Research Team

Dr. Uzma Samadani MD PhD

Uzma Samadani, MD PhD is a neurosurgeon and brain injury researcher at the University of Minnesota. She moved to Minneapolis in 2015 and was named to Minneapolis St-Paul Magazine’s “Top Doctors in Neurosurgery” lists in 2016 through 2019. In 2018 she was on the cover of the “Top Doctors” edition with the byline “The Doctor Will Save You Now.” In 2018 she also was awarded the “Courageous Women in Healthcare” award by the Women’s Health Leadership Trust. Minnesota Monthly dubbed her a “Top Doctor in Minnesota” in 2018 and 2019.

Dr. Uzma Samadani
Dr. Uzma Samadani

Dr. Samadani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Minnesota with a graduate faculty appointment in Neuroscience. She is also an attending neurosurgeon in private practice and at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center. She is the founder of the neurodiagnostic start-up Oculogica Inc, which has developed the first baseline free concussion diagnostic cleared for marketing approval by the FDA. She holds multiple patents related to brain injury, its treatment and its consequences.

She is on the Executive Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care and served as Scientific Program Chair for their meeting in conjunction with the National Neurotrauma Society from 2014-7. She also serves on the board and is President-Elect of ThinkFirst Foundation, the largest brain injury prevention foundation in the world. She is past Chair of the Minnesota State Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Program and a Past-President of Women in Neurosurgery.

Dr. Samadani has received more than three million dollars in research grants from national and international competitive funding agencies to study diagnostics, risks, outcomes and treatments for brain injury. She has been funded by the United States Veterans Administration, National Space and Biomedical Research Institute, Abbott Diagnostic Laboratories, American College of Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Thrasher Research Fund, Integra, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation and several other organizations.

She is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Her research on brain injury has been discussed in the New York Times, LeMonde, LeFigaro, Wired, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, and Minneapolis Star Tribune as well as numerous other media sources. She has been a speaker at TedMed, the North American Brain Injury Society, National Neurotrauma Society, American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting and multiple other conferences. She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers and an additional 30 reviews and chapters including in the Journal of Neurotrauma, JAMA Neurology, Journal of Neurosurgery and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Samadani also served as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant to the National Football League from 2015 to 2018.

Who is in the Lab?

Sharada Kadaba Sridhar
Sharada Kadaba Sridhar

Sharada is a student at the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program and is coadvised by Dr. Rui Kuang. She is researching the chronic effects of neurotrauma and will be working on developing objective markers to distinguish between and predict the chronic effects of traumatic brain injury versus those of other neuropathologies like Alzheimer disease, frontal temporal dementia, vascular disease, etc. using image processing and machine learning. Her work will be used for better prognosis and effective management of care for neurotrauma patients.

Dylan Sturtevant
Dylan Sturtevant

Dylan graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a Bachelor's after studying biology with a chemistry and spanish language minor. With a passion for healthcare, Dylan has worked as a research assistant, nursing assistant, and medical assistant through college, continuing to the present. He hopes to attend medical school in the near future.

Patricia McCracken PT, DPT
Patricia McCracken PT, DPT

Patricia McCracken PT, DPT received her BA from Bates College and both her Master’s in Physical Therapy and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Baylor University. As a Colonel in the US Army Reserve, she currently serves as a lecturer for the US Army Baylor Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy. Patricia works as a clinical researcher for the Center for Veterans Research and Education at the Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System working on neuromodulation research studies and rehabilitative adaptive design products. Her main projects are the E-STAND trial and the VA SCI Demographic Study

Atishya Ghosh
Atishya Ghosh

Atishya is a student from the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program and is comentored by Dr.Yuk Sham. Her work is focused on improving the treatment outcomes of chronic subdural hematoma, through the identification and localization of hematoma, and optimal drill location for subdural evacuation. This research will be translated to create a hologram-based neuronavigation system to aid neurosurgeons in the placement of the drill.

Zhuliu Li
Zhuliu Li

Zhuliu is a graduate student in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota jointly mentored with Dr. Rui Kuang. His work is focused on classifying the nature of brain injury utilizing multiple objective markers including cerebrospinal fluid around the brainstem on CT, blood based biomarkers, and eye-tracking data.

Brett Sterk
Brett Sterk

Brett is a second year medical student at the University of Minnesota who spent this past summer in our lab working on a project focused on predicting those brain injury subjects that will progress to brain death compared to those that will recover. He is currently finalizing a manuscript for submission.

Scarlett Cheong
Scarlett Cheong

Scarlett is a recent graduate from St. Cloud State University. She is currently applying to the University of Minnesota Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Scarlett is starting her research project focusing on early intervention on spinal cord injuries contributing to the outcome of patients.

Tory Schaaf PhD
Tory Schaaf PhD

Tory Schaaf joined the lab this Fall. He graduated with his Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics in 2017. His graduate thesis work involved the development of a novel drug screening technology with two small companies from Minnesota and resulted in a patent application. He has multiple experiences working on large-scale industrial projects. As a post doctoral trainee, Tory was also project manager at a core facility at the University of Minnesota. He was awarded a K12 NIH grant under the training research educators in Minnesota program, resulting in multiple publications and successfully funded NIH grant applications.