Marco Capogrosso, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
  • Director, Spinal Cord Stimulation Laboratory

Marco Capogrosso, PhD, joined the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery as an assistant professor in January of 2020. He completed his doctoral studies in biomedical engineering and robotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. Hisdoctorate work focused on the implementation of a computational framework to support the design of peripheral and central neural interfaces for sensory and motor applications.

After the receiving his PhD, Dr. Capogrosso completed his post-doctoral training at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland where he worked on the development of brain spinal interfaces for the restoration of voluntary motor control in animal models of spinal cord injury. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, he directed his own research group as a research faculty at the primate center of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Dr Capogrosso was part of the managing team of the muli-centric primate platform helping direct the activities of the platform and being responsible for the set-up of its laboratories.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Neuroprothetics; computer models of electrical stimulation; arm paralysis; spinal cord injury; brain computer interfaces, motor control.

Professional Organization Membership

Society for Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • BA, Physics (cum laude) Università di Pisa, Italy, 2007
  • MS, Applied Physics (cum laude) Università di Pisa, Italy, 2009
  • PhD, Engineering, Institute of Biorobotics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 2013
  • Post-Doc, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2016

Honors & Awards

  • European Research Council Starting Grant Award, 2019
  • Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione Fellowship, 2016
  • Best Post-Doc Paper, NCCR Robotics, 2014, 2016
  • Finalist, Tomorrow's PI Prize, Swiss Life Science Annual Meeting, 2015

Selected Publications

Barra B, Badi M, Perich MG, Conti S, Mirrazavi Salehian SS, Moreillon F, Wurth S, Kaeser M, Passeraub P, Milekovic T, Billard A, Micera S, Capogrosso M. A Versatile Robotic Platform for the Design of Natural, Three-Dimensional Reaching and Grasping Tasks in Monkeys. bioRxiv [in press] 2019.

Capogrosso M, Wagner FB, Gandar J, Martin EM, Wenger N, Milekovic T, Shkorbatova P, Pavlova N, Musuenko P, Bezard E, Bloch J and Courtine G. Configuration of electrical spinal cord stimulation through realtime processing of gait kinematics. Nature Protocols 13:s031–2061 (2018).

Capogrosso M, Gandar J, Greiner N, Moraud EM, Wenger N, Shkorbatova P, Мusienko PE, Minev I, Lacour SP, Courtine G. Advantages of soft subdural implants for the delivery of electrochemical neuromodulation therapies to the spinal cord. J Neural Eng 15(2):026024, 2018.

Capogrosso M, Milekovic T, Borton D, Wagner F, Martin Moraud E, Mignardot JB, Buse N, Gandar J, Barraud Q, Xing D, Rey E, Duis S, Yang J, Ko WKD, Qin L, Detemple P, Denison T, Micer S, Beard E, Bloch J, Courtine G. A Brain-spine interface alleviating gait deficits after spinal cord injury in primates. Nature 539(7628):284-288, 2016.

Martin Moraud E, Capogrosso M, Formento E, Wenger N, DiGiovanna J, Courtine G and Micera S. Mechanisms underlying the neuromodulation of spinal circuits for correcting gait and balance deficits after spinal cord injury. Neuron 89:1-15, 2016.

Raspopovic S, Capogrosso M, Petrini FM, Bonizzato M, Rigosa J, Di Pino G, Carpaneto J, Controzzi M, Boretius T, Fernandez E, Granata G, Oddo CM, Citi L, Ciancio AL, Cipriani C, Carrozza MC, Jensen W, Guglielmelli E, Stieglitz T, Rossini PM, Micera S. Restoring natural sensory feedback in real-time bidirectional hand prostheses. Sci Transl Med 6(222):222ra19, 2014.

Capogrosso M, Wenger N, Raspopovic S, Musienko P, Beauparlant J, Bassi Luciani L, Courtine G, Micera S. A computational model for epidural electrical stimulation of spinal sensorimotor circuits. J Neurosci 33(49):19326-40, 2013.

A complete list of Dr. Capogrosso's publications can be reviewed through Google Scholar.

Research Activities

Project 1: Spinal cord stimulation for the recovery of motor function

Dr. Capogrosso obtained IRB approval to start a clinical trial in people with arm and hand paralysis in consequence of severe sub-cortical stroke. He will initiate patient recruitment for this trial as soon as situation with COVID-19 allows it. In this trial he will implant human subjects with spinal cord leads in the cervical spine. He will test the ability of electrical stimulation of the human cervical spinal cord to recruit arm and hand muscles selectively and enable the production of functional arm movements in people with arm paralysis.

Project 2: Effects of electrical stimulation on the neural function of spinal circuits

Dr. Capogrosso obtained agreement from the DLAR to access space for performing acute electrophysiology experiments in nonhuman primates. These experiments aim at testing how electrical stimulation of the spinal cord and peripheral nerve can be used to direct neural activity in the sensorimotor circuits in the spinal cord. Specifically, he aims to verify with intra-spinal and intra-cortical recordings, that spinal cord stimulation can influence the activity of spinal interneurons and motoneurons without affecting normal circuit function.

Project 3: Computer models of spinal cord stimulation

Dr. Capogrosso is coupling deep learning methodologies with realistic modelling of spinal circuits to build computational models of the spinal circuits. He aims at developing a framework that can predict the effects of stimulation parameters on the ability to execute arm and hand movements with spinal cord stimulation after paralysis with computer simulations. Such environment would allow to minimize the use of animals in research as well as speedup transition to clinical trials of experimental technologies. He will validate models with experiments performed in project 2 above.