Our Team

Anthony J.-W. Chen, MD

Dr. Chen is a neurologist and neuroscientist dedicated to helping Veterans heal from brain injury. Dr. Chen has dedicated the past decade to serving Veterans and other individuals with brain injury through direct clinical care, innovations in care programs, and neuroscience-driven advancements in treatment.

As a physician, Dr. Chen cares for and is inspired by Veterans and other individuals who have suffered brain injury. He works collaboratively with patients and interdisciplinary teams of clinicians in both inpatient and outpatient settings to help each individual reach his/her goals.  Recognizing that the paths to wellness can be filled with challenges, he has worked to develop a ‘continuum of care’ to support Veterans in their journey from injury to wellness. 

As a neuroscientist, Dr. Chen has dedicated himself to inquiry, innovation and solution-building to strengthen healing pathways for Veterans with brain injury, post-traumatic stress and related challenges. He pursues solution-building with talented teams that have worked to develop cognitive training systems to strengthen cognitive skills and improve life functioning, while also leading innovations in functional brain imaging to elucidate neural mechanisms of improvements in cognitive functioning in order to spark new advances in treatment. 

Dr. Chen provides leadership and innovation by integrating clinical and research efforts: 

  • The Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience (VA Northern California and San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco): Dr. Chen founded the Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience in 2006 to bring together the best of rehabilitation, neuroscience, creativity and technology to forge care-oriented advances in neuroscience, with an emphasis on work that contributes to the continuum of healing and wellness after injury. 
  • The Center for Integrated Brain Health and Wellness, VA Northern California’s facility (opened in 2012) that supports Veterans in achieving cognitive-emotional-physical-social health and wellbeing.  This center brings together specialists across multiple disciplines, specially designed facilities, and links with the broader community of Veterans and those who care for them in order to provide the best possible care.
  • The Successful Transitions and Re-integration Program, an innovative intensive outpatient rehabilitation program that includes interdisciplinary support and community-integrated housing, with an emphasis on helping Veterans build the skills and networks that will help them succeed in school, work and other community goals.

After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in Neuroscience, Dr. Chen earned his MD degree from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program, followed by medical internship training in the Harvard Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Program, specialty training in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, fellowship training in cognitive neuroscience, patient-oriented research, and cognitive/rehabilitation neurology at UCSF and UC Berkeley, and advanced work through VA research awards.  Dr. Chen is on faculty with the VA Northern California and UCSF.

Tatjana Novakovic-Agopian, PhD (Rehabilitation Neuropsychology, San Francisco VA, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurology, UCSF).  Dr. Novakovic-Agopian co-directs the Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience. She led the development of the goal-oriented attentional self-regulation (GOALS) intervention and the Goal Processing Scale, and has overseen studies utilizing these tools for patients with brain injury and PTSD. Dr. Novakovic-Agopian’s expertise includes neuropsychological consultations and neurocognitive rehabilitation. She received specialty training at Johns Hopkins and UCSF.  She provides neuropsychological and cognitive rehabilitation consultations across the SFVA catchment area up to the border of northern California.

Mark D’Esposito, MD: Dr. D’Esposito is the Director of the Brain Imaging Center at the University of California, Berkeley, a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, and a Staff Neurologist at VA Northern California. 

Fred Loya, PhD (Assistant Director, Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience, Polytrauma/TBI Program, VA Northern California Health Care System). Dr. Loya is a rehabilitation neuropsychologist, doctoral graduate of the UC Berkeley Psychology Program, and post-doctoral fellow with unique qualification in training intervention design involving integrated digital game design and cognitive training techniques; intervention implementation; adaptation of interventions for individuals with different needs, including student Veterans with TBI, and for Tele-Rehabilitation; establishment of training methodologies and materials for training other trainers; rehabilitation-oriented quantitative and qualitative neurocognitive and functional assessments; and data analysis. A large focus of his current work is the design of technology-based tools to assist with cognitive training for individuals with polytrauma injuries– the overarching goal of this work is to provide practical, highly accessible, and engaging therapies to can be easily disseminated to individuals in need within their local communities

Deborah C. Binder, MA, MS, CRC (Research Associate, Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience). Ms. Binder is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and has extensive experience developing research intervention and assessment protocols, including training manuals, participant handouts and data collection instruments. She has expertise in the vocational rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, including  identifying barriers to employment and developing return-to-work rehabilitation plans.

Jason A. Deitch (Veteran Liaison). Jason is a US Army veteran and social science researcher whose work has focused on how veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars rebuilt social identity and recommitted to social institutions post service. He has been an active veteran’s advocate and community builder for more than a decade, beginning with his founding of UC Berkeley’s first veteran student group. He has designed National Medal winning veteran transition, benefits advocacy and educational programming on the civic, state and federal level. Jason was selected as a Bay Area Change Agent by the ANG news group in 2013 for his work creating programming to meet Bay Area veterans benefits information needs. In 2014 he was the Co-Creator of the War Ink Project, a multimedia exhibit of 24 California Iraq and Afghanistan veterans tattoo art, whose goal was to ignite meaningful dialogue between civilians and veterans. He is currently the Veteran Liaison for the Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience.

Nick Rodriguez, B.A. Nick earned a B.A. in Psychology from UC Davis, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work through the University of Southern California. He is a research associate with the Program in Rehabilitation Neuroscience. He is responsible for administering assessments, computer-assisted cognitive training, recruitment, screening, and scheduling. He leads participants through cognitive skills training programs, coordinates participant enrollment, designs and administers experimental tasks measuring working memory, executive functioning, and other cognitive abilities.

Erica Pool, B.S. Erica has B.S. from Yale University where she conducted research in decoding brain states, and reaction to threat. She has six years of experience collecting fMRI data at Yale University, the University of Geneva, and UC Berkeley, and coordinates functional neuroimaging assessments and tools, conducts background research and writing, and manages the website. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Psychology at the Wright Institutes, and hopes to focus on neuropsychological assessments, evidence-based treatments, and synthesizing the state of the art in research to apply to clinical practice. 

Bruce Buchanan, B.A. Bruce Buchanan is a software developer and data analyst with a B.A. in cognitive science from U.C. Berkeley. He has acted as technical lead on the Neural Pathfinder Project since it’s inception in 2008. He brings more than15 years of commercial development experience to the project. His interests include network data visualization and generative art.

Brian Curran, B.S.  Brian has extensive background in technical and administrative research support.  Over 25 years of laboratory management and supervision in diverse scientific disciplines including Neurophysiology, Neurochemistry, Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology, Functional and Anatomical MRI and Neuropsychology. He is responsible for all aspects of research protocol administration.

Michael Carter, PhD: Dr. Carter is an educator specializing in the strategy, design and development of learning solutions based on emerging technology, particularly when they involve games. He at one time professed history at Dartmouth College; directed education research in Apple’s Advanced Technology Group; produced Oxford, Stanford and Yale’s online offerings for their alumni; and edited and published research on digital media and learning for the MIT Press. He has designed and produced games for kids and grownups about history, science, mathematics, storytelling, executive function, conservation and ecology. He was a strategic advisor to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Internet Society, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Open Education Resources initiatve, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning program, and even helped launch The International Journal of Learning and Media. He currently works with education technology startups and others to effectively apply technology to learning. www.linkedin.com/in/michaelpcarterphd