Technology to treat paralysis

Motor paralysis from stroke or spinal cord injury can be severe and long-lasting, despite damage to a relatively small area of the nervous system. Our goal is to develop neuroprosthetic devices capable of bypassing these damaged areas and restoring volitional control of movement to paralyzed limbs.

Our Research
  • Spinal lesion stained for GFAP (red) and microglia (green)

    Spinal lesion stained for GFAP (red) and microglia (green)

  • Electrode tip imaged with Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

    Electrode tip imaged with Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

  • Neurons recorded from the brain and sorted with PCA

    Neurons recorded from the brain and sorted with PCA

Restore

Restore

We are developing a treatment for paralysis whereby neural signals recorded from intact areas of the cortex are routed around an injury. Proportional stimulation is then delivered to paralyzed muscles or the spinal cord below the injury in order to restore volitional control of movement.
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Reanimate

Reanimate

We have demonstrated that stimulation within the cervical spinal cord is capable of evoking hand and arm movements both before and after injury. Intraspinal stimulation evokes functional and synergistic movements that may be the ideal means to reanimate paralyzed limbs.
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Repair

Repair

We are investigating whether intraspinal stimulation is capable of guiding spared pathways to functional targets after spinal cord injury. In collaboration with Phil Horner, we are also exploring the combined approach of stem cell therapies and electrical stimulation.
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Rehabilitate

Rehabilitate

We are developing treatments for brain injury that provide augmented visual feedback of the activity of impaired muscles via a computer game. In collaboration with Sally McCoy, subjects learn to contract and relax muscles in coordinated patterns to control popular computer games.
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