Projects and Highlights

Current Projects

Our team pursues research questions regarding the extent to which noninvasive 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 lab is always looking for research volunteers! If you have a neurological disease or injury or, on the other hand, are neurologically intact and would just like to participate in research, we need you. Information on our research in general can be found below. For more detailed information, please contact our research coordinator, Rachel Markley at rmarkley@houstonmethodist.org or 713.441.3770.

  1. 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.
  1. 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 noninvasive 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.
  1. 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.