Ramon Diaz-Arrastia is ‘at the uncharted frontier of brain science and traumatic injury’

The Presidential Professor of neurology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, who began his post in 2016, is an innovative traumatic brain injury researcher.

Whether caused by a car crash, sports injury, or another severe blow to the head, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause severe, lasting physical and psychological effects. These complex injuries present differently in every brain, but neurologists like Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, are committed to finding the right treatment for the right patient. Since arriving at Penn in 2016, he has built a thriving program dedicated to studying the effects of TBI and combining imaging, genomic, and tissue biomarkers to develop more targeted, personalized therapies.

Ramon Diaz-Arrastia
Ramon Diaz-Arrastia is the associate director for clinical research at the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, where he leads the TBI Clinical Research Initiative. 

In addition to serving as director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Center and associate director for clinical research in the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, he was awarded a five-year Presidential Professorship by Penn President Amy Gutmann. 

His research, which is based at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, has not only showcased the value of an interdisciplinary Trauma Center, but it has garnered financial support from institutions like the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. In less than four years, Diaz-Arrastia’s team has received 11 federal grants, placing PPMC among only a handful of medical centers with such robust TBI and subacute brain injury funding.

“One of the collaborative studies we’re participating in is TRACK-TBI (Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in TBI). I’ve been involved since the beginning about 10 years ago, and when I moved to Penn, we became a TRACK-TBI site,” says Diaz-Arrastia. “There are 18 neuro trauma centers involved, and our goal is to collect highly granular data on the history of TBI in 3,000 patients and to identify biomarkers that will lead to the next generation of clinical trials.

“Our own research program also allows us to be more innovative and exploratory.” 

Read more at Penn Medicine News.