Projects & Highlights

Currently, our team pursues research questions regarding the extent to which non-invasive electrical spinal cord stimulation can neuromodulate spinal circuitry to recover sensorimotor function after paralysis. We strive to develop methods to improve motor functions and mobility that would have immediate use in clinical applications. Our current research is focused on:

1. Adaptive neuroplasticity: Using sensorimotor stimulation to assess function
2. Non-invasive approaches for the recovery of mobility
3. Preclinical models

Adaptive neuroplasticity

Using sensorimotor stimulation to assess function
Quantification of function in the descending and ascending pathways is not only critical for identifying the translesional connectivity after neurological disorders and injuries; it can also further our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the establishment of supraspinal-spinal transmission during the course of neuro-recovery. Our goal is to implement non-invasive techniques for comprehensive assessment of supraspinal-spinal connectivity. We investigate the function of descending tracts, including propriospinal, vestibulospinal, and corticospinal pathways during and following the course of goal-oriented exercises when combined with somatosensory stimulation.

Non-invasive approaches for the recovery of mobility

We pursue the question of how transcutaneous electrical spinal cord stimulation can provide sufficient excitability of the spinal circuitries to facilitate upper or lower limb movements, full body weight-bearing, standing and sitting balance, and stepping. This strategy is based on a non-invasive method to modulate the excitability of spinal circuitry, and uses multiple modalities to enhance both descending and intraspinal networks during the course of motor (re-)learning and neuro-recovery.

Preclinical models

Using animal models, we investigate the function of corticospinal pathways. Associated experimental findings will help to provide evidence of maladaptive and plastic changes in the descending pathways following neural injuries and throughout the course of sensorimotor recovery.