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. His doctorate 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 animals and humans with 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 and was a manager of the primate platform. He is now director of the Spinal Cord Stimulation Laboratory and part of the Rehab and Neural Engineering Labs of the University of Pittsburgh.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Neuroprosthetics; 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

  • Outstanding Reviewer Award, The Journal of Neural Engineering 2020
  • European Research Council Starting Grant Award, 2019
  • Career Award, Technological Advances in Spinal Cord Injury, Lupicaia Foundation 2018
  • MIT 10 Best Breakthrough Technologies, Wireless Brain-Spine Interface, 2017
  • 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

In the last year, Dr. Capogrosso’s lab—like all the other labs in the world—had to face the challenge of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote working; difficulties in performing clinical research due to risks for subjects; in-person working restrictions; and family and relative international travel restrictions took their toll on lab members. For this, Dr. Capogrosso would like to acknowledge the efforts of all team members that have, nonetheless, made incredible advances despite these tremendous challenges.

Indeed, despite these difficulties, the lab managed to accomplish outstanding achievements. They initiated a pioneering clinical trial testing the efficacy of spinal cord stimulation to restore arm and hand function in people with stroke (NCT04512690). The first subject completed the trial with results that exceeded expectations. Following up on this success—in collaboration with Doug Weber, PhD, at Carnegie Mellon University and Peter Gerszten, MD, from the Department of Neurological Surgery—the lab received substantial financial support from the UPMC Enterprise investment fund to transform this trial into a novel therapy for people with post-stroke hemiparesis. In parallel, the lab received approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to perform an experimental investigation in non-human primates to understand the mechanisms underlying motor recovery with spinal cord stimulation.

Dr. Capogrosso’s lab published four publications, including results from our research in the prestigious Nature Communications and Cell Systems.

Media Appearances