Dr. Tracey Wheeler is a Program Officer for the Spinal Cord Injury Research on the Translational Spectrum [SCIRTS] portfolio. This funding portfolio spans mechanistic, preclinical, translational, and clinical research aimed at improving function and recovery following spinal cord injury. Tracey works out of the Foundation’s satellite office in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
In addition to management of the SCIRTS portfolio, Tracey has been instrumental in coordinating resources and identifying opportunities to advance SCI bowel and bladder management. Through her work with field experts and implementation of a targeted research competition in 2019, the Foundation dedicated over $3.5 million in additional research grants in this area. She continues to manage these promising efforts which hope to translate enabling and curative therapies within the next 10 years.
Tracey has over 20 years of experience in program development, evaluation, and management of scientific research. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as a scientific consultant and staff advisor at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] in the areas of biomedical and biotechnology research. This work included programs designed to determine neural interface failure mechanisms, create technological improvements to overcome these failures, and transition ready technologies to clinical use. She has numerous publications on topics ranging from emerging brain-computer-interface technologies to the long-term effects of stimulant exposure on adolescent central nervous system development. Tracey received her PhD with a concentration in biopsychology from George Mason University.
Tracey spends a lot of her spare time creating functional and enjoyable living spaces. She is an active volunteer in her community; leading scout troops, managing community non-profit grants, and fostering homeless animals. She also loves to observe animals in nature, whether they are in her backyard, a national park, or across the globe.