The CACTIS Foundation appointed Jonathan Lifshitz, Ph.D. to serve as its Lead Scientist and Director of Research & Development where he will serve as the nonprofit’s scientific leader, fostering research and development opportunities.

Lifshitz currently serves as the director of the Translational Neurotrauma Research Program in a joint venture through BARROW Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Department of Child Health at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine – Phoenix, and the Phoenix Veterans Administration Health Care System.

Scottsdale-based CACTIS Foundation focuses on advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

CACTIS is currently developing programs in the fields of oncology, molecular imaging, orthopedics and sports medicine and concussions with significant attention to addressing the healthcare delivery disparities of underserved communities.

“(Liftshitz’s) outstanding background and experience will bring invaluable expertise to the Foundation,” said Dr. Hirsch Handmaker, Chairman and CEO of CACTIS. “(Liftshitz) has a strong track record in leading the UACOM-Phoenix and Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Translational Neuroscience programs, both key collaborators for CACTIS as it continues its groundbreaking programs addressing the issue of concussions in young athletes and in victims of domestic violence.”

In 2012, Lifshitz was recruited to Arizona to direct the Translational Neurotrauma Research to improve the quality of life of those with acquired neurological injury. The mission is to conduct hypothesis-driven, peer-reviewed research, while providing Socratic educational opportunities in a collaborative, partnership-driven environment.

The research questions primarily investigate traumatic brain injury, among other acute neurological injuries, as a series of events that dismantle circuits in the brain and in response repair those injured circuits.

Unfortunately, repair occurs without the elegant sequence of events found in development and consequently disorganized circuits form, which serve as the basis for neurological conditions associated with brain injury such as sensory sensitivity, endocrine dysfunction, seizure susceptibility and balance incoordination.

Ongoing investigations identify mechanisms (e.g. inflammation, synaptogenesis, neuropathology) and evaluate restorative and regenerative treatments to improve outcome.

“I’m honored to serve the mission of CACTIS as the Lead Scientist. Research results can be rapidly applied to real world situations for reducing and managing concussions. Together, we have the opportunity for significant impact in the lives of Arizonans and beyond regarding education, diagnosis and treatment,” Lifshitz said.

Lifshitz also serves on the Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injury, the Arizona Medical Center Research Sub-Committee, and as the Vice President for the National Neurotrauma Society. He continues to review scientific proposals for the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Administration. He serves on several journal editorial boards and is a member of professional societies.

Lifshitz received a bachelor’s in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania.