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Kessler Foundation scientist honored with Women of Excellence award

WEST ORANGE, N.J. -- Helen Genova, PhD, research scientist at Kessler Foundation, received a Women of Excellence Award in Health Sciences from the Union County Commission on the Status of Women. In the Foundation's Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Laboratory, she investigates the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury on cognitive function with grant funding.

"It feels wonderful to win the award," said Dr. Genova. "Professional women have so many roles to play. They have to balance motherhood, careers, home life, etc., so I'm excited to be a recipient of an award that celebrates women and values what they do."

With her first research grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Dr. Genova is studying cognitive fatigue in individuals with MS. With cognitive fatigue, individuals tire easily when performing tasks that involve thinking and learning, which can adversely affect their ability to work and perform the usual activities of daily life. "For years, scientists have had to relay solely on subjective reports of fatigue," said Dr. Genova. "We're hoping that with our innovative approach of using functional MRI to study brain function, we will come closer to a better and more effective way of studying this debilitating symptom."

A second grant funds a pilot study using diffuser tensor imaging to identify whether damage to the brain's white matter correlates with cognitive decline in individuals with MS. Dr. Genova's aim is to develop more effective strategies for maintaining cognition and quality of life.

Dr. Genova and her husband, a family practitioner, reside in Union, NJ, with their two young children. Together, they organize the annual Health and Wellness Fair at their son's school. They teach about healthy lifestyles as well as tolerance and awareness of people with disabilities.

The Union County Commission on the Status of Women annually honors women who reside or work in Union County who have made significant contributions in Arts and Humanities, Business/Entrepreneurial, Community Service, Education, Government, Law, Law Enforcement, Medicine/Health Care or Women's Advocacy. Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the ten 2012 recipients will be honored at the 20th Annual Women of Excellence Award Dinner on March 23rd.

Contact: Lauren Scrivo
Kessler Foundation

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