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
David is a physical therapist with a PhD in Neuroscience. He is currently the Director of Rehabilitation Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, and an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He develops innovative rehabilitation solutions for adults and children who need better health care accessibility. He also works with high-performance partners such as Red Bull, the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, and the U.S. Olympic team to use evidence-based technologies to improve athletic performance. He is the author of Hacking Health: How to Make Money and Save Lives in the HealthTech world. In 2019, he was named "Global Australian of the Year" for his contributions to health care.
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
Dr. Laura Tabacof is a clinical research neuroscientist who leads clinical trials of novel technologies for people living with chronic pain.
Laura believes that health tech will revolutionize pain treatment.
She has led multiple industry-sponsored and government-funded trials for chronic pain and long COVID rehabilitation, leading to over 15 publications and invited lectures in the most prestigious entities in the world including the World Health Organization (WHO), Social Security Administration, and National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
She is also pioneering a noninvasive brain stimulation paradigm for chronic pain.
She received training in noninvasive brain stimulation at Harvard Medical School and completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Mt Sinai.
Laura holds a Medical Doctorate and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialty degree from the University of Sao Paulo Medical School.
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.
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.
Jimmy McKay, PT, DPT
Jimmy McKay is the Director of Science Communicator at the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Mount Sinai and the Abilities Research Center (ARC) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Jimmy believes that science isn’t finished until it’s understood. He also runs a popular physical therapy podcast, PT Pintcast. He helps organizations including the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, and the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research get their messages to their target audiences. Jimmy holds a BA in journalism and mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a doctorate in physical therapy from Marymount University.
Courtney McSweeney, MS. CCC-SLP
Courtney McSweeney is a Speech Language Pathologist who helps people with neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and progressive diseases improve their speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing abilities.
She believes all people deserve the ability to communicate with one another.
In addition to her work at Mount Sinai, Courtney works in acute care with patients in their most delicate states.
Courtney is a certified Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD) practitioner, helping people with Parkinson's Disease and other conditions find their voice and improve their communication.
Courtney holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Siena College, and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The College of Saint Rose.
In order to be an expert in her field, Courtney is currently working towards becoming a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.
Michael Kypros, PT, DPT
Michael Kypros is a physical therapist who helps people with neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and Parkinson’s disease. He has treated patients in hospital, outpatient,
and inpatient settings and is pursuing neurologic clinical specialist board certification. Michael holds a doctorate in physical therapy from Wayne State University. Michael believes that neuroplasticity means that the brain is always changing and is able to adapt, allowing people to learn new motor patterns and regain patterns they thought were lost. He is dedicated to the improvement of his patients’ quality of life and return to their prior function.
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.
Erica Breyman, Clinical Research Coordinator
Erica Breyman is a Clinical Research Coordinator II who works on projects investigating telehealth strategies and neurorehabilitation technologies for people with neurological injuries. She is also the Lead Coordinator of the Precision Recovery Program and Post Acute COVID-19 Program at Mount Sinai. Erica believes that research allows the opportunity for innovative solutions that can advance clinical practice. In addition to her clinical and research work at Mount Sinai, she also collaborates with community leaders as part of the Generational Youth Mentors program to provide young learners with equitable access to academic and socioemotional support. Erica holds a bachelor’s of science degree in biology and chemistry with a concentration in chemical biology from Brandeis University and will be attending medical school this fall.
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.
Mackenzie Doerstling, Program Manager
Mackenzie Doerstling is a Program Manager who works on many aspects of the research studies at the ARC. Mackenzie believes that research is an invaluable foundation for innovation and progress. In addition to her work at Mount Sinai, she holds a master’s of public health and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She has worked in a variety of settings with special populations such as Division 1 athletes, cancer survivors, and those with pulmonary diseases.
Patrycja Graczyk, Administrative Manager
Patrycja Graczyk joined the Mount Sinai Health System in 2016, working in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health as a coordinator for the World Trade Center Health Program. Currently, she is an administrative manager at the ARC and the Charles Lazarus Children’s Abilities Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. Patrycja holds a BA in business administration from Brooklyn College concentrating in Human Resources management and leadership.
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.