The Spinal Cord Stimulation Laboratory, under the direction of Marco Capogrosso, PhD, and part of the University of Pittsburgh Rehab and Neural Engineering Labs, broadly studies the interactions between electrical stimulation and the dynamics of spinal circuits. Specifically, laboratory activities are focused on three areas of interest.
Area 1: The development of computational models to support the design of effective neurotechnologies for the restoration of restore sensory and motor function after neural damage or disease.
We use computational neuroscience tools, Finite Element Methods and modern AI strategies to decipher the computational principles underlying the interaction of artificial electrical stimulation and the neural dynamics of spinal circuits. Specifically, we aim to understand what inputs are needed to provide to spinal circuits to obtain natural sensorimotor function when brain inputs are missing.
Area 2: Electrophysiology of spinal circuits and mechanisms of neuromodulation. What is neuromodulation and how it is affecting the structure and dynamics of the nervous system?
We perform electrophysiology in animal models such as rats, and monkeys to understand how the spinal cord and the brain reacts to electrical stimulation. We aim to combine results from computer models to experimental data to design advanced neurostimulation technologies.
Area 3: Cinical application of spinal cord stimulation in motor disorders.
We directly apply the results of computational and animal studies in translational clinical trials in patients that suffer from motor disorders such as stroke and spinal cord injury. Specifically we aim to test new implantable technologies to improve motor and sensory functions in people with arm parlysis and beyond.