Members

Our Members, which span across four faculties (Medicine and Dentistry, Rehabilitation Medicine, Physical Education and Recreation and Science) are listed below in alphabetical order along with their research interests:

 

Dr. David Bennett
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

 Dr. Bennett’s group examines the spontaneous changes that occur in neurons below a spinal cord injury, with the objective of trying to understand and enhance recovery of motor function. Using animal models of spinal cord injury, his group examines changes in channels and receptors in neurons that control muscles below the injury, and examines pharmacological methods to compensate for loss of injured neurons and connections. The results are directly applicable to promoting recovery of locomotor function and treatment of unwanted spasticity in humans after spinal cord injury.

 

Dr. Ming Chan
Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

 Dr. Chan focuses on the decline in neuromuscular system in aging patients and their response to therapeutic interventions. The major research focus in his lab is to examine the physiological changes in motor and sensory functions in patients with neuromuscular diseases, using post-surgical electrical stimulation and distal nerve transfers. Dr. Chan’s ALS research examines physiological changes in motor and sensory functions as yardsticks to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions in patients with peripheral nerve injuries, such as ALS, and how their recovery may be accelerated.

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Dr. Craig Chapman
Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation

 Dr. Chapman’s team uses motion tracking, eye tracking and electroencephalography (EEG) to explore how we negotiate, and think about, the complexity of our world – seamlessly selecting and performing actions on behaviorally relevant objects, ignoring irrelevant objects and avoiding objects that get in our way.


Dr. Fred Colbourne
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

Dr. Colbourne studies cerebral ischemia and especially hemorrhagic stroke with the aim of reducing cell death (neuroprotection) and promoting functional recovery (neuroplasticity, rehabilitation). His team uses animal models and a wide array of research techniques and tools to better understand the pathophysiology of these brain injuries, and to comprehensively test potential therapies in pre-clinical studies.


Dr. David Collins
Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation

 Dr. Collins’ team is focussed on understanding how electrical stimulation generates contractions that can provide therapeutic exercise for individuals with motor impairments subsequent to spinal cord injury or stroke. He is affiliated with The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement which provides a means of translating basic research from the lab into improved interventions for adults living with impairments. The Collins' lab uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation together with MRI-guided non-invasive brain stimulation, electromyography and a Biodex dynamometer to assess and test interventions targeting the neuromuscular system.

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Dr. Karim Fouad

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

Dr. Fouad’s overall goal is to promote functional recovery following spinal cord injury by focusing on the natural plasticity of central nervous system circuits and on regeneration of lesioned axons. His lab has particular expertise in histological examinations. Using rat models, they also conduct sensory and motor behavioural tests, and high-speed kinematic and electrophysiological assessments.

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Dr. Monica Gorassini
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

 Dr. Gorassini studies how injured neurons and neuronal circuits in the brain and spinal cord adapt to produce uncontrolled and unwanted muscle contractions that affect the majority of patients with spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy. She also examines the effects of intensive motor training in adults with incomplete spinal cord injuries and in babies with stroke. Her lab aims to develop new pharmacological and rehabilitative therapies to both control spasticity after trauma to the central nervous system and improve residual motor movements. 

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Dr. Simon Gosgnach
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

 Dr. Gosgnach is examining how neuron networks in the spinal cord—known as central pattern generators (CPGs)—communicate with the brain via the reticulospinal tract to produce locomotor activity, such as walking and swimming. His team is using molecular genetics, histology and electrophysiology to identify spinal interneurons that are part of the locomotor CPG and to determine how they interact with other components of the locomotor circuitry in mice.


Dr. Shaun Gray
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

 Dr. Gray’s research focuses on recovery and rehabilitation of severe brain injury, particularly slow-to-recover severe traumatic brain injury. He has examined how repeated intramuscular injections for chronic headache may cause fibrous myopathy and has examined the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Dr. Gray is also a research advisor for ARBI—the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured—in Calgary.


Dr. Jacqueline Hebert
Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr. Hebert’s research examines how technology can be used to improve function after amputation. As Medical Lead of the Amputee Rehabilitation Program at the Glenrose Hospital, she leads the interdisciplinary team that performs upper limb Targeted Reinnervation surgery, and studies advanced motor control and sensory systems for upper limb myoelectric devices. She was instrumental in bringing the first “bionic arm” to Canada and is currently improving the surgical technique and prostheses to make myoelectric arm systems more responsive.

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Dr. Kelvin Jones
Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation

 Dr. Jones investigates the role of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on the progression of ALS in a mouse model. It was discovered that the natural history of disease progression starts with fast twitch motor units and progresses to slow twitch. The interventions studied alter the ratio of fast/slow twitch motor units and alter the rate of denervation of muscle that results in weakness and fatigue. Methodologies includes mathematical models of neuromuscular physiology (e.g. NeuroMembrane), electrodiagnostic techniques, skeletal muscle physiology and histology and behavioural phenotyping.

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Dr. John Misiaszek
Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

 Balance control while walking is restricted or limited in many individuals who have suffered a neurologic injury or disease, and is common consequence of the normal aging process. Dr. Misiaszek’s lab is investigating aspects of the neural control of balance during walking that are affected by injury or disease, with the hopes that this will then guide the development of effective therapeutic interventions or assistive devices to promote independent, functional locomotion for those affected, including many older persons. His lab uses electrical stimulation techniques, electromyography, 3D kinematics, and ground reaction forces to test nervous system function. Subjects include animals, older adults and those with spinal injuries.

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Dr. Vivian Mushahwar
Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
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Dr. Mushahwar focuses on developing rehabilitation interventions for improving and restoring mobility after spinal cord injury and for the detection and prevention of deep tissue pressure sores using functional electrical stimulation (FES). One of her current projects aims to improve walking in individuals with incomplete SCI by using FES-assisted arm and leg cycling to exploit the neuronal coupling between networks controlling movement in the arms and legs.

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Dr. Arthur Prochazka
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
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 Dr. Prochazka’s team was the first to characterize signals from sensory neurons during voluntary limb movements.  They then developed neuromechanical models that helped explain how the brain and spinal cord control locomotion.  Clinical projects include the use of surface or implanted electronic stimulators to improve hand function after stroke and spinal cord injury. A related project involves upper limb rehabilitation with the “ReJoyce” (Rehabilitation Joystick for Computerized Exercise).  Since its commercial release in 2012 the ReJoyce has been adopted for use in clinics in 15 countries. Other projects include intraspinal microstimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation to reduce spasticity and improve bladder control.

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Dr. Francois Roy
Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
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 Dr. Roy studies the circuitry of the human spinal cord. He monitors nervous system function in the operating room to reduce the risk of injury to the spinal cord. His research interests are motivated by intraoperative monitoring, particularly for individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury.

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Dr. Richard Stein
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. Stein has been studying the control of movements at the University of Alberta for more than 45 years. His current research focuses on pattern generation of walking, reflex modulation during movement and replacement of function after spinal cord injury. Stimulation of motor cortex, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves are all possible in human subjects and there are interesting interactions between the responses evoked from the various stimulation sites.

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Dr. Christine A. Webber
Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

 Dr. Webber's research centres peripheral nervous system and specifically on the primary sensory neurons of the body, the dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGNs). She primarily studies how DRGNs: a) can be induced to regenerate following injury, b) communicate with their surrounding satellite glial cells and c) are involved in neuropathic pain.


Dr. Ian Winship
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

 Dr. Winship’s multi-disciplinary research uses modern in vivo cellular and regional imaging to investigate novel strategies to protect brain tissue from death during stroke, to augment the brain's endogenous repair mechanisms in response to brain damage or degeneration, and to precisely map the functional organization of sensory cortex. Current projects focus on (1) spinal plasticity after stroke, (2) collateral blood flow during stroke and collateral therapeutics, and (3) precise mapping of functional somatotopy in the sensorimotor cortex.

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Dr. Jaynie Yang
Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

 Dr. Yang is interested in how the nervous system controls movements, particularly walking. Her current focus includes how best to retrain walking in adults with spinal cord injury. A recently completed a project contrasted two training regimes: one using obstacles for overground training, and one using a harness for body-weight-supported for treadmill training. An on-going project is using a powered exoskeleton to retrain walking in individuals with severe SCI who cannot walk or walk very slowly.

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Dr. Douglas Zochodne
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

 Dr. Zochodne’s team works on the neurobiology of peripheral nerves with major themes addressing nerve regeneration and experimental diabetic neuropathy. They test molecules (e.g RhoA inhibitors, growth factors, nitric oxide) and novel approaches (e.g. EAI, our electronic axonal interface project) that influence regenerative success and the development of neuropathic pain. The team also evaluates mechanisms of interventions for the arrest and reversal of experimental diabetic neuropathy.

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