Scientific Consulting

The Cogstate team of cognitive scientists and statisticians is experienced with all aspects of clinical conduct, from study design to cognitive data interpretation. With access to thousands of cognitive data profiles generated in a wide variety of study populations, and pharmacological interventions spanning a range of mechanisms of action, Cogstate can provide robust interpretation of study results supportive of product efficacy, safety and differentiating claims.

Cogstate’s team of accomplished neuropsychologists provide actionable insights into:

  • Drug development strategies
  • Protocol design
  • Test selection for screening, safety and efficacy
  • Exploratory measures and innovative methodologies
  • Test design and development
  • Statistical plans, analyses and reports

Our expert scientists are actively engaged with leading academics around the world to use the Cogstate expertise and systems to solve some of today’s most pressing issues in the understanding of cognitive decline associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Other areas of significant scientific contributions include depression, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, oncology, HIV dementia, autism and many others.

Paul Maruff Chief Science Officer

Professor Paul Maruff is a founder of Cogstate.  Paul is a neuropsychologist with expertise in the measurement of subtle behavioral and cognitive dysfunction in neuropsychiatric and neurological disease and disorders and in brain injury.  Paul’s research integrates conventional and computerized neuropsychological testing with cognitive neuroscientific methods, neuroimaging, genetics and clinical assessment in to guide decision making in about brain function in both clinical medicine in drug development.

Paul has worked extensively to develop methods for identification of the nature and magnitude of cognitive impairment, and to assess the efficacy of licensed and experimental drugs and procedures, in Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and the HIV dementia complex. He has extended these methods to the identification of cognitive dysfunction and the effects of treatment in psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depressive disorder and substance abuse in adults and children.

In addition to being responsible for the scientific progress at Cogstate, Paul is also appointed Professor at the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health where is an active member of the Alzheimer’s disease research group.  He is currently clinical co-chair of the clinical committee in the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study and also sits on the executive committee for that group.  Paul has published over 300 research articles in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and has co-authored 10 book chapters.

Eric Siemers Distinguished Medical Adviser

Dr. Siemers’ experience in clinical trials of neurodegenerative disease spans over 25 years, with a research focus on the use of biomarkers in investigational drug research, the development of trial designs that fully characterize the effects of investigational drugs on chronic diseases, and more specifically, the development of strategies for treating individuals before the onset of symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Siemers most recently served as Distinguished Medical Fellow for Eli Lilly and Company’s Alzheimer’s Disease Global Development Team, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of 5 large phase III clinical studies of AD sponsored by Lilly, in addition to playing a major collaborative role in 2 public-private partnership studies. Prior to his appointments at Lilly, Dr. Siemers founded and headed the Indiana University Movement Disorder Clinic; his research there included investigations of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, and he established one of the first centers for surgical PD treatments in the US.

Dr. Siemers is a member of the NIA/Alzheimer’s Association working group that will evaluate biomarkers and clinical symptoms in the nomenclature used for research of the entire Alzheimer’s disease continuum, and was previously a member of the working group that proposed criteria for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. He also served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Experimental Neurotherapeutics, as founding member and Chair of the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable, and Steering Committee member for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Dr. Siemers earned his MD with highest distinction from the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he completed an internship in the Department of Internal Medicine and residency in the Department of Neurology.

Chris Edgar Senior Vice President, Clinical Science

Dr. Edgar is an experienced leader in cognitive assessment and clinical endpoint strategy who provides expert guidance to Cogstate’s pharmaceutical customers throughout all stages of trial conduct, from study design and test selection through final analysis. Dr. Edgar is also a key advisor to Cogstate’s commercial and product teams for the development of new technologies and approaches in line with industry needs.

Dr. Edgar joins Cogstate from Roche where he oversaw clinical endpoint strategy for multiple neuroscience indications in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research group. He holds a PhD in psychopharmacology from Northumbria University and has nearly two decades of pharmaceutical industry experience. Dr. Edgar has held other strategic positions including clinical scientist at Roche on Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease drug development programs, senior clinical lead for rater training and data quality at Bracket, and scientific director at Cognitive Drug Research Ltd., a computerized cognitive assessment company. His current research interests include defining clinically meaningful progression and meaningful change estimates in neurodegenerative disease, cognitive screening for Alzheimer’s disease, application of survival analysis to neuroscience clinical trials, defining treatment benefit for negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia and measurement science topics relevant to regulators.

Pamela Ventola Senior Science Director, Rare Disease and Pediatric Center of Excellence

Dr. Ventola is Senior Science Director at Cogstate and Assistant Professor at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Ventola leads Cogstate’s pediatric and rare diseases portfolio, providing Cogstate customers with strategic oversight and expert guidance throughout all stages of their study planning and execution – from endpoint selection, rater training and strategic monitoring to final statistical analysis.

As a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Ventola’s primary clinical expertise is in pediatric neuropsychology and specifically developmental and genetic disorders. Her research interests involve developmental disabilities, and among her recent research is a study on brain-based mechanisms of treatment response in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is also utilizing eye-tracking paradigms as a novel outcome of clinical trials in ASD and is involved in studies on novel pharmacological therapeutics in individuals with ASD.

Dr. Ventola received her Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology from University of Connecticut and completed her clinical training and Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine, Child Study Center. She serves on the editorial review board of multiple academic journals. Specifically, she serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Journal of the American Academy Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology Review, and the Autism International Journal of Research and Practice. Dr. Ventola has authored numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and scientific presentations.

Jason Cromer Clinical Science Director

Jason A. Cromer, PhD, Director of Clinical Science at Cogstate, is responsible for scientific operations of all clinical trials that use Cogstate computerized tests. Dr. Cromer earned his BS in Computer Science from Lafayette College and his PhD in Biomedical Science with a specialty in Neuroscience from the University of Connecticut Health Center. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neurophysiology at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Cromer then worked in the Department of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine before joining Cogstate in 2011.

Dr. Cromer’s academic career focused on the neural basis of cognition. His publications examined cognitive processes included executive functioning, categorization, processing speed, and sensory-to-motor transformation in combination with electrophysiological recordings of neural activity from multiple brain regions. His work appears in scientific journals including Neuron, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, the Journal of Neurophysiology, and The Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Dr. Cromer maintains an active academic appointment as a Visiting Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, Child Study Center. As part of this work, he directs a joint Cogstate-Yale summer internship program which gives students the opportunity to gain exposure to cognitive testing and its application in clinical trials. Dr. Cromer’s current research focuses on cognitive testing methodologies, validation, and application in both pediatric and adult populations.

As Director of Clinical Science at Cogstate, Dr. Cromer enjoys combining his neuropsychological and computational expertise to support the Cogstate operations team and Cogstate’s customers.

Lisle Kingery Clinical Science Director

Lisle Kingery, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist (neuropsychologist) with 20 years’ clinical and research experience in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. Dr. Kingery completed a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Maine, an internship in clinical neuropsychology at the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System/University of Michigan, and a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Division of Medical Psychology, Department of Psychiatric and Behavioral Sciences.

After teaching neuropsychological assessment and biopsychology for one year at Loyola University of Maryland, Baltimore, Dr. Kingery joined the Clinical Training and Assessment division of i3 research in 2006. During his six years at i3, Dr. Kingery advanced to Scientific Director and contributed to both the operational and scientific components of clinical assessment services in global clinical trials.

Dr. Kingery’s primary areas of interest are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, with expertise and experience providing neuropsychological test training, central monitoring of neuropsychological test data, and tracking rater reliability in global clinical trials. He has directed rater training programs in over 20 Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, three Parkinson’s disease trials, and several other trials for other CNS indications.

He has evaluated and trained raters globally at dozens of clinical trial investigator meetings. Dr. Kingery also has significant experience producing training videos for neuropsychological tests and for the assessment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Dr. Kingery’s scientific interests include computerized cognitive assessment, reliability and validity of neuropsychological assessments, and effectiveness of rater training methodologies for neuropsychological tests in clinical trials.

Edward Bartolic Senior Science Director

Edward I. Bartolic, PhD, is Senior Science Director at Cogstate and a clinical neuropsychologist with 20 years of postdoctoral clinical research experience.  Nearly 15 of those years have been in various scientific positions within global contract research organizations, including the Director of CNS Research and Scientific Director for the Rater Training Services department at i3 Research and Director of Clinical Assessment Technologies at Worldwide Clinical Trials.

For the past 9 years, in his roles with rater training groups, Dr. Bartolic functioned as clinical/therapeutic lead, providing oversight of the development and management of global rater training and data monitoring/rater surveillance programs for studies in psychiatry and neurology.  He has served as lead rater trainer at numerous investigators meetings for studies in indications that include Alzheimer’s disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI)/prodromal AD, multiple sclerosis, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder-mania, bipolar depression, schizophrenia, and generalized anxiety disorder.

He has designed customized methodologies for remote monitoring of clinical trial assessments, including review of source documentation and assessment results for verification of study eligibility criteria during the screening period and confirmation of proper administration and scoring of cognitive and other neurobehavioral assessments. He also has the unique experience of having coordinated and managed two different committees consisting of independent clinical neurologists and geriatric psychiatrists responsible for adjudicating investigator-determined progression to AD endpoints in prodromal AD/MCI trials.

Dr. Bartolic graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and specialization in Neuropsychology.  Prior to working in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Bartolic served for five years as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University in Philadelphia (currently known as Drexel University College of Medicine).  During that time, he was also the Director of Neuropsychology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital and the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, leading an active inpatient and outpatient clinical service and supervising neuropsychology students, interns and post-doctoral fellows.  He has numerous publications and invited presentations in the area of neuropsychological assessment and cognitive disorders.

Adrian Schembri Science Director

Doctor Adrian Schembri is a licenced clinical psychologist and Science Director of the Research and Development Division at Cogstate. Dr Schembri completed a Doctorate in clinical psychology at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, including a thesis that focused on the cognitive overlap between Eating Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He has worked as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, and Research Fellow in the Applied Psychology and Health Research Cluster in the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University. Dr Schembri was also a Statistics Consultant for staff and PhD students at RMIT University as well as industry partners, providing consultation in research design, and both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Dr Schembri has published peer reviewed articles and conference papers in the areas of clinical, neuro, educational, developmental, and sports psychology, as well as ratings systems and predictive modeling. As a clinical psychologist, Dr Schembri has worked in metropolitan and rural hospitals, and in private practice settings with children, adolescents and adults in the treatment of a broad range of psychopathology, including depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, and eating disorders.

Dr Schembri joined Cogstate in 2012 and is responsible for supporting research teams internationally with the use of Cogstate within their studies. This work involves providing insight into research design, selection of appropriate batteries, and statistical analysis. Dr Schembri also supports new projects and innovations, and development of new computerized tests as well as screening and assessment tools within the Clinical Trials and Research and Development Divisions.

Dr Schembri is Secretary of the Victorian Section Committee of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists, and the Executive Committee of MathSport, a special interest group of Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIUM).

Robert McCue Associate Science Director

Robert McCue, Psy.D., MSCP is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in neuropsychology as well as 10 years’ experience in teaching assessment and psychopharmacology courses at the graduate level. Dr. McCue completed a Psy.D. in clinical psychology at the Nova Southeastern University, and an internship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Miami / Jackson Memorial Medical Center.  Additionally, he completed a master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology.

After completing his internship, Dr. McCue completed his postdoctoral residency in neuropsychology at South Florida Neurology Associates, and then continued to work with this neurology group for 18 years assessing subjects with a wide variety of conditions, most notably Alzheimer’s, MCI, Parkinson’s, frontotemporal dementia, and depression related cognitive complaints.

Dr. McCue’s has developed expertise and experience training and monitoring the administration and scoring of neuropsychological evaluations and other clinical scales in clinical trials.  Dr. McCue has published articles in peer reviewed journals in the area of Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia.

Robyn L. Powers Associate Science Director

Dr. Robyn Powers completed her PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, as well as a Master’s degree at Columbia University in Clinical Psychology. She has worked clinically with diverse populations including pediatric, elderly, oncology, rehabilitative health, and epilepsy.   Dr. Powers has worked within the pharmaceutical industry in multiple capacities.

As a Study Clinician in Clinical Development she has provided strategic oversight and leadership for clinical trials including protocol design and execution, assessment of subject eligibility, and data analysis. In addition, she has worked within Medical Affairs conducting post-marketing scientific exchange with thought leaders that involved the interpreting and communicating of relevant information to define, update, and support medical strategies.

Dr. Powers’ scientific interests include neurocognitive dysfunction in psychiatric disorders, psychophysiological and neurocognitive correlates of impulsivity, executive function in psychopathy, and effects of health and stress on cognition.

Peter J. Snyder Principal Consultant

Professor Snyder has been closely affiliated with Cogstate since its earliest beginnings, over 16 years ago, and he has either developed or co-developed several key tests within the Cogstate battery.  Dr. Snyder continues to serve as a lead scientific consultant to the company, and he is primarily focused on refining the sensitivity and specificity of several of our measures, and exploring new applications for the Cogstate approach, within the context of clinical drug development.

Dr. Snyder serves as the Senior Associate Editor of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, and as the Editor-in-Chief for Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring (an open access journal of the Alzheimer’s Association).  Dr. Snyder manages a robust research program, he publishes regularly within this field, and he has delivered nearly 200 presentations at international scientific conferences.  His academic interests span across a range of topics in neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, history of neuroscience and research ethics; and his clinical interests are currently focused on the topics of aging and dementia.  From 1998 through 2005, Dr. Snyder was employed as a scientist, clinician and director at Pfizer Global Research & Development – Groton Laboratories (Connecticut, USA) – the largest research laboratory of Pfizer Inc.  Dr. Snyder was responsible for the identification and development of novel clinical technologies and biomarkers for the CNS therapeutic area at Pfizer.  Then, as a Director and Early Clinical Leader at Pfizer, Dr. Snyder led the development of novel compounds for the treatment of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Snyder left Pfizer in 2005, to return to academia as a Professor (with tenure) in the Departments of Psychology and Neurology at the University of Connecticut (Storrs & Farmington, CT).  In 2008 Dr. Snyder accepted a position as the Sr. Vice President & Chief Research Officer for the major affiliate teaching hospitals of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (Providence, RI), where he also serves as a Professor in the Department of Neurology.  Dr. Snyder consults to several pharmaceutical corporations, he is an active adjunct faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Rhode Island, and he serves as the major professor for several graduate and post-doctoral students. Dr. Snyder also serves as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he teaches an Industrial Design course, titled “Designing for an Aging Population.”

Dr. Snyder is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Div. 40, Clinical Neuropsychology; Div. 6, Behavioural Neuroscience), and he is the recipient of the 2001 Distinguished Early Career Contributions Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology.  Dr. Snyder’s most recent book (2015) focuses on the management of scientific integrity within academic medical centers.

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