Cerebral Palsy Adult Aging Study

Research Team

The cerebral palsy adult transition (CPAT) study was designed with the assistance of individuals with disabilities and uses a cross-disciplinary science team approach with a well-balanced gender and ethnic background. The individuals who are apart of our team come from institutions across the nations, which currently includes Children’s Hospital Colorado, The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Alzheimer's and Cognition Center, and the University of Texas San Antonio.

To contact the CPAT Study Staff directly, please email CPAT@childrenscolorado.org

Principal Investigators

James Carollo, PhD, PEJames Carollo, PhD, PE

Dr. Carollo is the original designer and Center Director of the only accredited clinical motion analysis facility in Colorado.  Through the work of the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis (CGMA), his interdisciplinary team has had the opportunity to evaluate and develop treatment plans for over 4000 individuals with neuromuscular or musculoskeletal disorders that affect movement.  As a biomedical engineer for over 35 years and a licensed professional engineer since 1993, Dr. Carollo leads the scientific and technology initiatives undertaken by the Center to improve overall health for children and adults with cerebral palsy, and develops novel measurement systems for movement analysis both within and outside the laboratory.  Dr. Carollo is the inaugural Chairholder of the J. T. Tai Endowed Chair for CGMA, the Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MRC) in the Orthopedics Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine, Orthopedics, and Bioengineering at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.   

Patricia Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM

Patricia Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM

Dr. Patricia C. Heyn has been involved in health promotion and disease prevention research for over 20 years. Her investigations related to (1) health outcomes and aging; (2) preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease with exercise and/or cognitive training; (3) evaluating protective/risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline; (4) early detection of frailty including mobility impairments; and (5) evaluating emerging technologies for individuals with cognitive impairments has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, Coleman Institute, and the J.T. Tai Foundation


Heather R. Baer, MD Associate Professor, PMR and Neurology, University of Colorado DenverHeather R. Baer, MD Associate Professor, PMR and Neurology, University of Colorado Denver 

Dr. Baer is co-investigator and the primary study physician for this proposal.  She is a physiatrist who specializes in adult neurorehabilitation with a particular focus upon adults with CP. She will assist with the clinical needs of the study participants and will help determine the appropriate course of action if abnormal test results arise.  Dr. Baer had decades of experience treating individuals with CP.  Having served as the primary physician since the inception of the original CPAT grant, she understands the study design. Dr. Baer will also assist with the recruitment of the participants by identifying potential participants from her adult clinics. She will participate in all research meetings and will assist with the preparation of publications.

Tim Boyd, PhD, MSB

Tim Boyd, PhD, MSB

Dr. Boyd received a PhD in Medical Sciences and a master’s in biotechnology at the University of South Florida, and his research focused on the immunology and the cellular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. He has been collaborating with the CPAT research team since the inception of the original grant. He is faculty and has his lab at the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He is also a faculty in the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine. He works under the leadership of Dr. Huntington Potter, the Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research and Clinical Center, and the Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Program within the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. He together with Dr. Potter will provide expertise and lead the inflammatory blood analysis and immunoassays of this study.  Growth factors assays, and inflammatory biomarkers will be analyzed by Dr. Boyd at the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center laboratory. He will participate in all meetings of the research team and assist the PI with the preparation of publications.

Christina Coughlan, PhDChristina Coughlan, PhD

Dr. Coughlan is Senior Faculty Research Instructor in the Department of Neurology and a member of the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center (CUACC) and the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. Her research and teaching experience have been extensive, resulting in publications focused on topics that pertain directly to understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease in both the typical population and in people with Down syndrome. Dr. Coughlan has collaborated with the CPAT team to examine all aspects of the blood biomarkers identified, including data quality, with the goal of understanding the pathobiological mechanisms underlying the conditions that affect individuals with CP throughout their life.

Taron Davis, MDTaron Davis, MD, Assistant Professor at the University of California San Francisco

Dr. Davis is a pediatric physiatrist and assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco. He cares for young people with amputations or limb deficiencies, and for those who have issues with physical function resulting from brain or spinal cord injuries, rheumatic disorders, cancer, neurological conditions or musculoskeletal conditions. Dr. Davis earned his medical degree at St. Louis University School of Medicine. He completed a combined residency in pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Davis was mentored by the CPAT research team and has developed an increasing interest and focus on the diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Sayan De, MDSayan De, MD

Dr. De is a co-investigator and the study orthopedic surgeon for this proposal. Dr. De is a core faculty member of CGMA, and has specialized training in pediatric orthopedics, neuromuscular disorders, gait analysis, limb deformity, and pediatric and adolescent fracture care. He graduated with honors from Emory University School of Medicine in 2006. He has more than 13 years of diverse experiences, especially in cerebral palsy, amputees, sports medicine, general orthopedics, and pediatric medicine. Dr. De is affiliated with the Children’s Hospital Colorado, and he is currently an assistant professor in orthopedics at UC Denver.  He understands well the needs of people with cerebral palsy. His extensive experience in both private practice and academic medicine related to neuromuscular disorders, gait analysis, and limb deformity make him an ideal co-investigator for this study. Dr De will assist with the 1) serious adverse events (SAE) and unanticipated problems 2) participants’ safety and wellbeing during study procedures, 3) will review medical history, medications, instrumented gait and physical exams 4) communicates by the CCTSI safety committee and IRB as needed. He will refer participants to their primary care physician when abnormal test findings are identified. He will participate in all meetings of the research team, assist the PIs with the preparation of annual renewals & progress reports, and assist with the publication of the study findings.

Matthew MacCarthy, MDMatthew MacCarthy, MD

Dr. MacCarthy was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as an infant and knows firsthand the challenges and unique facets of growing up, transitioning to adulthood, and aging with a
disability. He has interacted with people with a wide variety of disabilities in a range of recreational and clinical settings which ultimately led to a deep fascination with the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He completed his fellowship in Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and in addition to career-long clinical care of individuals with CP, he is committed to studying the conditions and hardships that individuals with CP face on a daily basis. He is interested in transitional care, helping to improve self-advocacy for teenagers and young adults with childhood disabilities. He is currently at the Prisma Health Children's Hospital - Midlands

Nancy Muir, PT, DPTNancy Muir, PT, DPT

Nancy is a board-certified pediatric physical therapist with over 10 years of experience in neurodevelopmental pediatrics. Nancy works in the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis at Children’s Colorado as a collaborative multi-disciplinary team member to perform gait analysis and develop recommendations to optimize gait and overall function for children with complex gait disorders. Nancy has specific expertise in idiopathic toe walking (ITW) and has lectured on this topic in pediatric physical therapy programs and at national physical therapy meetings. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association ITW Clinical Practice Guideline Development Group to develop evidence-based physical therapy practice evaluation and treatment guidelines. Nancy is a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Health Science program in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions where her dissertation research uses qualitative methods to explore the nature of decision making for adult patients considering hip preservation surgery.

Ted Kheng Siang NgTed Kheng Siang Ng, PhD

Dr. Ng is a translational gerontologist and neuroscientist, specialized in geriatric neurological and psychiatric conditions. Recognizing that there is an unmet need in translating research findings into the community and clinics, he utilizes translational and trans-disciplinary approaches in his investigations, integrating wet laboratory techniques, psychosocial scales, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and epidemiological methods. Apart from being the active co-investigator for grants in both Singapore and the U.S., he has recently initiated and is currently leading several collaborative projects, based in five countries, validating the use of salivary biomarkers in Alzheimer’s Disease. As part of the CPAT research team, he has help identify similarities between individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and Cerebral Palsy.

Tim Reistetter, OTR, PhD, FAOTATim Reistetter, OTR, PhD, FAOTA

Dr. Reistetter is an experienced disability and rehabilitation researchers.  He is an Associate Dean of Research and Professor Occupational Therapy at the UT Health San Antonio.   He is the PI of a project evaluating patient-centered outcomes research among older adults with stroke. He has been part of the CPAT Science Team since 2014 and he served as an advisory board member and consultant on the original CPAT study.  In this capacity, he draws upon his clinical, research and personal experience to support the innovative and significant efforts of the CPAT project.  As an individual with cerebral palsy, his personal experience coupled with his clinical, and research expertise makes him well qualified to serve as an evaluator, investigator and advisory board member in this study. He will participate in all meetings of the research team by teleconference and perform three annual on-site visits (1/year) during the study period to participate in the evaluation and advisory committee.

Alex TagawaAlex Tagawa, BS

Is a Research Assistant in the CGMA who supports Dr. Carollo and Dr. Rhodes. Alex began at CGMA in May 2016 after graduating from University of Colorado, Denver with a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Alex is an integral part of the Neuromuscular Disorders and Cerebral Palsy Program, CGMA, and Sports Medicine Program. In his spare time, he plays soccer and runs.

Phone: 720-777-8682
Email: Alex.Tagawa@childrenscolorado.org

Zhaoxing Pan, PhD

Zhaoxing Pan, PhD

Dr. Pan is a Co-Investigator and the Study Senior Biostatistician.  He has been instrumental in the CPAT publications and presentations (see appendix for the full CPAT study references).  Dr. Pan is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a member of the Children’s Hospital Colorado Research Institute biostatistical core.  Dr. Pan has expertise in a wide array of statistical methods beyond basic design and analysis. This includes having worked with complex methods in disability and rehabilitation research, such as methods in categorical and multivariate statistics. He has also provided statistical support on multiple projects at the CGMA including the original CPAT study. He has unique expertise in developing analytical methods for reducing and consolidating high dimensional gait data to composite indices of performance.  He will have overall responsibility for the statistical plan and report. He will participate in all research meetings and assist with the preparation of annual renewals, progress reports, and publications.

Current Trainees

Hyun Kim, BS

Hyun Kim, BS

Hyun is currently a medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. After medical school, Hyun is aspiring to match into a physical medicine and rehabilitation program.


Megan Colip, BSMeghan Colip, BS

Meghan Colip was a research intern at the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis at Children’s Hospital Colorado. As an intern, she was working on the Cerebral Palsy Adult Transition Study and the Rate of Force Development Study. Meghan has recently completed her second bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Colorado Denver and is currently a medical student at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Sruthi Thomas, MD

Sruthi Thomas, MD

Dr. Thomas is currently pediatric physical medicine & rehabilitation physician at Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Thomas, help children affected by various ailments reach their maximum potential and guides patients and families in making evidence-based decisions that meet their goals. She understands that no two situations are identical and there needs to be open communication between physicians, patients, families, and other care team members to personalize care. Additionally, she is a physician scientist, in which she has worked with the CPAT team to enhance the treatments for adults with CP and continues to conduct research to address the concerns of patients and their families.

Emeritus Faculty

Frank Chang, MDFrank Chang, MD

Dr. Chang is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who served as the Orthopedic Medical Director of CGMA since its inception in 1998 and lead the Cerebral Palsy program at Children’s Hospital Colorado for more than 30 years.  He introduced Single-Event, Multi-level (SEML) surgery for children with cerebral palsy to Colorado, utilizing the gait measurements available through CGMA to personalize treatment for more than 5000 children and young adults with CP.  He was the inaugural Children’s Miracle Network/Helppie Family Chair in Orthopaedic Movement Analysis, and a Professor in Orthopedics, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  Dr. Chang retired in 2021 but still consults with the CPAT investigators when he isn’t skiing, cycling, kayaking, or enjoying life with his grandchildren.

Dennis Matthews, MDDennis Matthews, MD

Dennis Matthews, MD; Dr. Matthews is an internationally recognized pediatric physiatrist who served as the Rehab Medical Director of CGMA since its inception in 1998.  Among his many professional responsibilities, he created and served as Chairman of the pediatric rehabilitation program at Children’s Hospital Colorado for more than 30 years, specializing in the treatment of neuromuscular conditions including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other rare muscle diseases.  He has been identified as a pioneer in the field of pediatric rehabilitation and a strong advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration in the treatment of complex musculoskeletal conditions.  Dr. Matthews was also Department Chair and Professor of the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine as well as the inaugural Fischah’s Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  Dr. Matthews also retired in 2021 to spend more time with his grandchildren but continues to influence the work of our program through the multitude of trainees he mentored at Children’s Hospital that follow in his footsteps.

Amy Bodkin

Amy Bodkin, PT, PCS, PhD

Dr. Bodkin is a pediatric physical therapist and was the lead clinician at CGMA for over 20 years.  She served as a co-investigator and primary physical therapist performing clinical assessment and gait analysis for all subjects who participated in the original CPAT study.  She has been an active member of APTA focusing on pediatric neuromuscular conditions and clinical gait analysis for over 30 years, and is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical 
Medicine and Rehabilitation.  She retired from clinical practice in 2020 and now shares her time between Colorado, where she continues as an avid skier with her two children, and Lake Geneva, WI where she sails with her family on her father’s 30 ft. racing sloop. 

Our Emeritus Faculty have provided the inspiration and guidance over many years for the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis, the Cerebral Palsy Adult Transition study, and the ongoing work of the Cerebral Palsy Aging Study.  The current investigators are dedicated to continuing their legacy of caring and commitment to individuals with CP across the lifespan..

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