2018-PhD Clinical psychology, Neuropsychology Track, University of Houston
Dissertation: High-definition fiber tracking study of the executive control network in blast-related brain injury
Chair: Jack M. Fletcher, PhD; Study PI: Elisabeth A. Wilde, PhD, Harvey S. Levin, PhD
Clinical Internship: Emory University School of Medicine (Child/Adult Track)
2013-MA Psychology, San Diego State University
Thesis: An fMRI study of behavioral response inhibition in adolescents with and without histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
Chair: Sarah N. Mattson, PhD
2009-BA Psychology, University of North Carolina Wilmington
2004-2006-Fine Arts, Cello Performance, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University
Clinical Neuropsychology (assessment and intervention)
Clinical Assessment Methodology (e.g., Advanced MRI techniques)
Dr. Ashley L. Ware earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology with specialization in neuropsychology from the University of Houston and completed an APA-accredited predoctoral clinical psychology internship in pediatric and adult neuropsychology at Emory University School of Medicine in 2018. For her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Ware sought additional, specialized training in cutting-edge structural and multimodal neuroimaging and data analytics in pediatric traumatic brain injury. As a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary, she was co-supervised by pediatric traumatic brain injury expert Dr. Keith Yeates and clinical neuroimaging expert Dr. Catherine Lebel.
Over the past 10 years, Dr. Ware has demonstrated significant leadership in research and knowledge translation. She has held important leadership roles in multiple research programs from which she gained expertise in neurodevelopment, neural plasticity, neuroimaging, and neurological disorders, including traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. Dr. Ware has furthered the scientific understanding of how the brain changes across the lifespan in congenital and acquired brain injury, and has translated these findings to improve patient treatment and outcomes. Her results are published in the premier peer-reviewed journals for her respective fields of study. The scientific and academic communities have acknowledged the impact of her research in brain development and brain injury, granting her nearly $130K in academic scholarships and over $200K in research awards from international, national, and regional societies. She was most recently awarded the Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship offered by the University of Calgary, as well as the Harley N. Hotchkiss - Samuel Weiss Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Cumming School of Medicine Postdoctoral Scholarship.
A native of coastal North Carolina, Dr. Ware enjoys being on the beach and near water. She is a daily practitioner of reformer Pilates, an avid supporter of the performing and fine arts, and a lover of dogs (big and small).
My long-term career goal is to conduct innovative research on mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that benefits the public and contributes to scientific and clinical advances at local, national, and international levels.
Each year, clinicians around the world struggle to identify which patients will suffer persistent post-concussive symptoms and related functional impairment after mild TBI, which includes concussion. Although urgently needed for clinical management, no evidence-based standard of care exists for mild TBI diagnosis or prognostication, largely because there is no biomarker that can be used to diagnose mild TBI or predict prolonged recovery. My research directly addresses this. Influenced by my training as a clinical neuropsychologist, I combine standardized neuropsychological assessment with advanced neuroimaging techniques that have demonstrated potentially high sensitivity to the subtle and diffuse alterations of mild TBI in both early and late stages. I seek to clarify the neural mechanisms underlying mild TBI and identify a definitive biomarker of mild TBI that is sensitive and specific enough for clinical detection, prediction of outcomes, and monitoring of recovery.
My interdisciplinary research uniquely bridges a gap between cutting-edge neuroimaging techniques and clinical neuropsychology to increase both scientific and clinical understanding of:
1. The neurobiological and neuropsychological effects of mild TBI at developmental stages across the lifespan.
2. The short- and long-term neural plasticity or degenerative changes that occur after mild TBI.
3. Whether advanced neuroimaging metrics can detect (inform diagnosis), predict outcomes, and relate to recovery trajectory in patients with mild TBI.
4. How therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation techniques influence outcomes in mild TBI.
In addition to these broad themes, my research efforts also include the advancement of research methodology in the field of mild TBI, and the application of advanced neuroimaging and neuropsychology to study unique clinical populations.
I also have pursued many opportunities to increase my expertise in integrated knowledge translation in my research. Prior to graduate school, I helped organize a US Congressional hearing on health care disparities for under or uninsured patients with Dr. Antonio Puente, former President of the American Psychological Association. The hearing aimed to translate clinical research on the burden of health care for chronic disorders into national policy change. I witnessed how impactful the reciprocal link between research and clinical practice could be and realized my passion for informing public policy. This experience motivated my subsequent choice to become a clinical neuropsychologist and inspired me to translate my research findings through community outreach with various neurodevelopmental (e.g., fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, epilepsy, brain injury) and veteran (e.g., Wounded Warriors Project) support groups. I believe that my comprehensive, interdisciplinary training as a clinician-scientist will facilitate impactful translation of my research to clinical practice.
Keywords: clinical neuropsychology; advanced MRI techniques; brain injury; neural plasticity; brain development; neurodevelopmental disorders; neuroinflammation; executive functioning; lifespan human brain development.