Albert "Skip" Rizzo, PhD
Research Scientist - Institute for Creative Technologies
Research Asst. Professor - USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Director - Virtual Environments Lab, Integrated Media Systems Center, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

(213) 610-4737
(310) 574-5725
Email: rizzo(at) 
Dept. Mailing Address: USC Institute for Creative Technologies 13274 Fiji Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Ph.D.		State University of New York-Binghamton
			Clinical Psychology, 1991
M.S.		University of New Orleans
			Experimental Psychology, 1982
B.A. 		University of Hartford
			Psychology, 1977, Magna Cum Laude

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship:

University of Southern California - Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
NIA Fellow - Endocrinology and the Neurobiology of Aging

Started at USC: 1995

Research Topics: Virtual Reality application design, development and evaluation in mental health and rehabilitation

Research Description

Albert 'Skip' Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems targeting the assessment and training/rehabilitation of spatial abilities, attention, memory, executive function and motor abilities. He also conducts research on VR applications that use 360 Degree Panoramic video for exposure therapy (social phobia), role-playing applications (anger management, etc.), journalism studies and digital media art creation. In collaboration with Jeff Gold at LA ChildrenŐs Hospital, he is investigating the use of VR for acute pain distraction during at painful medical procedures and for discomfort reduction during chemotherapy. His latest project has focused on the translation of the graphic assets from the Xbox game, Full Spectrum Warrior, into an exposure therapy application for combat-related PTSD with Iraq War veterans. In spite of the diversity of these areas of research, the common thread that drives all of these applications involves the study of how VR simulation technology can be usefully applied to serve the needs of the user/client/patient in a manner that goes beyond what is available with traditional 20th Century tools and methods!

Role in ISNSR:

Along with Margaret McLaughlin, he is currently designing game-based motor rehabilitation VR applications for persons with impairments due to do Central Nervous System dysfunction. While the clinical population of focus at ISNSR is stroke , the systems being developed at the Virtual Environments and Haptics Lab are designed so that they could be applied for other forms of neurological disorders and acquired brain injury.

Selected Publications

Feintuch, U., Raz, L., Hwang, J., Yongseok, J., Josman, N., Katz, N., Kizony, R., Rand, D., Rizzo, A., Shahar, M. & Weiss, P.L. (in press). Integrating haptic-tactile feedback into a video capture based VE for rehabilitation. CyberPsychology and Behavior.

Matheis, R., Schultheis, M.T., Tiersky, L.A., DeLuca, J., Mills, S.R. & Rizzo, A.A. (in press). Is learning and memory different in a virtual environment? Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.

Rizzo, A.A. & Kim, G. (2005). A SWOT analysis of the field of Virtual Rehabilitation and Therapy. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. 14(2), 1-28.

Rand, D., Kizony, R., Feintuch, U., Katz, N., Josman, N., Rizzo, A.A. and Weiss, P.L. (2005). Comparison of two VR platforms for rehabilitation: Video capture versus HMD. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. 14(2). 147-160.

Rose, F.D., Brooks, B.M. & Rizzo, A.A. (2005). Virtual Reality in Brain Damage Rehabilitation: Review. CyberPsychology & Behavior. 8(3). 241-262.

Wiederhold, B.K. & Rizzo, A.A. (2005). Virtual Reality and Applied Psychophysiology. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. 30(3), 183-185.

Morie, J.F., Iyer, K., Luigi, D.P., Williams, J., Dozois, A. & Rizzo, A.A. (2005). Development of a Data Management Tool for Investigating Multivariate Space and Free Will Experiences in Virtual Reality. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. 30(3), 319-331.

Rizzo, A.A., Schultheis, M.T., Kerns, K. & Mateer, C. (2004). Analysis of Assets for Virtual Reality Applications in Neuropsychology. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.14(1/2) 207-239.

Rizzo, A.A., Strickland, D. & Bouchard, S. (2004). Issues and Challenges for Using Virtual Environments in Telerehabilitation. Telemedicine Journal and e-Health. 10(2), 184-195.

Rizzo, A.A., Cohen, I., Weiss, P.L., Kim, J.G., Yeh, S.C., Zali, B. & Hwang, J. (2004). Design and Development of Virtual Reality based Motor Rehabilitation Scenarios. Proceedings of the 26th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

The Center is funded as part of the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Initiative, grant number P20 RR20700-01. NIH Program Administrator: Dr. Greg Faber