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Human Neural Plasticity (MTS) Laboratory

These labs are designated to study plasticity in the human nervous system. They are equipped with facilities for inducing and recording activity of human spinal cord and brain. Currently, two main projects are ongoing in this lab. First, we are investigating neural plasticity induced by operant conditioning of a spinal reflex (Figure 1). Operant conditioning has been shown to induce plasticity in the spinal cord and brain, and possibly provide beneficial effects on improving movement disorders in patients after central nervous damage such as spinal cord injury and stroke. We are currently studying operant conditioning technique in neurologically intact subjects, and will move on to patient population in the near future. Second, we are investigating neural plasticity using electroencephalography (EEG) and brain-computer interface (BCI, Figure 2). The BCI is an interface that connects the brain and an external device. In this set of projects we are quantifying the changes (both neurophysiological and functional) induced by repetitive pairing of an imagined movement (both cue based and self-paced) with an artificially generated afferent signal as well as those resulting from musculoskeletal pain.

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Research Laboratories