Medical Rehabilitation Research Infrastructure Network

Overview of Engineering For Neurologic Rehabilitation

This R24 research resource, called "Engineering for Neurological Rehabilitation" seeks to disseminate the PIs' core expertise in engineering and neuroscience to support the development of new faculty in medical centers and hospitals across the United States.

This program builds on core facilities established under the auspices of our R24 network originally funded in 2005, and under analogous NIDRR-sponsored research centers supporting robotics research for stroke and other neurological disorders.

The core facilities include the following:

Neurosciences Core: Directors are C.J. Heckman (Northwestern) and George Hornby (UIC). Dr. Heckman directs a laboratory dealing with animal models of spinal cord injury using electrophysiological, anatomical, immunohistochemical, and pharmacological approaches. This laboratory is available to pursue studies preparatory to human testing. Dr. Hornby's core  facilitates clinical testing in human populations.

Robotics/Mechanics Core: Directors are James Patton and Sandro Mussa-lvaldi. They make available an array of different robotic and mechanical systems designed for fundamental research, for diagnostic studies, and for testing therapeutic approaches in stroke and spinal cord injury. New robotic systems such as the Haptic Master and other special-purpose robots are made available for collaborative interaction. In addition, gait studies using the "Lokomat" as both a diagnostic and therapeutic tool are offered.

Information Technology/Sensing Core: Directors are Li-Qun Zhang and Paolo Bonato (Spaulding). This core facility has the capacity to build novel electronic systems such as state-of-the-art EMG electrodes, telemetered data collection systems, and extensive modeling and simulation facilities.

Modeling and Simulation Core: Wendy Murray and Yasin Daher. Availability of these research cores are disseminated through dedicated websites and presented at national and international meetings. Finally, a series of didactic courses, hands-on workshops, and symposia are offered to present novel research approaches.

This R24 research resource application seeks to build on expertise in neuroscience and engineering that is concentrated in the research laboratories of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and in affiliated laboratories at Northwestern University. The PIs offer opportunities for collaboration on studies relating to neurological disorders in animal models, and in human populations.