Frank Tortella, ST, PhD

Frank Tortella
Neuropharmacologist and Brain Trauma Neurobiologist

Frank C. Tortella, ST, PhD serves as the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Material Command’s subject matter expert on neurotrauma and neuroprotection research for a diverse range of insults to include traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussions, and the neurological effects of blast exposure. He is the acting chief of the Brain Trauma Neuroprotection and Neuroplasticity research directorate within the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), and the Task Area Manager for the Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP) for Brain Trauma & Neuroprotection. Previous positions held at WRAIR include Department Chief, Neuropharmacology & Molecular Biology (1995-2003), Branch Chief, Neuropharmacology (1989-1995), and Section Chief (1982-1989). Dr. Tortella received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University of Maryland (1978) followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship (1978-1980) and Assistant Research Professorship (1980-1982) at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Dr. Tortella has dedicated his life to the examination and understanding traumatic brain injury (TBI). He has spent more than three decades, producing more than 190 publications, to become a nationally recognized subject matter expert in the field of TBI and experimental epilepsy. His research program is currently focused on developing neuroprotective and neurorestorative treatment strategies for military-relevant TBI and includes TBI diagnostics, pharmacotherapeutics and alternative therapeutics (such as selective brain cooling and stem cell therapy). Dr. Tortella’s program uses state-of-the-art EEG analysis and to examine injury induced brain dysfunction,“silent” seizures associated with TBI and discover novel anti-seizure regimens. Dr. Tortella also has extensive collaborations with academia and industry and is involved with multiple cooperative research and development agreements to examine novel TBI therapies. Currently, his program is participating in the Operation Brain Trauma Therapies Consortium. Dr. Tortella’s ongoing collaborations with Banyan Biomarkers and Neuren Pharmaceuticals have lead to clinical trials in both TBI diagnostics and drug treatments.

Dr. Tortella has been awarded numerous patents for drug development (anticonvulsant, anti-ischemic, and neuroprotective agents) and for biomarker development (endothelial-monocyte activating polypeptide II; EMAP II). His honors include the Advanced Technology Applications for Combat Casualty Care (ATACCC) Award (2009), Department of the Army Research and Development Technical Achievement Award (1990 & 2006), and the Order of Military Medical Merit (2004). He has served as an Associate Editor for Pharmacology Communications, on the Editorial Board of CNS Drug Reviews and CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics and he has been recognized as one of IBC’s “Leading Scientists of the World” (2006).