UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology - Brittany Travers

OT student doing research with child
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Dr. Brittany Travers

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Dr. Brittany Travers

Assistant Professor
Kinesiology
Occupational Therapy (OT)

435 Waisman Center  binoculars icon
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53705
Office: 608/263-0282

btravers@wisc.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Education

Postdoctoral, WI
Universiry of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison

Ph D, Cognitive Psychology
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

MA, Cognitive Psychology
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

BA, Psychology and Spanish, Summa cum laude
Creighton University
Omaha, NE


 

 

Grants and Sponsorships

  • 3/31/2019 - Amount: $300,000.00, "Beyond The Cerebrum: Multimodal Imaging Of The Brainstem In Autism Spectrum Disorder," Awarded By: The Hartwell Foundation, Sponsor Type: Private, Brittany G. Travers, Principal.
    Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disability variously characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. ASD affects 1 in 68 children in the US. The symptoms are debilitating, but there are few biology-based treatments available, possibly due in part to the high degree of individual differences in autistic symptom profiles. The inability to accurately sub-categorize the spectrum of autism disorders has substantial negative implications for appropriate diagnosis. Further, the longitudinal shifts in severity due to age-related effects or therapeutic mediation add to this lack of clarity. This murky world of autism characterization has discouraged those who would seek to create and test targeted interventions, as most treatment trials select subjects based on social behavior, which is subjectively defined, hard to localize in the brain, and may omit children who barely miss the diagnostic cutoffs. By contrast, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain has been hailed as a more direct window into ASD than behavior alone, but 25 years later, the field has yet to unveil how the brain maps to the core behaviors of the disorder. While connectivity in the autistic brain is considered a difficulty, few reports agree on where brain connectivity differs compared to controls, and even fewer have found consistent links between patterns of connectivity and symptom profiles. Moreover, the current paradigm reflects long-held views that autism is a disorder associated with the upper part of the brain (cerebrum), which controls higher-order brain functions such as thought and action. However, deeper, more primitive portions of the brainstem are responsible for basic motor functions, like breathing, locomotion, orientation, ingestion, defense, and aggression, as well as more advanced functions like sleep and attention. Abnormalities in these basic functions may be symptomatic of ASD. For example, postural stability during standing is a fundamental motor skill that is known to be impaired in individuals with ASD. This is especially important because my own research has shown that measures of postural stability are correlated with ASD symptom severity and that white matter in specific circuits of the brainstem predicted differences in symptoms. To address an unmet need for biology-based and symptom-related subgroups that can be used to characterize ASD, I propose to use multimodal MRI for mapping and measuring the functional, structural, and metabolic organization in the brainstem of 100 children with ASD and related disorders. Combined with corresponding assessments of symptom severity, I will seek to characterize the brainstem beyond current behaviorally defined diagnostic categories by identifying clusters of children whose brainstem microstructure, function, and metabolite concentrations are similar. If I am successful in linking brainstem pathology to specific autism symptoms, it will be possible to create new, biology-based sub-classifications of ASD. Targeted therapy holds the most promise to alleviate the disorder and to identify effective interventions, and brainstem image metrics could serve as a biomarker to facilitate development of interventions for specific subgroups of children and as a means to monitor longitudinal personalized treatment plans.
  • 8/31/2017 - Amount: $50,000.00, "Computational Predictors Of Learning And Neurobiology In Autism," Awarded By: UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Sponsor Type: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ari Rosenberg, Principal; Brittany G. Travers, Co-Principal.
  • 6/30/2017 - Amount: $79,728.00, "Robotically-Guided Motor Assessment And Therapy In Autism.," Awarded By: Graduate School Spring Interdisciplinary Competition, Sponsor Type: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michael Zinn, Co-Principal; Andrea Mason; Brittany G. Travers.
  • 2015-2016 - Amount: $65,000.00, "Narsad Young Investigator Award," Awarded By: Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Sponsor Type: Private, Brittany G. Travers, Principal.
  • 2013-2014 - Amount: $500.00, "Motor Performance In Autism," Awarded By: Friends of the Waisman Center, Inc., Sponsor Type: Other, Brittany G. Travers, Principal.
    Abstract: This grant provided funding for the collection of pilot data and recruitment of participants in a study of motor development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder compared to children with typical development.

Publications

  • Dean, 3rd, D.C., Travers, B.G., Adluru, N., Tromp do, P.M., Destiche, D.J., Samsin, D., Prigge, M.B., Zielinski, B.A., Fletcher, P.T., Anderson, J.S., Froehlich, A.L., Bigler, E.D., Lange, N., Lainhart, J.E., & Alexander, A.L. (2016). Investigating the Microstructural Correlation of White Matter in Autism Spectrum Disorder. 6(5), 415-33.
  • Dean, 3rd, D.C., O'Muircheartaigh, J., Dirks, H., Travers, B.G., Adluru, N., Alexander, A.L., & Deoni, S.C. (2016). Mapping an index of the myelin g-ratio in infants using magnetic resonance imaging. 132, 225-37.
  • Travers, B.G., Bigler, E., Duffield, T.C., Prigge, M.D., Froehlich, A., Lange, N., Alexander, A.L., & Lainhart, J.E. (2016). Longitudinal development of manual motor ability in Autism Spectrum Disorder from childhood to mid-adulthood relates to adaptive daily living skills. Developmental Science.
    Download Publication
  • Green, R.R., Bigler, E.D., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M.B., Travers, B.G., Cariello, A.N., Anderson, J.S., Zielinski, B.A., Alexander, A., Lange, N., & Lainhart, J.E. (2016). Beery VMI performance in autism spectrum disorder. 22(7), 795-817.
  • Travers, B.G., Tromp, D.P., Adluru, N., Lange, N., Destiche, D., Ennis, C., Nielsen, J., Froehlich, A.L., Prigge, M.D., Fletcher, P.T., Anderson, J.S., Zielinski, B.A., Bigler, E.D., Lainhart, J.E., & Alexander, A.L. (2015). Atypical development of white matter microstructure of the corpus callosum in males with autism: A longitudinal investigation. Molecular Autism.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Travers, B.G., Kana, R.K., Klinger, L.G., Klein, C.L., & Klinger, M.R. (2015). Motor learning in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Group differences in superior parietal lobule related to learning and repetitive behaviors. Autism Research. 8, 38-51.
  • Travers, B.G., Bigler, E.D., Tromp, D.P., Adluru, N., Destiche, D., Samsin, D., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M.D., Duffield, T.C., Lange, N., Alexander, A.L., & Lainhart, J.E. (2015). Brainstem White Matter Predicts Individual Differences in Manual Motor Difficulties and Symptom Severity in Autism.
  • Jantz, P.B., Bigler, E.D., Froehlich, A.L., Prigge, M.B., Cariello, A.N., Travers, B.G., Anderson, J., Zielinski, B.A., Alexander, A.L., Lange, N., & Lainhart, J.E. (2015). Wide Range Achievement Test in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Test-Retest Stability.
  • Mussey, J.L., Travers, B.G., Klinger, L.G., & Klinger, M.R. (2015). Decision-making skills in ASD: performance on the Iowa Gambling Task. 8(1), 105-14.
  • Lange, N., Travers, B.G., Bigler, E.D., Prigge, M.B., Froehlich, A.L., Nielsen, J.A., Cariello, A.N., Zielinski, B.A., Anderson, J.S., Fletcher, P.T., Alexander, A.A., & Lainhart, J.E. (2015). Longitudinal volumetric brain changes in autism spectrum disorder ages 6-35 years. 8(1), 82-93.
  • Travers, B.G., Tromp do, P.M., Adluru, N., Lange, N., Destiche, D., Ennis, C., Nielsen, J.A., Froehlich, A.L., Prigge, M.B., Fletcher, P.T., Anderson, J.S., Zielinski, B.A., Bigler, E.D., Lainhart, J.E., & Alexander, A.L. Atypical development of white matter microstructure of the corpus callosum in males with autism: a longitudinal investigation. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 6, 15.
  • Trontel, H.G., Duffield, T.C., Bigler, E.D., Abildskov, T.J., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M.B., Travers, B.G., Anderson, J.S., Zielinski, B.A., Alexander, A.L., Lange, N., & Lainhart, J.E. (2015). Mesial temporal lobe and memory function in autism spectrum disorder: an exploration of volumetric findings. 37(2), 178-92.
  • Zielinski, B.A., Prigge, M.B., Nielsen, J.A., Froehlich, A.L., Abildskov, T., Anderson, J., Fletcher, P.T., Travers, B.G., Lange, N., Alexander, A.L., Bigler, E.D., & Lainhart, J.E. (2014). Longitudinal changes in cortical thickness in autism and typical development. Brain. 137(6), 1799-1812.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Travers, B.G., Bigler, E.D., Tromp, D.P., Adluru, N., Froehlich, A.L., Ennis, C., Lange, N., Nielsen, J.A., Prigge, M.B., Alexander, A.L., & Lainhart, J.E. (2014). Longitudinal processing speed impairments in males with autism and the effects of white matter microstructure. Neuropsychologia. 53, 137-145.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Converse, A.K., Ahlers, E., Travers, B.G., & Davidson, R.J. (2014). Tai chi training reduces self-report of inattention in healthy young adults. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8(13).
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Travers, B.G., & Alexander, A.L. (2013). Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging in autism. In J.S.Suri et al. (Eds.), Imaging the Brain in Autism. New York: Springer.
  • Trontel, H.G., Duffield, T.C., Bigler, E.D., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M.B., Nielsen, J.A., Cooperrider, J.R., Cariello, A.N., Travers, B.G., Anderson, J.S., Zielinski, B.A., Alexander, A.L., Lange, N., & Lainhart, J.E. (2013). Fusiform correlates of facial memory in autism. Behavioral Sciences. 3, 348-371.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Travers, B.G., Powell, P.S., Klinger, L.G., & Klinger, M.R. (2013). Motor difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Linking symptom severity and postural stability. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 43(7), 1568-1583.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Duffield, T.C., Trontel, H.G., Bigler, E.D., Froehlich, A., Prigge, M.B., Travers, B.G., Green, R.R., Cariello, A.N., Cooperrider, J., Nielsen, J.A., Alexander, A.L., Anderson, J.S., Fletcher, P.T., Lange, N., Zielinski, B.A., & Lainhart, J. (2013). Neuropsychological investigation of motor impairments in Autism. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 35(8), 867-881.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Travers, B.G., Powell, P.S., Mussey, J.L., Klinger, L.G., Crisler, M.E., & Klinger, M.R. (2013). Spatial and identity cues differentially affect implicit contextual cueing in adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 43(10), 2393-2404.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Travers, B.G., Adluru, N., Ennis, C., Tromp, D.P., Destiche, D., Doran, S., Bigler, E.D., Lange, N., Lainhart, J.E., & Lainhart, A.L. (2012). Diffusion tensor imaging in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A review. Autism Research. 5(5), 289-313.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Kana, R.K., Wadsworth, H., & Travers, B.G. (2011). A systems level analysis of the mirror neuron hypothesis and imitation impairments in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 35(3), 894-902.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Kana, R.K., Klein, C.L., Klinger, L.G., Travers, B.G., & Klinger, M.R. (2011). Neural representations of self versus other: Lessons from Autism. In M. Just (Eds.), Development of Brain Systems in Autism. London: Psychology Press.
  • Travers, B.G., Klinger, M.R., & Klinger, L.G. (2011). Working memory and attention in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In D.Fein (Eds.), The Neuropsychology of Autism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cherney, I., Greteman, A., & Travers, B.G. (2008). A cross-cultural view of adults' perceptions of children's rights. Social Justice Research. 21, 432-456.
  • Green, R., Bigler, E., Alyson, F.L., Molly, P.D., Travers, B.G., Cariello, A.N., Anderson, J.S., Zielinski, B.A., Alexander, A.L., Lange, N., & Lainhart, J.E. (in press). Beery VMI performance in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Child Neuropsychology.

Presentations

  • Travers, B.G. (2016, October 13). Motor development, neurobiology, and daily living skills in autism, Penn State Kinesiology Colloquium Series, Kinesiology Department, Penn State University, Happy Valley, Pennsylvania.
  • Travers, B.G. (2016, May 22). Quantitative assessment of kinematics and balance during dressing in autism: A feasibility study, Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Travers, B.G., Litovsky, R., & Shutts, K. (2015, November 13). Work-Life Balance, Waisman Center Ethics and Professional Development Seminar, Madison, WI.
  • Travers, B.G. (2015, November 5). Informed consent in vulnerable populations, panelist, Integrating Research Ethics and Scholarship (IRES), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.
  • Rodgers, R., Bellinger, G., Freer, C., Travers, B.G., & Mason, A. (2015, October 21). Unimanual and bimanual reach to grasp movements in typically developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Society for Neuroscience,, Society for Neuroscience,, Chicago, IL USA.
  • Dean, D., Travers, B.G., Bigler, E., Prigge, M.D., Froehlich, A., Lange, N., & Alexander, A.L. (2015). Age related changes of white matter interrelationships in autism spectrum disorder., Joint Annual Meeting ISMRM-ESMRMB, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Alexander, A.L., Sterling, A., Travers, B.G., Lainhart, J.E., Kecskemeti, S., (2015). Retrospective motion correction of MPnRAGE studies in children, Joint Annual Meeting ISMRM-ESMRMB, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Prigge, M., Lange, N., Bigler, E., Zygmunt, K., Travers, B.G., Abildskov, T., Froehlich, A., Fletcher, P.T., Alexander, A.L., Zielinski, B., & Lainhart, J. (2015, May 16). Longitudinal cortical thickness development in relation to changes in SRS scores over time in Autism, International Meeting for Autism Research, International Society for Autism Research, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Travers, B.G., Presenter & Author, Bigler, E., Author Only, Duffield, T., Author Only, Prigge, M., Author Only, Froehlich, A., Author Only, Lange, N., Author Only, Alexander, A.L., & Lainhart, J. (2015, May 16). Longitudinal development of manual motor ability in autism from childhood to mid-adulthood and corresponding adaptive daily living skills, International Meeting for Autism Research, International Society for Autism Research, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Dean, D., Travers, B.G., Bigler, E., Prigge, M., Froehlich, A., Lange, N., Alexander, A.L., & Lainhart, J. (2015, May 16). Microstructural covariance of white matter in Autism Spectrum Disorder, International Meeting for Autism Research, International Society for Autism Research, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Travers, B.G. (2015, May 2). Brain connectivity changes among adolescents with autism as a function of motor training: A pilot study, Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Travers, B.G., Alexander, A.L., & Davidson, R.R. (2015, April 20). Interdisciplinary collaborations, Waisman Center Ethics and Professional Development Seminar, Madison, WI.
  • Travers, B.G., Bigler, E.D., Tromp, D.P., Adluru, N., Froehlich, A.L., & Lainhart, J.E. (2014). Manual motor performance related to autistic traits, daily living skills, and white matter microstructure in Autism Spectrum Disorder, International Meeting for Autism Research, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Travers, B.G. (2013). Motor impairments and symptom severity in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison Kinesiology Seminar Series, Madison, WI.
  • Travers, B.G., Alexander, A.L., & Davidson, R.R. (2013). Interdisciplinary collaborations, Waisman Center Ethics and Professional Development Seminar, Madison, WI.
  • Travers, B.G., Bigler, E.D., Tromp, D.P., Adluru, N., Froehlich, A.L., & Lainhart, J.E. (2013). Longitudinal changes in processing speed and corresponding white matter microstructure in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), International Meeting for Autism Research, San Sebastian, Spain.
  • Powell, P.S., Crisler, M.E., Klinger, L.G., Travers, B.G., & Klinger, M.R. (2012). Impaired classical conditioning in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder, International Meeting for Autism Research, Tornoto, Ontario.
  • Klinger, M.R., Travers, B.G., Powell, P.S., & Klinger, L.G. (2012). Motor Resonance in Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, International Meeting for Autism Research, Tornoto, Ontario.
  • Travers, B.G., Powell, P.S., Klinger, L.G., & Klinger, M.R. (2012). Postural stability and symmetry in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Relation between symptom severity and wii balance board performance, International Meeting for Autism Research, Tornoto, Ontario.
  • Travers, B.G., Klinger, M.R., & Sandy, C.J. (2012). Psychological research and the Internet: A comparison of online and in-lab millisecond-precise tasks, Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.
  • Powell, P.S., Crisler, M.E., Travers, B.G., Mussey, J.L., Klinger, M.R., & Klinger, L.G. (2011). Global and local contextual learning in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), International Meeting for Autism Research, San Diego, California.
  • Klinger, C.L., Klinger, L.G., Kana, R., Travers, B.G., Montague, R., & Klinger, M.R. (2010). Neural bases of implicit learning in young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, International Meeting for Autism Research, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Travers, B.G., Wheelock, M., Klein, C.L., Klinger, L.G., Montague, R., & Klinger, M.R. (2010). Prototype learning in Autism Spectrum Disorders, International Meeting for Autism Research, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Travers, B.G., Klein, C., Klinger, M.R., Klinger, L.G., & Kana, R.K. (2009). Neural correlates of motor-linked implicit learning in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders, International Meeting for Autism Research, Chicago, IL.
  • Klein, C.L., Travers, B.G., Klinger, M.R., Klinger, L.G., & Kana, R.K. (2009). Neural correlates of self-representation in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders, International Meeting for Autism Research, Chicago, IL.

Departmental Service

  • Diverse-OT Student Organization
    Dates of Membership: 2016 - Pres.
    Accomplishments: Diverse-OT is a student organization focused on positive change in regard to diversity in the occupational therapy field and within the UW MSOT program.
  • Faculty Advisor.

Public Service

  • Early Career Development Pre-Conference, International Society for Autism Research
    Dates of Membership: May 2016 - May 2016

  • Health Occupation Students of America-UW Madison and Special Olympics Event,
    Dates of Membership: March 2016 - March 2016

  • Waisman Center's Grandparents' Network
    Dates of Membership: May 2015 - May 2015

  • Waisman Center's Autism Day with the Experts
    Dates of Membership: Jan. 2015 - Jan. 2015

  • Early Career Development Pre-Conference, International Society for Autism Research
    Dates of Membership: May 2014 - May 2014

Awards and Honors

  • Second most-cited Autism Research article over a five-year period by Google Scholar
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Date(s): June 2016
  • Young Investigator Award
    Organization: International Society for Autism Research (INSAR)
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: International
    Description: Up to two Young Investigator Awards are granted for the best empirical research papers published or in press in that year by an investigator who has been awarded their PhD or MD in the past seven years. The INSAR Awards Committee reviews each of the competing papers. The papers with the highest scores receive the awards.
    Date(s): May 14, 2016
  • Morse Society Scholar
    Organization: Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Scope: Regional
    Date(s): 2013
  • Award for Excellence in Research by a Doctoral Student
    Organization: University of Alabama
    Scope: Regional
    Description: Best doctoral research among all doctoral students at the University
    Date(s): 2011
  • Lacy-Ellis Award
    Organization: Psychology Department
    Scope: Regional
    Description: Best doctoral research in the Psychology Department
    Date(s): 2010
  • Outstanding Research Award by a Doctoral Student
    Organization: College of Arts & Sciences
    Scope: Regional
    Description: Best doctoral research among all doctoral students at the college level
    Date(s): 2010

Memberships

  • Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
    Scope of Organization: International, Member Since: September 2015
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
    Scope of Organization: Regional, Member Since: February 2015
  • International Society for Autism Research (INSAR)
    Scope of Organization: International, Member Since: January 2007

The following is a representative sample of media contributions.

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