I am interested in the use of innovative technologies for meeting the clinical needs of individual with neurological compromise. Much of our work is focused on using virtual reality simulation, neuropsychological measures and portable imaging systems (i.e., fNIRS). I work with cognitively impaired populations—traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia—in order to understand the effects of neurological involvement on functions, such as driving, returning to work and everyday activities of living. Our work intersects psychology, biomedical engineering, transportation, and rehabilitation medicine.
Maria Schultheis, PhD, is the Department Head for the Department of Psychology as well as a professor with appointments in the Department of Psychology and the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. Schultheis is a Clinical Neuropsychologist who received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Drexel University in 1998.
Schulthies’ clinical and research experience have been focused on the rehabilitation of cognitively impaired populations, including traumatic brain injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis. Specifically, she has specialized in 1) the application of technologies to the clinical, research and education of psychology and 2) studying the demands (physical, cognitive and behavioral) of driving following neurological compromise. Recently, she has focused on the development of new driving assessment protocols for individuals with disabilities. This includes research focusing on the application of Virtual Reality (VR) technology. Schultheis is also investigating the development of VR as a tool for ecologically valid assessment and retraining of everyday activities in rehabilitation. Professor Schultheis' overall interest is in research related to the investigation and development of methodologies that have functional significance and can improve the quality of everyday life for persons with disabilities.
Schultheis' work has been funded by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Her work was recognized in awards from the National Academy of Neuropsychology and the Philadelphia Neuropsychological Society. She is also the recipient of the 2007 American Psychological Association Early Career Award for Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology).
Schultheis’ approach is interdisciplinary and her work cuts across the fields of Clinical Psychology, Rehabilitation, Engineering and Transportation. She has published over 35 manuscripts, chapters and other publications and has presented her work at various international and national forums. She is active in several professional organizations related to these areas and currently serves on the National Research Council, as a member of the Transportation Research Board.