The spinal cord is a remarkable organ. The human spinal cord measures 0.5 inches at its largest diameter in the cervical spine, and within this space there are approximately 50+ anatomical tracts, 1 billion neurons, and 7 trillion connections.
Our laboratory strategy is based on three observations: (1) Complex motor and autonomic functions are encoded in the spinal cord. (2) There is substantial automaticity present in the spinal cord with minimal input from the cortex. (3) In conditions such as spinal cord injury, there are dormant, residual circuits present that can be modulated to become functional even years after initial injury.
We have used neuromodulation to restore lost function. The focus of our laboratory is to elucidate the spinal cord circuits relevant for motor and autonomic function and, combined with the 3 simple observations, apply this understanding to the development of novel treatments for injury conditions such as spinal cord injury. We conduct basic science research in rodent models and translate these findings to humans in clinical trials. Importantly, we seek to elucidate the mechanistic basis for such improvement by using optogenetic, chemogenetic, immunohistochemical, physiological, electrophysiological, computer modeling, and AI techniques.
Fundamental to our way of thinking is that we are not constrained by artificial barriers. We are multi-disciplinary in our approach. We are neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, molecular biologists, computer scientists, engineers, and physical therapists working together in the laboratory. We are driven by the questions we ask and constrained only by our imagination, not by our background, training, or degrees. Join us and take part in discovery.
Animal (1) Optogenetics (2) Chemogenetics (3) Immunohistochemistry and tract viral tracing with fluorescent and confocal microscopy (4) Whole animal and isolated organ physiology and electrophysiology (5) Single-nuclei RNA-sequencing (6) Animal behavioral assessments (7) Computer modelling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence analysis and application
Human (1) Human physiology and electrophysiology in anesthetized and non-anesthetized state (2) 3D motion capture (3) Overground and body-weight supported locomotor training and assessment (4) Upper extremity robotic training and assessment (5) Advanced fMRI imaging (6) Early to advance phase clinical trials (7) Computer modelling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence analysis and application