Staff : Research Team

Elizabeth Felix, Ph.D.

Dr. Felix serves as the Project Director for the South Florida Spinal Cord Injury Model System. She is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and is a Research Health Scientist at the Miami VA Healthcare System. She is an expert in the psychophysical assessment of somatosensory function, which includes the performance and interpretation of quantitative sensory testing (QST) in clinical pain populations, and the psychometric assessment of these methods. Her research focuses on the measurement of pain, outcomes associated with chronic pain, and predictors of the development and severity of chronic pain related to neurological disorders, including SCI, TBI, and stroke. Dr. Felix is also the Co-Director of the South Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.

Mark S. Nash, Ph.D., FACSM

Mark S. Nash, Ph.D., FACSM is a tenured Professor of Neurological Surgery and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Principal Investigator of the Applied Physiology Research Laboratory for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and Director of Research in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Nash has primary interests in assessment/treatment of cardiometabolic disease risks after SCI. He has published more than 125 peer-review articles, scholarly monographs, and book chapters on these themes and related topics within rehabilitation physiology.

Dr. Nash has served on panels and research advisory boards for the NIH, CDC, and NIDILRR. He is currently an Editorial Board Member for Topics in SCI Rehabilitation, Chair of the ASIA Research & Awards Committee, Chair of the PVA Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine Guideline Panel on Cardiometabolic Disorders, and Chair of the International Dataset Panel on Voluntary Exercise after SCI. Dr. Nash is PI for a DoD multi-center trial examining diabetes prevention after SCI through lifestyle intervention, and Co-PI on a DoD grant examining sleep disorders and cognitive dysfunction after SCI. Dr. Nash was PI for the NIDRR-funded multicenter trial examining Niaspan in Tetraplegia, for which he received the 2012 ASIA David Apple award. He is Co-Director of the NIDILRR South Florida SCI Model System, and PI for a recently awarded multi-center NIDILRR Disability Rehabilitation Research Project examining lifestyle intervention on cardiometabolic risks in stakeholders with SCI and their caregivers.

Diana Cardenas,  M.D., M.H.A.

Dr. Diana Cardenas is the co-Principal Investigator and co-Project Director of the South Florida SCI Model System. She is Chair Emeritus of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She has years of experience with the SCI Model Systems having served as the Principal Investigator of the SCI model system in Seattle from 1990-2006 as well as for the South Florida SCI Model System (2011-2015). Her research focus is pain and other secondary conditions of SCI. She is a board member of the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation which fosters rehabilitation research.

Doug Johnson-Greene, PhD., MPH, ABPP

Dr. Doug came to the University of Miami in 2009 after serving as an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University for 13 years. He completed an internship at the Portland VA and Oregon Health Sciences University in 1993 and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology from 1993 to 1996 in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Michigan Medical Center. He is an NIH-funded researcher and grant reviewer, is on the editorial board of professional journals, directs an Association of Postdoctoral programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN) postdoctoral training program, and serves in several leadership roles in professional organizations including the APA Division 40 Clinical Neuropsychology and the American Board of Professional psychology. Dr. Johnson-Greene serves as the principle psychologist for the South Florida SCI Model System, and is also the Project Director of the South Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.

Kevin L. Dalal, M.D.

Dr. Dalal completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Tufts Medical Center and his SCI Medicine fellowship at the JMH/UM, and joined the faculty of the University of Miami in 2008. Dr. Dalal’s clinical responsibilities include consultation for all spinal cord injured patients admitted through the Ryder Trauma Center for initiation of preventive rehabilitation and Medical Director at JMH for SCI rehabilitation of patients. He also provides long-term community follow-up and health maintenance through his outpatient clinics.

Eleuterio (“Eli”) Baliwis, R.N., B.S.N.

Eli Balawis has 30 years of nursing experience. He has worked in several health specialties including in the Medical/Surgical unit, Emergency Room, Oncology Unit, and as a Nurse Supervisor in the Acute and Long-Term Rehabilitation unit. He has worked as a Research Nurse since 2006 for the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Eli is responsible for the data collection for the South Florida SCI Model System.

Sequoia Jackson, MPH

Sequoia Jackson joined the SF SCIMS team in June 2018 as a research associate and database manager. She recently graduated from The University of Miami with her Master’s in Public Health. In addition, she graduated from Temple University with her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2015. During her graduate career, Ms. Jackson was a teaching assistant for The Department of Public Health Sciences as well as a fitness attendant for the UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center. She is currently taking courses to become certified in various applications to advance her skills as a data analyst.

Zachary Abdo, B.S.

Zachary Abdo joined the SF SCIMS team recently in November 2017 as a research assistant. He graduated from the University of Florida in May 2016 with a degree in Biology. While at the University of Florida, he was a research assistant for the Wayne Lab which studied genetic variation and evolution of virulence using Drosophila melanogaster. Mr. Abdo assists with data collection for the South Florida SCI Model System.