Meet Our Team
The Abilities Research Center (ARC) is home to a specialized team of clinicians and scientists, who work daily to provide our patients with the innovative therapies that will help them achieve maximum function and independence.
David Putrino, PhD, PT
Dr. Putrino, is a physical therapist with a PhD in neuroscience. He is currently Director of Rehabilitation Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, Director of the ARC, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine.
Dr. Putrino’s work focuses on developing innovative technology-based solutions for individuals in need of more accessible and novel health care. He conducts clinical trials of novel technologies to investigate their effectiveness at reducing and tracking symptoms in various patient populations.
Dr. Putrino collaborates with other clinical investigators both within and beyond the Mount Sinai Health System to determine how new technologies can help patients. He also works closely with developers to create technological solutions, such as a face-tracking system that allows people to control a computer completely hands-free.
Learn more about the Putrino Lab and the work being conducted by Dr. Putrino.
Mar Cortes, MD
Dr. Cortes is a neuroscientist and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with special interest in studying brain plasticity in relation with rehabilitation. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance and Co-Director of the ARC, where clinicians and scientists partner with innovators and industry leaders to help individuals achieve maximum performance and wellness.
Previously, Dr. Cortes held a faculty position at Burke Neurological Institute (Cornell University), where she was the Director of the Human Spinal Cord Injury Laboratory. She completed a fellowship in noninvasive brain stimulation at Harvard Medical School and has extensive experience in clinical neuro-rehabilitation in Spain (Institut Guttmann Institute, Badalona) and the United States (Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Boston).
The primary goals of Dr. Cortes’s research are to understand neural plasticity and its clinical implications and to develop novel individualized rehabilitation strategies to improve the quality of life for patients with neurological impairments. In her studies she uses a combination of brain stimulation techniques, exoskeletons and robotic devices and virtual reality, to promote motor recovery, pain, and uncontrolled muscle movement (spasticity) in people with neurological disabilities. She focuses on how the brain is connected to the spinal cord and how the descending motor commands are conducted, processed and executed along the central nervous system axes to perform specific movements in people with spinal cord injury.
Adam Fry, PhD
Adam Fry, PhD is an instructor at the Abilities Research Center (ARC). At the ARC, Dr. Fry conducts clinical trials for clients in health-tech and collaborates on a wide range of human performance research projects. The overall goal of his research is to improve performance in everyone from patients to podium toppers. Previously, Dr. Fry obtained his doctorate in Kinesiology from Loughborough University in England, after which he served in the departments of Neurology and Neurological Surgery at Stony Brook University where his work focused on identifying EEG biomarkers of neurological injury and interventions using brain stimulation.
Laura Tabacof, MD
Laura Tabacof, MD is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Abilities Research Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Sao Paulo University Medical School in Brazil and received additional training in neurorehabilitation at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, cancer rehabilitation in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation at Harvard Medical School. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Abilities Research Center, Dr. Tabacof is currently investigating the role of novel technology and neuromodulation in the recovery of patients with neurological disabilities. As Director of Research of the Precision Recovery program, she is spearheading analysis of clinical data and developing future initiatives to understand the longitudinal course of COVID-19.
Jenna M. Tosto PT, DPT
Jenna Tosto is a physical therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Temple University. She received her B.A in Communication Disorders and Biopsychology from William Paterson University of New Jersey. During her studies, she completed multiple clinical and research affiliations at NYU Langone Health, New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. She previously served as a physical therapist at NYU Langone Rusk Rehabilitation where she gained experience in adult acute care and adult inpatient neurological rehabilitation. Her areas of clinical and research interest include knowledge translation into neurological rehabilitation practice and the role of novel technology in motor recovery following neurological injury.
Loreene Correa-Esnard, MPT, CRT, VRT
Loreene Esnard has practiced for more than 18 years in a variety of physical therapy settings. She has had clinical experience in acute inpatient rehabilitation at Mount Sinai spinal cord injury and brain injury units, homecare, outpatient, subacute and skilled nursing facilities. She obtained her Masters in Physical Therapy and Bachelor’s in Cardiorespiratory Sciences at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and a Bachelor's degree in Human Movement Studies at Hunter College. Loreene completed specialized training in Vestibular Rehabilitation, kinesio tape therapy techniques and Pilates exercise training. Her areas of clinical interest continue to focus largely on all aspects of recovery of patients who have suffered neurological injuries.
Leila Nasr, Clinical Research Coordinator
Born in the United States and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil by Lebanese immigrants, Leila Nasr speaks four languages: English, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish. She has always had a passion for helping others, Leila graduated from Lehman College in 2017 with a degree in exercise science, which she plans to use to improve the quality of life of people with physical disabilities through technology. Of her many hobbies, Leila loves to cook for friends and family. She is working on a blog that features a collection of delicious, healthy recipes.
Chung-Ying (Owen) Tsai, PT, PhD
Dr. Tsai is a licensed physical therapist in New York State and Taiwan and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He has years of experiences in exoskeletal-assisted walking for individuals with walking difficulties. Dr. Tsai is certified on using the ReWalk, Ekso, and Indego devices. He is also fluent in both English and Mandarin. His research focuses on investigating the effects of applying proper technology, such as virtual reality and exoskeletons, and the biomechanics in injury prevention and movement skills for people with disabilities. His goal is to find the most efficient and effective approaches for clinical practice and evaluation to help people with disabilities recovery more quickly and thoroughly. Dr. Tsai’s research results have been published in several peer-reviewed journals.
Erica Breyman, Clinical Research Coordinator
Erica Breyman completed her Bachelor’s degree at Brandeis University with a dual major in Biology and Chemistry with a concentration in Chemical Biology. She brings laboratory and clinical experience from Brandeis University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Columbia University Medical Center to her position at the Abilities Research Center. As an aspiring physician, she focuses on telehealth strategies and neurorehabilitation technologies for individuals with neurological injuries. As part of the Mount Sinai community, Erica aims to combine her passion for medicine and teaching to support and advocate for individuals with physical disabilities and students pursuing careers in STEM.
Sophie Dewil, Clinical Research Coordinator
Sophie Dewil completed her Bachelor's degree at Vassar College where she studied Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. She has experience working as a research technician at Vassar College, The University of Indiana, and Columbia University. As a clinical research coordinator at the Abilities Research Center, she focuses on investigating novel technologies and their use in improving functional capabilities in patients with stroke and spinal cord injury. She enjoys collaborating with other scientists both within Mount Sinai and in other institutions.
The Abilities Research Center works closely with many collaborators who are affiliated with the Mount Sinai Health System and with others who are outside of the Health System. We develop innovative solutions for our patients; we believe that interdisciplinary, inter-departmental, and inter-institutional collaboration is necessary for successful, timely innovation in neurorehabilitation.