU Department of Neuroscience and an adjunct professor in the WVU Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Dr. Finomore received his BS degree in Psychology at the University of Dayton in 2003 and his MA (2006) and PhD (2008) in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cincinnati.

Prior to coming to West Virginia University in 2018, Dr. Finomore served as Technical Advisor for the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center at the United States Air Force Academy where he led a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers along with cadets to carry out cutting-edge research focused on improving human performance. Before his appointment at the United States Air Force Academy, Dr. Finomore was an Engineering Research Psychologist in the Warfighter Interface Division, 711th Human Performance Wing, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory where he focused on multimodal displays, human performance, neuroergonomics, and advanced technology integration for Battlefield Airmen, Command and Control, and Cyber Operators.

Dr. Ali Rezai, executive chair of the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, lays out his bold, new vision for neuroscience at WVU. Joining Dr. Rezai are WVU President Gorden Gee, Albert Wright, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia University Health System, and Clay Marsh, MD, vice president and executive dean for Health Science at WVU.

Research drives patient care at any large academic medical center. As stroke treatment has dramatically evolved in the past decade, WVU Medicine’s neurointerventionists have emerged as national leaders in their relatively new field. Here, Ansaar Rai, MD, WVU Medicine Radiology vice chair of clinical operations, discusses the past and present of stroke treatment.

Neurosurgeons treat their patients through the use of a delicate, targeted procedure; the best neurosurgeons are skilled at several. WVU Medicine neurosurgeon Robert A. Marsh, MD, PhD, says his best approach is unique to each patient, and considers wishes as well as needs.

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute