Matthew J Wright, PhD

Matthew Wright, PhD

Investigator, The Lundquist Institute
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Director, Neurocognitive Equipotentiality, Recovery & Development (NERD) Research Program at LA BioMed


Traumatic brain injury and cognition

Research Description

The primary focus of his research is to understand and optimize cognitive recovery following traumatic brain injury (TBI). This work has produced novel methods of memory assessment that have been adopted by other researchers (e.g., Item Specific Deficit Approach; ISDA), an index to predict cognitive outcomes in retired professional football players, as well as the finding that early metabolic crisis (a secondary injury mechanism) following TBI is associated with long-term cognitive difficulties. Additionally, much of Dr. Wright’s work has led to the development of a model of memory impairment in TBI. The model includes verbal memory, prospective memory, and activity memory, all of which are relevant to independent functioning (e.g., employment, financial management, etc.). Dr. Wright is currently studying the relationship between independent functioning and this memory model in addition to methods that can improve TBI participants’ memory performances (e.g., brain stimulation, cognitive remediation).
Theme Groups


  • BA, 1997, California State University, Fresno, CA
  • PhD, 2006, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Recent and/or Significant Publications

Mannino C, Glenn TC, Hovda DA, et al. Acute glucose and lactate metabolism are associated with cognitive recovery following traumatic brain injury. J Neurosci Res. 2018;96(4):696–701. doi:10.1002/jnr.24097
Wright MJ, Woo E, Birath JB, Siders CA,, Kelly DF, Wang C,, Swerdloff R,, Romero E, Kernan C, Cantu RC, Guskiewicz K. An index predictive of cognitive outcome in retired professional American football players with a history of sports concussion. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2016;38(5):561-71. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2016.1139057. Epub 2016 Feb 22.
Wright MJ, McArthur DL, Alger JR, et al. Early metabolic crisis-related brain atrophy and cognition in traumatic brain injury. Brain Imaging Behav. 2013;7(3):307–315. doi:10.1007/s11682-013-9231-6
Wright MJ, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Woo E. Verbal memory impairment in severe closed head injury: the role of encoding and consolidation. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2010;32(7):728–736. doi:10.1080/13803390903512652
Wright MJ, Woo E, Schmitter-Edgecombe M, Hinkin CH, Miller EN, Gooding AL. The Item-Specific Deficit Approach to evaluating verbal memory dysfunction: rationale, psychometrics, and application. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2009;31(7):790–802. doi:10.1080/13803390802508918