Alex Wong in a lab meeting with students

Cognitive Rehabilitation Laboratory

General Laboratory Description

Dr. Wong’s Cognitive Rehabilitation Laboratory has three key areas to optimize health and participation for individuals with neurological conditions:

  • Developing precise assessments through the application of modern psychometric theories and mobile health technologies
  • Developing innovative interventions to maximize daily, cognitive and emotional functioning
  • Understanding mechanisms of functional recovery using wireless health, neurobehavioral testing, and patient-reported methods

Dr. Wong also directs the Stroke Management and Rehabilitation Team (SMART) Stroke Registry, which prospectively collects data from medicine, radiology and rehabilitation on approximately 30,000 stroke patients admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital. This provides an ideal environment for researchers and students to study optimal stroke recovery from acute care to community rehabilitation.

General Description of Student Activities

Dr. Wong uses an experiential-learning approach to help students gain clinical research experience and develop necessary skills to link research to practice. Students will have opportunities to receive training and participate in scheduling and conducting client interviews, focus groups and assessments. In addition, students will obtain formal training on different standardized functional and cognitive assessments commonly used in the lab, as well as assist in intervention sessions as a student therapist, conduct qualitative and quantitative data analysis, and write peer-reviewed articles.

OTD students have the opportunity to develop a project as part of an ongoing study that meets the resources available in the lab. Students are expected to support other lab members as necessary and attend regular lab meetings.

By the end of the final year, OTD students may be mentored in the development of a manuscript.

Examples of Projects

  • Investigating the impact of neurocognitive and mood deficits on daily life participation among stroke survivors using neurobehavioral assessments and ecological momentary assessments
  • Using wearable and ambient sensors for predicting activities of daily living among stroke survivors
  • Testing a mobile self-management intervention to improve meaningful activity participation among stroke survivors
  • Strategies to increase motivation for physical activity participation among stroke survivors
  • Adapting and testing a patient engagement intervention – Enhanced Medical Rehabilitation – for inpatient spinal cord injury rehabilitation
  • Evaluating a mindfulness-based meditation intervention to reduce post-stroke stress-related symptoms
  • Developing an assessment to understand the impact of cancer and identifying online and community resources for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors

PhD Mentor Information

Dr. Wong is an assistant professor of occupational therapy, neurology and psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He also directs a laboratory focusing on neurorehabilitation that has been supported by grants from the NIH, NIDILRR, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and other institutions. Dr. Wong has published more than 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and delivered more than 100 professional presentations.

Dr. Wong’s research focuses on using mobile health technologies, neurobehavioral assessments, and patient-reported outcome measures to characterize neuro-recovery and develop rehabilitation programs for people after stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. He was selected as a recipient of the Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM).

Dr. Wong serves on editorial boards of three rehabilitation journals and as an ad-hoc reviewer for journals, foundations and federal agencies in the U.S. Internationally, Dr. Wong collaborates with investigators in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. He is also the principal investigator for the Washington University Stroke Registry.

Regarding Dr. Wong’s education and professional training, Dr. Wong earned a Bachelor of Science degree (1st Class Honors) in Occupational Therapy and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Rehabilitation Sciences from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He earned another doctorate in Community Health at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and completed his postdoctoral research training at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago).

Research Foci

Dr. Wong’s research program is focused on developing patient-centered rehabilitation for people with neurological disorders, especially those after stroke. His lab studies focus on (1) advancing precise outcome measurement development, (2) characterizing the influence of cognitive impairments and mood symptoms on daily life participation, and (3) developing individualized interventions to optimize engagement, functional independence and community participation. His research tools include neurobehavioral assessments to quantify one’s capacity in a structured setting, ambulatory assessments (accelerometers and smartphone-based ecological momentary assessments) to measure one’s performance in real-world contexts, and patient-reported outcome methods to understand one’s perceived functional limitations and participation restrictions.

Current PhD Students

Chun Lun (Stephen) Lau, BSOT
Yejin Lee, MSOT
Ryan Walsh, MSOT, OTR/L

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Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.

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*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653