We use activity-based therapies to promote anatomical and functional plasticity. This approach capitalizes on the fact that most brain and spinal cord injuries preserve some sensorimotor connections and that these connections can be targeted for therapy. Work conducted by the laboratory has demonstrated that these spared connections can be strengthened with endogenous activity (practice) or exogenous activity (electrical stimulation). Our team has developed a combination of anatomical, behavioral, and electrophysiological techniques to address the roles of injury and activity in promoting plasticity and recovery. Additionally, we seek to understand how plasticity of the motor systems changes with age and how developmental plasticity can be leveraged to promote recovery after injury.
As a consciously preclinical laboratory, we have developed animal models of human disease to improve our understanding of injury and therapy. We are now using these findings to conduct parallel experiments in humans. Our ultimate goal is to improve skilled movement in people with brain and spinal cord injury.