Current Research Projects

1) Restoring Standing and Stepping after Spinal Cord Injury through the Use of Intraspinal Microstimulation

The restoration of standing and walking after spinal cord injury has the benefits of improving muscle and skin properties, joint health and bone density, and cardiovascular and pulmonary function. Intraspinal microstimulation (ISMS) is a novel electrical stimulation technique that uses very fine, hair-like wires to stimulate the "control center" for standing and stepping in the spinal cord. The microwires are implanted in a relatively small region of the cord (about 5 cm) and patterned stimulation through these wires can generate coordinated muscle contractions in the legs. These contractions produce balanced standing and walking movements. This is a large project focused on assessing the long-term functionality and benefits of ISMS and its effects on muscle health.

2) Early Detection and Prevention of Deep Pressure Sores

Wheelchair-bound and bed-ridden individuals are at high risk of developing pressure sores. Pressure sores can develop at the surface of the skin due to multiple factors including abrasions, moisture and poor nutrition. Sores can also develop from the inside-out as a result of deep tissue necrosis (death) and can cause massive tissue damage prior to exhibiting clear skin signs. The goals of this project are two fold: developing tools that would allow for early detection of deep tissue death and preventing the death of deep tissue by enhancing the oxygenation level at high risk regions that are susceptible to necrosis.

3) Reduction of Spasticity after Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke

Spasticity is a very debilitating side-effect of spinal cord injury and stroke. It can lead to uncontrolled spasms and compromise the efficiency of residual voluntary function. This project focuses on obtaining a better understanding of the mechanisms of spasticity using computer modeling, and developing surface electrical stimulation and training paradigms that would reduce spasticity in individuals with spinal cord injury and stroke.

4) Restoration of Arm Function

A staggering 1.3% of the population has some type of neurological deficit, many of whom have diminished arm function. In an effort to alleviate the significant health care costs associated with the treatment of these ailments, as well as provide individuals with a greater level of independence, we are working towards rehabilitative interventions to improve arm function. Such interventions include both operant conditioning and FES training.


Intraspinal Microstimulation
Detection and Prevention of Pressure Sores
Reduction of Spasticity after SCI and Stroke

Media Releases

  • Express News (Aug 2003)
  • Express News (Nov 2002)
  • Express News (Mar 2002)
  • Funding Agencies


    B.M.E. | UofA NeuroSci