Twamley SMART Lab
Welcome to the Twamley SMART Lab
SMART stands for Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapies, and we aim to bridge the fields of neuropsychology and rehabilitation and improve cognitive health. Our lab focuses on developing and evaluating cognitive training interventions to improve cognition and functioning in people with neuropsychiatric conditions such as brain injuries, age-related mild cognitive impairment, and psychiatric disorders. The interventions we've developed include Compensatory Cognitive Training (CCT) and Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART), which focus on teaching strategies to improve organization, attention, learning, memory, cognitive flexibility, problem-solving, and planning. Our approach uses compensatory cognitive training, rather than extensive drills and practice. In other words, we teach people how to improve their cognitive skills by using strategies, have them practice their strategy use in the real world, and then troubleshoot any difficulties that come up. We then help turn these strategies into habits, so they can be used automatically in the real world. Our hope is that cognitive abilities will help people perform better in their everyday activities and reach their goals pertaining to school, work, social functioning, and independent living. CCT and CogSMART have been successful for people with cognitive challenges resulting from many types of neurological and psychiatric conditions. The CCT and CogSMART manuals, as well as the CogSMART web-based mobile app, are freely available at www.cogsmart.com. Most of our current studies are focused on Veterans, and our lab is physically located in the main hospital of the VA San Diego Healthcare System, adjacent to UC San Diego.
The Twamley SMART Lab is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in research and training. We believe that a diverse research group improves science by including multiple perspectives, lived experiences, and research interests, and we recognize that systemic racism has prevented many people from pursuing careers in science. We aim to increase diversity in our research group by actively recruiting trainees from minoritized groups. Dr. Twamley serves as a mentor for the UC San Diego Hispanic Center of Excellence and is committed to recruiting, retaining, and elevating Black and other diverse trainees in her lab and in the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry. We also work to ensure that our research studies recruit participants that represent the diversity in the community. Dr. Twamley is an active fundraiser for Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the number of women of color in STEM careers by empowering girls of color ages 7-17 to pursue training in computer science and technology.
We recognize that UC San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System were built on the unceded territory of the Kumeyaay Nation. We respect the land and its original people, and we acknowledge their contributions to the San Diego region.