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Thursday, January 30, 2020
5:00pm Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square
The Cleveland FES Center and filmmakers Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby invite you to the Cleveland Premiere & Panel Discussion of the documentary I AM HUMAN. The documentary explores what it means to be human by following the incredible journeys of three people with implantable brain interfaces.
The film prominently features Cleveland Veteran Bill Kochevar and the cutting-edge work of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UH).
A panel discussion moderated by NPR Future Correspondent, Elise Hu, with filmmakers Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby, and Cleveland FES Center researchers A Bolu Ajiboye, PhD, Robert F Kirsch, PhD, Jonathan Miller, MD, and Dustin Tyler, PhD, will follow the film. PDF  |  Tickets Available

Friday, January 10, 2020
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
10:00am, Sears Bldg. Rm 439
Speaker: Natalie Cole
Advisor: A. Bolu Ajiboye, PhD.
Title: "Muscle Synergy-based Functional Electrical Stimulation for the Restoration of Dexterous Hand Function After Paralysis"


Thursday, November 21, 2019
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
1:30pm, NORD 356
Speaker: Breanne Christie
Advisors: Drs. Triolo and Tyler
Title: "Multisensory integration of lower-limb somatosensory neuroprostheses: from psychophysics to functionality"

Monday, November 4, 2019
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
1:00pm, NORD 356
Speaker: Ivana Cuberovic
Advisor: Prof. Tyler
Title: "Understanding Factors Affecting Perception and Utilization of Artificial Sensory Location"

October 25, 2019
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
1:00pm, NORD 400
PhD Candidate: Nicholas Couturier
Thesis Advisor: Dominique Durand
Title: "Fiber Tract Stimulation of the Corpus Callosum for Focal Cortical Epilepsy"

Abstract: Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. Many patients that suffer from epilepsy do not respond to traditional regimens of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). These same patients are often not candidates for surgical resections due to the location of the seizure focus. Recently, several deep brain stimulation (DBS) technologies have become available as an alternative to surgical resection for patients with refractory epilepsy. These devices utilize stimulation of grey matter targets using high-frequency electrical current to suppress seizures. These methods have shown some success in large clinical trials. However, there is a great deal of room for improvement in terms of both efficacy and understanding of how DBS suppresses seizures. Previous studies involving low-frequency stimulation (LFS) of the ventral hippocampal commissure (VHC) have demonstrated an alternative approach to seizure suppression. Based off of the success of these studies in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) we developed and tested LFS of an analogous fiber tract for focal cortical epilepsies. The corpus callosum (CC) much like the VHC provides numerous interhemispheric axonal projections that are essential to the spread of neural activity across large portions of the brain. More


September 6, 2019
BME Faculty Candidate

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Wickenden, Room 321
Douglas Weber, PhD
Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
Title: Implantable, injectable, and wearable devices for sensing and controlling neurological functions

Recent advances in materials, microelectronics, and microfabrication technologies have enabled new and clinically relevant neurotechnologies that measure and regulate neural activity in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Devices that measure the activity of sensory neurons can be used to monitor physical and physiological parameters, such as limb posture and movement or bladder volume and pressure, while measuring the activity of motor neurons enables direct neural control over prosthetic limbs and assistive technologies. Conversely, these neural interface technologies can stimulate activity in sensory and motor neurons to create sensory percepts and reanimate paralyzed muscles. Although many of these applications rely currently on devices that must be implanted into the body for precise targeting, ultra-miniaturized devices can be injected through the skin or vascular system to access deep structures without open surgery. Furthermore, improved and alternative technologies for sensing and stimulating neural activity through the skin are extending capabilities of wearable neurotechnologies for monitoring, rehabilitation, and training applications. PDF


August 27, 2019
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
11:00am, Wickenden Building - Room 105
PhD Candidate: Elizabeth Heald
Thesis Advisor: P. Hunter Peckham
Title: "Volitional Myoelectric Signals from the Lower Extremity in Human Cervical Spinal Cord Injury: Characterization and Application in Neuroprosthetic Control"

The objective of this project was to explore the use of myoelectric signals generated from muscles below the SCI level as command sources for a neuroprosthetic system. Using functional electrical stimulation, motor neuroprostheses can restore function after paralysis caused by spinal cord injury (SCI). Command signals derived from the user's volitional intent are required to control these devices. In current systems, command is provided by myoelectric activity from muscles above the injury level. For improved functional capabilities, advanced neuroprosthetic technology demands more command signals than are conventionally available. Previous studies suggest that axonal sparing is common even in injuries diagnosed as motor complete, in which no visible signs of muscle activity below the injury are observed. As a result of this sparing, it is possible, even in the absence of visible movement, for movement attempts to produce myoelectric activity detectable via electromyographic (EMG) sensors. This myoelectric activity could provide an innovative source for neuroprosthetic control.

To characterize the prevalence of this activity, surface EMG recordings from lower-extremity muscles were performed during volitional movement attempts in individuals with motor-complete SCI. Significant below-injury muscle activity was identified in the majority of participants, with a smaller proportion producing high-quality signals which we theorized capable of providing neuroprosthetic control. To support this theory, as a proof-of-concept we demonstrated the successful control of an implanted hand grasp neuroprosthesis via EMG signals from the participant's toe flexor. This feasibility test, which included functional grasp measures, demonstrates the potential for below-injury signals to provide a novel form of neuroprosthesis control. Lastly, we implemented a biofeedback training protocol with the goal of improving signal quality from muscles which contained significant, but not command-quality, volitional activity. We found that these signals did not improve in response to biofeedback training, in contrast to a command-quality signal which did improve under a similar protocol, suggesting that more complex training approaches be studied in future work.


April 15, 2019
Publishing with IEEE
1:00-3:00 PM
Rockefeller 309


Publishing with IEEE


Thursday, November 29, 2018
Department of Biology Seminar
4:00 PM, DeGrace Hall, Room 312

Speaker: Mitra Hartmann, PhD
Professor of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering McCormick School of Engineering
Northwestern University

Topic: "Building a rat from the outside in: active sensing with whiskers"

We use rats as a model to study the sense of touch. Rats, however, don't use their "hands" (paws) very much to explore objects. Sometimes they do, but mostly they use their whiskers. If you've ever watched a rat run around, you'll notice that they're constantly touching their noses to objects. If you were able to use a slow-motion video camera to watch the rat, as our laboratory does, what you would see is that the rat is continuously brushing its whiskers against objects very rapidly, between 5 and 25 times a second. This behavior is called "whisking." The rat is touching different objects to figure out their location, size, shape, and texture.


October 4-5, 2018
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
4th Annual STEM Faculty Launch workshop

The application is available now and the deadline for submission is August 17th. More information about the program and the application can be found at or through the link in the flyer [pdf].


September 21, 2018
8:30am, DeGrace Hall, Room 312
Case Western Reserve University

Daniel Rizzuto, PhD
CEO Nia Therapeutics
Direct Brain Interfaces for Memory Restoration

Download PDF for more information. [PDF]


2018 NYC Neuromodulation Conference & NANS Summer Series
August 24, 2018 - August 26, 2018
New York City

Technology creation and discovery of new treatment indications in neuromodulation is accelerating. Non-invasive and invasive technologies are moving rapidly from bench to bedside, even as renewed focus on mechanisms of actions drives basic and clinical research. Tools from fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with medical wearables and apps, are disrupting traditional models of clinical trials and treatment.

On August 24-26 in NYC join thought leaders from medicine, academia, & industry, for the most dynamic conference on the future of neuromodulation.

Visit website for more information.


April 25, 2018
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
12:00pm, Rockefeller Building - Room 303
Student: John Hermann
Advisor: Jeffrey Capadona, Ph.D.
Title: "The Role of Innate Immunity in the Response to Intracortical Microelectrode"

Intracortical microelectrodes exhibit enormous potential for researching the nervous system, steering assistive devices and FES systems for severely paralyzed individuals, and augmenting the brain with computing power. Unfortunately, intracortical microelectrodes often fail to consistently record signals over clinically useful time frames. Biological mechanisms, such as the foreign body response to intracortical microelectrodes and self-perpetuating neuroinflammatory cascades contribute to the inconsistencies and decline in recording performance. The overall goal of this work was to investigate the role of innate immunity signaling in the foreign body response to intracortical microelectrodes. In this dissertation we examined the effect of CD14 inhibition via a systemically administered small-molecule antagonist as well as knockout mouse models on intracortical microelectrode recording performance and tissue integration. Mice receiving the small molecule antagonist to CD14 (IAXO-101) exhibited a significant improvement in recording performance over the 16-week experiment. Additionally, CD14 knockout mice exhibited significant improvements in recording performance in the first two weeks after implantation, but not the remainder of the study. These findings suggest that full removal of CD14 is helpful in the first two weeks after implantation, but a limited amount of CD14 signaling may be useful at later time points. Further, we investigated the role of two dominant co-receptors to CD14, TLR2 and TLR4, in the foreign body response to intracortical microelectrodes. TLR4 knockout mice exhibited significant decreases in blood-brain barrier permeability at 2 and 16 weeks after implantation, despite exhibiting significantly reduced neuronal survival at 16 weeks after implantation. These results suggest that TLR4 plays a role in the mediation of blood-brain barrier integrity as well as neuroprotective mechanisms, so full removal of TLR4 is also detrimental to chronic integration of intracortical microelectrodes. TLR2 knockout mice did not exhibit any histological differences from wildtype mice at 2 or 16 weeks, suggesting that TLR2 does not play a major role in the foreign body response to intracortical microelectrodes. The findings of this work suggest the involvement of CD14 and TLR4 in the foreign body response to intracortical microelectrodes. However, implementation of innate immunity inhibition to improve the long-term performance of intracortical microelectrodes requires temporal refinement of inhibition strategies.


April 20, 2018
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
9:00am, NORD 400
Student: Daniel Young
Advisor: A. Bolu Ajiboye, Ph.D.
Title: "Restoring Brain-Controlled Movements after Paralysis: Developing Brain Computer Interfaces for Control of Reaching Using Functional Electrical Stimulation"

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is an assistive technology that uses stimulating electrodes to reanimate muscles and restore lost functions to people with tetraplegia. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), which decode recorded neural activity into user commands, are an enticing technology for commanding assistive devices because they can extract multiple command signals even in the absence of movement. This work, through the BrainGate2 pilot clinical trial, makes progress towards restoring brain-controlled arm and hand movements after paralysis through three main advancements in the development of a combined FES+BCI system.

First, we show that FES stimulation produces electrical artifacts on intracortical recordings that significantly degrades BCI performance, particularly in the case of surface FES. However, we present a novel artifact reduction method, linear regression reference, which extracts meaningful information during both implanted and surface FES periods and fully restores normal BCI performance.

Second, we compare two potential interfaces for control of human arm reaching: Cartesian and joint based commands. In a virtual reaching and posture matching task, we analyze neural tuning differences between the conditions and show significantly higher performance when using the standard Cartesian commands.

Third, we implement the first BCI control of an implanted FES system for restoring four dimensions of arm and hand movement. We show evidence that neural activity is largely similar between control of real and virtual movements, and demonstrate similar performance in FES tasks compared to virtual training.

We make progress towards restoring brain-controlled movement after paralysis through improvements in three components of an FES+BCI system: the signal processing, command interface, and effector. Our work culminates in a demonstration of functional performance through one participant's consistent success in self-initiated activities of daily living (self-feeding and drinking) ten years post-injury.


March 23, 2018
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
1:00pm, NORD 400
Student: Emily L. Graczyk
Advisor: Dustin Tyler, Ph.D.
Title: "Natural Perceptual Characteristics and Psychosocial Impacts of Touch Evoked by Peripheral Nerve Stimulation"

Following an upper limb amputation, both the functional and sensory capabilities of the hand are lost. Prior studies demonstrated the ability of neural interfaces to evoke sensations in the missing hand and fingers of persons with upper limb loss. However, the sensations have only been cursorily assessed in terms of their perceptual characteristics and psychosocial impacts. Further, we do not know to what extent mimicking natural firing patterns can improve the stimulation-evoked sensations.

Using classical psychophysical techniques, we characterized the perception of intensity of sensations evoked by electrical stimulation through Flat Interface Nerve Electrodes (FINEs) implanted in three humans with upper limb loss, and compared these characteristics to natural intensity perception. We found that artificial touch has the same sensitivity and dynamic range of intensity as natural touch. We demonstrated that total population spike rate determined perceived intensity regardless of which stimulation parameters were varied. We then found that total population spikes integrated over an approximately 200 ms interval determined intensity for both time-invariant and time-varying stimulation patterns. For prolonged electrical stimulation, the sensory adaptation phenomena of threshold elevation and intensity decay were equivalent in magnitude and time course to those of vibrotactile adaptation in the intact system. This suggested that adaptation results from central processes and that stimulation-induced adaptation will be beneficial to sensory neuroprostheses.

To determine the impact of sensation on the holistic experience of having a hand, two persons with upper limb loss utilized a sensory restoration system for a week in their homes and communities. We found that sensation improved the psychosocial experience of using the prosthesis, including confidence in abilities, prosthesis incorporation, perception of social interactions, and body image. Sensation improved prosthesis function and increased prosthesis usage. Daily use of sensation may enable participants to learn how to better interpret sensory information. This study indicated that extraneural stimulation is a feasible method of long-term sensory restoration in community use. Participant perspectives revealed that sensation was critical for outcome acceptance. We developed a theoretical model of the impacts of sensation based on a qualitative analysis of participant experiences, which may provide a unified framework to study and understand outcome acceptance following upper limb loss.

To determine whether mimicking natural afferent activity would improve stimulation-evoked sensations, we developed a computational model to construct biomimetic stimulation patterns and predict the evoked firing patterns in the recruited afferent population. We tested the biomimetic patterns in three humans implanted with FINEs, and found subject-specific differences in the perceived naturalness of the biomimetic patterns compared to control patterns. The perceived naturalness of the stimuli was influenced by subject-specific preferences, expectations for perceived intensity, and possibly learning. The computational model demonstrated that biomimetic stimulation evokes more natural neural activation patterns than conventional stimulation. The model may be useful for generating hypotheses about the neural correlates of perception that can be tested in future studies.

This work demonstrates how neural stimulation can serve as a tool to study neural coding. The perceptual similarities between natural and artificial touch indicates that stimulation-induced sensation likely utilizes the same sensory processing pathways as natural sensation. For persons with limb loss, sensory restoration reshapes the holistic experience of the prosthesis into having a hand that can feel. Finally, stimulation patterning can evoke complex patterns of neural activity which modify the evoked sensory percepts.


Summer Course in NeuroRehabilitation - Balona Spain


Prospective applicants must fill in the Application Form by May 15, 2018. The admission to the School will be decided upon a selection made by the General SSNR2018 Committee.

Applications received before April 1, 2018 will be given priority. The Steering Committee will select a first group among these early applications. Selected participants will be notified by April 15, 2018 and the registrations must be completed before May 15, 2018.Remaining positions will be allocated among the rest of applications received until May 15, 2018.

Important deadlines

  • Early Application: April 1, 2018
  • Early Notification: April 15, 2018
  • Early Payment: May 15, 2018
  • Early Reduced Fee (School + Symposium + Half-board accommodation (5 nights) + Welcome Reception + Gala dinner + Social program): 950€
  • Application: May 15, 2018
  • Notification: June 1, 2018
  • Payment: July 1, 2018
    Fee (School + Symposium + Half-board accommodation (5 nights) + Welcome Reception + Gala dinner + Social program): 1090€

Plenary speakers

  • Prof. Reggie Edgerton, Edgerton Neuromuscular Research Laboratory. University of California
  • Prof. Deborah Falla, University of Birmingham
  • Dr. Bernhard Grainmann, Head of the Department of Translational Research & Knowledge Management, Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH
  • Prof. Donatella mattia, Fondazione Santa Lucia, IRCCS
  • Dr. Marco Molinari, IRCCS Fondazione S. Lucia
  • Dr. Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting, Aalborg University
  • Dr, Monica Perez, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Lois Pope Life Center, University of Miami
  • Prof. Dejan Popovic. University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Prof. Zev Rymer. Northwestern University, USA
  • Dr. Aiko K. Thompson. Medical University of South Carolina, USA
  • Dr. Günter Edlinger, g.tec medical engineering GmbH, g.tec medical engineering Spain SL, g.tec neurotechnology USA, Inc.


  • WS1 - Neural interfaces and Wearable robotics in rehabilitation: a clinical perspective
    Organizer: Juan Moreno, CSIC.
  • WS2 - Effect of functional devices on body representation. The neurobiological aspects of embodiment
    Organizer: Iolanda Pisotta, IRCCS Fondazione S. Lucia, Rome, Italy
  • WS3 - Advanced EMG Processing for Man-Machine Interfacing in Neurorehabilitation
    Organizer: Silvia Muceli, Imperial College, UK
  • WS4 - Brain Computer Interfaces: principles and applications in neurorehabilitation
    Organizer: Arnau Espinosa, Guger Technologies OG; Jaime Ibañez, UCL
  • WS5 - FES in rehabilitation of neurological patients
    Organizers: Lana Popovic-Maneski, Institute of Technical Sciences of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Serbia

For further and up-to-date information, please visit the conference website:


January 25, 2018
M.S. Dissertation Defense
9:00am, Wickenden 420
Student: Nathan Kostick
Title: Novel Carbon-Nanotube Based Neural Interface for Chronic Recording of Glossopharyngeal Nerve Activity

Abstract : Neural recordings have been used to study physiology since the early 1900's. However, high quality recordings of small autonomic nerves have been limited to acute studies as most state-of-the-art intra-neural interfaces suffer from poor longevity because of mechanical mismatch between the interface and the nerves leading to thick, fibrotic encapsulation which decreases the signal quality. ​Chronic, extra-neural interfaces record from the surface of the nerve. However, poor signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) exist because of the inherent electrical signal attenuation. Therefore, a novel intra-neural interface was developed using highly flexible carbon nanotube yarns and tested in chronic, rodent autonomic nerve (glossopharyngeal) preparations. Experimental results show, for the first time, it is possible to record chronically for up to 14 weeks while maintaining high SNR to allow neural activity classification. This capability to chronically record from small nerves establishes the potential of this novel interfacing method as a platform technology for physiological studies.



2017 School and Symposium on Advanced Neurorehabilitation (SSNR2017)
Baiona,  Spain
September 17-22

Download flyer


5th Annual Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium
April 13-14, 2017 (from 2:00PM April 13th) in Minneapolis.

Download PDF

Organized by the University of Minnesota's Institute for Engineering in Medicine and technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) and Minnesota's Medical Alley, this Symposium will highlight recent advances in the field of neuromodulation and showcase presentations from the national and international community. Last year, the symposium was attended by ~500 participants from academy, industry and government.

Poster and Oral Presentations: We invite researchers, educators, and clinicians to submit abstracts for any topic relating to neuromodulation, including invasive and noninvasive techniques, modeling, neurophysiology, behavior, new technologies, clinical applications, and education/training approaches. Accepted abstracts will be presented in the poster session. Authors' abstracts chosen by a double-blinded peer review will be invited to present in oral sessions. Selected poster and oral presenters will also be invited for submission of a full manuscript to IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

Travel Awards/Poster awards: There will be a poster competition for all non-faculty presenters ($500, $300, and $200 for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively). Additionally, 10 travel awards will be made available for up to $750 or $1,250 for domestic and international students/postdocs, respectively, who are presenting posters at the Symposium, in addition to a registration fee waiver. The deadline for abstract and travel award submissions is January 9, 2017.

Abstract Submission:

Travel Award:

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

Mark Hallett, MD, Chief, Human Motor Control Section, NINDS, NIH
President, International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology

Helen Mayberg, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology, Emory University
Member, National Academy of Medicine

Walter Paulus, MD, PhD, Professor and Director of Clinical Neurophysiology
University Medical Center Gottingen

William Tyler, PhD, Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Jerrold Vitek, MD, PhD, McKnight Professor and Chair of Neurology
University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Registration: The event was sold out last year due to limited seating. To secure your place at this year's program, please register ASAP through the following link:



EECS & ACES+ jointly present
Brain-machine Interfaces: From Basic Science to Neurological Rehabilitation
September 29, 2016
Wolstein Research Bldg, Room 1413

Speaker: Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D.
Abstract: In this talk, I will describe how state-of-the-art research on brain-machine interfaces makes it possible for the brains of primates to interact directly and in a bi-directional way with mechanical, computational and virtual devices without any interference of the body muscles or sensory organs.

I will review a series of recent experiments using real-time computational models to investigate how ensembles of neurons encode motor information. These experiments have revealed that brain-machine interfaces can be used not only to study fundamental aspects of neural ensemble physiology, but they can also serve as an experimental paradigm aimed at testing the design of novel neuroprostheticdevices. I will also describe evidence indicating that continuous operation of a closed-loop brain machine interface, which utilizes a robotic arm as its main actuator, can induce significant changes in the physiological properties of neural circuits in multiple motor and sensory cortical areas. This research raises the hypothesis that the properties of arobot arm, or other neurallycontrolled tools, can be assimilated by brain representations as if they were extensions of the subject's own body.

Download PDF


Cybathlon Time Trials
July 26, 2016
Cleveland Heights Communtiy Center

We're getting ready to compete in an international competition in Switzerland this October for assistive technologies, including stimulation-driven cycling. FIVE of our implant recipients will be going head-to-head on Tuesday July 26th right up the street at the Cleveland Heights Community see who gets to represent the TEAM CLEVELAND at the event. See the flier and the video clip at:

Admission is FREE and open to the public and EVERYONE is welcome. Please share this with your colleagues, staff, students, family, friends and perfect strangers. Food will be available from the Bario Tacos truck, so come and make an evening out of it We are trying to pack the stands with as many supporters as possible to cheer our athletes on!

Hope to see you on the 26th. And then at the Watch Party and Vicotry Parade in October!


Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium
Call for Papers
April 14-15, 2016; Minneapolis, USA

Abstract Submission and Travel Award Application: due March 1, 2016

4th Annual Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium
April 14-15, 2016 (from 2PM of April 14) at the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis immediately following the Design of Medical Devices Conference. Organized by the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine, this Symposium highlights recent advances in the field of neuromodulation, showcasing presentations from internationally recognized leaders in academia, industry, and government. Networking opportunities and interactive panel sessions will be made available throughout the two days to help facilitate energetic discussions and new ideas on the most recent topics in neuromodulation. In 2015, 395 participants from academia, industry and government throughout the world attended the Symposium.

March 14, 2016
M.S. Dissertation Defense
2:30pm, Wickenden 105
Speaker: Kelsey Aamoth
Title: Instrumentation and Control System to Quantify Colonic Activity More

Abstract : Neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD) is a common and socially debilitating issue for people with spinal cord injury. Our lab aims to develop a new treatment approach for NBD using afferent electrical stimulation. In order to conduct this research, we have developed instrumentation to record colon pressure and diameter in sufficient spatial resolution to quantify colon storage and excretion. We have also developed a control system to record from our instrumentation, generate electrical stimulation patterns and allow for user input. Both the instrumentation and control system have been validated on the bench and in-vivo for real-time quantification of colonic activity. Our setup has been used to conduct feline experiments and will act as a platform for future human studies.



Monday, November 16, 2015, 1:00pm
Wickenden Hall - Room 105

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense of Yazan Dweiri

"Extracting Voluntary Activity of Fascicular Sources within Peripheral Nerves with Cuff Electrodes"
Thesis Advisor: Dominique Durand, Ph.D.

Download announcement


Neurotechnix 2015
Lisbon, Portugal
November 16-17, 2015 More

Call for 24 graduate-level volunteers
Cleveland Neural Engineering Workshop, June 2015

ClevelandNEW brings the neural engineering leaders from industry, academia, and government together as a resource and forum committed to providing the neural technology solutions for individuals with neurological disorders or injury. The Workshop is an effort to identify the opportunities and roadblocks for improving clinical care, bolster the neural engineering community, and develop a cohesive vision and plan for the field to best advance neural technology for the next century.

In 2011, ClevelandNEW brought together scientists, engineers, clinicians and research participants to identify common research goals.

In 2013, our community identified obstacles and more integrative approaches to accelerate progress of neural engineering and assistive technologies.

For 2015, we will be building on our collective efforts of the past 2 workshops to define a research road map that integrates the entire continuum from bench top to successful implanting of neural assistive devices into patients along with developing resource guides and an online community in the  The workshop will take place June 24-26, 2015.

We need 24 graduate-level volunteers to assist in scribing and capturing the meeting conversations as the workshop progresses.  The great benefits for the volunteer are exposure early in their careers to many experts in the industry and helping to craft the road map.  Their registration fee will be waived by the CLE NEW Executive Committee in recognition of their in-kind volunteer efforts.

The all-inclusive registration fee includes: lodging; meals; local transportation; 2 1/2 day workshop admission; breakfast, lunch and breaks each day; attendance to the evening events Wednesday, June 24th and Thursday, June 25th; shuttle transportation to and from Cleveland Hopkins airport.

We are hoping you can forward this invite to your graduate students.  The volunteers can contact Erica Root Cikanek at for no-cost registration.


Call for Abstracts: Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium April 16-17, 2015. Abstracts due March 2, 2015

The 3rd Annual Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium will be held April 16-17, 2015 (from 2:00PM April 16th) at the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis immediately following the Design of Medical Devices Conference.

Organized by the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine, co-sponsored by MnDRIVE Brain Conditions, the Center for Neuroengineering, the NSF Neuroengineering IGERT Training Program, and with technical co-sponsorship by LifeScience Alley, this symposium highlights recent advances in the field of neuromodulation, showcasing presentations from internationally recognized leaders in academia, industry, and government. Networking opportunities will be made available as well throughout the two days to help facilitate energetic discussions on the most recent topics in Neuromodulation.

Poster Presentations and Travel Awards:

We invite researchers, educators, and clinicians to submit abstracts for any topic relating to neuromodulation, including invasive and noninvasive techniques, modeling, neurophysiology, behavior, new technologies, clinical applications, and education/training approaches. There will be a poster competition for all non-faculty presenters in which the top posters will be awarded with a certificate and monetary prize at the Closing Ceremony on April 17th. We will select one 1st place, two 2nd place, and three 3rd place winners ($500, $300, $200, respectively). Ten travel awards will be made available of up to $500, each, for national and international students and postdoctoral researchers who are presenting posters at the Symposium. The deadline for abstract and travel award submissions is March 2, 2015.

Abstract Submission

Travel Award

Invited Speakers (confirmed):

Mahlon R. DeLong, MD
Professor of Neurology
Emory University School of Medicine
Member, Institute of Medicine
Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Awardee

John LaLonde
Vice President, Research, Technology & Development
Medtronic Neuromodulation

Sarah Hollingsworth Lisanby, MD
J.P. Gibbons Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University

P. Hunter Peckham, PhD
Donnell Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Distinguished University Professor
Case Western Reserve University
Member, National Academy of Engineering

Shoogo Ueno, PhD (Dr. Eng.)
Professor, Department of Applied Quantum Physics
Kyushu University, Japan

Jerrold L. Vitek MD, PhD
Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology
University of Minnesota


The event was sold out last year due to limited sitting. In order to secure your place at this year’s program, please register ASAP through the following link:




November 14, 2014
Neuroscience 2014 Satellite Symposium
8:00 am-5:00 pm on Friday, November 14, 2014
Georgetown Rm, Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC

Flyer | Registration Form

This satellite symposium focuses on the role of activity-dependent spinal cord plasticity in motor control and motor learning.Topics include:spinal cord plasticity during motor learning and in response to trauma and disease; interactions between brain and spinal cord plasticity; mechanisms underlying spinal cord plasticity and its impact on behavior; induction and guidance of plasticity in spinal reflex pathways and in corticospinal connections; therapeutic applications of spinal cord plasticity; and related methods and technologies.

Speakers include: Arthur English, Alain Frigon, Vivian Mushahwar, Monica Perez, Serge Rossignol, Janet Taylor, Julian Scott Taylor, Aiko Thompson, and Jonathan Wolpaw. Students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to attend and present a poster or a short talk.

Sophia Pallone
Wadsworth Center, PO Box 509
Albany, NY, USA 12201-0509
Voice: 518-473-3631; Fax: 518-486-4910

National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies (NIBIB P41 EB018783)
Neuroscience 2014 Satellite Symposium
8:00 am-5:00 pm on Friday, November 14, 2014
Georgetown Rm, Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC


October 24-25, 2014:
Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Association (ORA) Annual Meeting
View Brochure
For more information please contact:
Cleveland FES Center
(216) 231-3257 |
Or visit our website for conference, registration & hotel information:


Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
DeGrace Hall - Room 312

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense of Daniel Tan

"Restoring sensation in human upper extremity amputees using chronic peripheral nerve interfaces"

Monday, June 30, 2014, 12:30 p.m.
Sears - Room 350

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense of Natalie Brill

"Optimization of High Density Nerve Cuff Stimulation in Upper Extremity Nerves"

Friday, June 20, 2014, 3:00 p.m.
Nord Hall, Room 400

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense of James Liao

"Evaluating Multi-Modal Brain-Computer Interfaces for Controlling Arm Movements using a Simulator of Human Reaching"

Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) provide a potential means for individuals with tetraplegia to command arm prostheses such as Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) systems and regain the ability to make functional movements of their arms. Many BCI implementations focus on decoding parameters of intended movement such as instantaneous position or velocity. However, specifying movements in terms of instantaneous kinematics may not be the best way to command arm prostheses to perform reaching tasks, because many reaching tasks are inherently goal-oriented. Our motivation was to explore how neurons tuned for movement goal affect the performance of BCIs in reaching tasks. We used a simulation approach t generate goal-tuned neurons and evaluated how performance varied with the number of position, velocity, and goal neurons.

To accomplish this, we first developed an experimentally trained closed-loop model of human reaching movements that was capable of producing error corrections and provided a set of command signals that included position, velocity, and goal. Then, firing rates tuned for position, velocity, and goal-tuned neurons were simulated based on these commands. We implemented a decoder capable of utilizing all three information modalities. Our results suggest that goal-tuned neurons could be used to drive a BCI with enough precision to perform functional arm reaching tasks. However, the precision afforded was not as high as with velocity-tuned cells. We anticipate that our findings and the approach itself will inform future BCI research directions and ultimately improve the treatment options for individuals with tetraplegia.


5-22-2014: MSc Defense of NIcholas Couturier
2:00 pm, Nord 400.
"Sensory Stimulation for the Suppression of Seizures"


Friday, May 16, 2014, 8:00 a.m.
Wolstein Auditorium

Symposium on Nerve Regeneration and Repair
In honor of Lynn Landmesser's retirement as Chair of the Dept. of Neurosciences

Click here for the program flyer.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014. 10:00 a.m.
Nord Hall, Room 400

PhD Defense of Kelsey A. Potter, B.S.

“Anti-oxidative approaches to improve neuronal viability surrounding implanted intracortical microelectrodes”
Thesis Advisor: Jeffrey R. Capadona, Ph.D.

Intracortical microelectrodes show large potential in helping neuroscientists further map and understand the mechanics of the brain. In addition, microelectrode technology could potentially provide the means for translating “thought” into “movement” for patients suffering from neurological deficits. However, general unreliability of microelectrode technology has halted its widespread clinical use. Further understanding of the key failure modes of intracortical microelectrodes has suggested a key role for oxidative stress in material, electrical, and biological failure modes. The overall goal of this work was to examine the role of reducing oxidative stress around implanted microelectrodes using multiple anti-oxidative approaches. In this dissertation we report on the dynamic inflammatory response that exists following implantation of single-shank planar microelectrode arrays and improved methodology to quantify the molecular events occurring at the microelectrode-tissue interface. We also examine multiple anti-oxidative approaches to (1) reduce localized reactive oxygen species accumulation, (2) prevent breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and/or (3) reduce the amount of neurodegeneration that occurs surrounding implanted microelectrodes. Of note, we observed that short term (<48 hours) administration or release of anti-oxidants could facilitate improvements in either neuronal density or viability up to two months after device implantation. Improvements in neuronal health were directly correlated with a localized decrease in accumulated reactive oxygen species and a more stable blood-brain barrier. Long-term administration of anti-oxidants was able to facilitate improved neuronal viability around implanted microelectrodes, in comparison to controls, up to four months post-implantation. The results of this work further support the hypothesis that oxidative stress may facilitate multiple failure modes to intracortical microelectrodes. We anticipate that anti-oxidative approaches outlined here will be directly translational and aide in the improved reliability of microelectrode technology for use in both basic neuroscience and clinical applications.


Monday, March 10, 2014. 1:00 p.m.
Nord Hall, Room 204

PhD Defense of Kathleen Jagodnik, M.S.

"Reinforcement Learning and Feedback Control for High-Level Upper-Extremity Neuroprostheses"
Thesis Advisor: Robert F. Kirsch, Ph.D.

High-level spinal cord injury causes paralysis below the level of the neck. Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a technology that restores voluntary movement via application of electrical current to nerves and muscles. Our work aims to restore movement in the paralyzed upper limb. When implementing FES systems, effective controllers are needed to translate the arm’s current and desired positions into a pattern of muscle stimulations that achieve the target position accurately and efficiently. Although a range of upper-extremity neuroprosthesis controllers exist, none is capable of restoring accurate, natural arm movement in a clinical setting.

For the purpose of advancing upper-extremity FES control technology, we explore Reinforcement learning (RL), a control strategy that uses delayed reward and a trial-and-error search to develop its action policy. A potential advantage of RL control for upper-extremity FES systems is that the human user’s preferences can be incorporated into the controller’s training through the use of human-generated rewards of the controller’s actions. To date, RL control has been minimally explored for FES systems, and human rewards have never been incorporated for this application.

An RL controller was implemented for a planar 2 degree of freedom biomechanical arm model, and this project explored the feasibility of using human rewards to train the RL controller. Simulation experiments were performed using pseudo-human, computer generated rewards that simulate the rewards that a human would be likely to assign. A range of experiments was performed to examine the learning properties of RL control using human-like rewards, and it was determined that RL controller learning occurs over a measurable time frame. Subsequently, human rewards were introduced to train the RL controller. Ten human subjects viewed animations of arm reaching movements, and assigned rewards to train the RL controller based on the quality of each movement. The RL controllers trained by humans learned well, although pseudo-human reward training was found to be equally effective. We discuss the potential benefits of using pseudo-human rewards for initial RL controller training, with subsequent fine-tuning training using human rewards. Reinforcement learning is a promising control strategy to restore natural arm movement to individuals with high-level paralysis.

3-06-2014: Ford Lecture.
Allen and Constance Ford Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring David Van Essen, the Alumni Endowed Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis
3:30-4 p.m. Meeting with President Snyder, Dr. Van Essen, and Mr. Ford, Office of the President, Adelbert Hall
4:30 Lecture, Auditorium, Wolstein Research Building
5:30 Reception, Atrium, Wolstein Research Building

About the Speaker

Alumni Endowed Professor of Neurobiology
Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

David Van Essen received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry in 1967 from Caltech and his graduate degree in neurobiology in 1971 from Harvard. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard under Drs. David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel and did additional postdoctoral work in Norway and England before returning to Caltech in 1976. He was a faculty member in the Division of Biology at Caltech until 1992, during which time he served as Executive Officer for Neurobiology (1982-1989) and Option Representative for the Computation and Neural Systems program (1986-1991). In 1992 he became Edison Professor of Neurobiology and Head of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine. In fall 2012 he stepped down as Department Head to continue his research at Washington University He served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience from 1994-1998. In 1994 he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served in leadership positions of many organizations, including founding chair of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (1996). Councilor (1992-2002), Secretary (2002-2004), and President (2006-2007) of the Society for Neuroscience, President of the Association of Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairs (2006-2008), and advisory boards for NINDS, HHMI, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

Dr. Van Essen is internationally known for his research on the structure, function, and development of cerebral cortex in general and the visual cortex in particular. He has made extensive contributions to the understanding of how the brain perceives shape, motion and color and how attention affects neural activity. His work has helped to demonstrate that the brain contains dozens of different areas involved in vision and that these areas are interconnected by hundreds of distinct neural pathways. He and his colleagues have developed powerful new techniques in computerized brain mapping and neuroinformatics, and have used these methods to elucidate the functional organization of cerebral cortex in humans and nonhuman primates. He is the Principal Investigator for the Human Connectome Project, an ambitious endeavor to chart long-distance neural pathways in a large population of healthy adult humans.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013
3:00 p.m.
Wickenden Building room 307

PhD Defense of Thomas Paul Ladas

"An Optogenetic Approach to Induce Seizure Suppression"


Neural Engineering Transformative Technologies: NETT 2013
July 1-6 2013
Nottingham, UK

Scientific Organisers
Stephen Coombes, University of Nottingham
Wolfram Erlhagen, University of Minho
Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo, Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Bert Kappen, Radboud University NijmegenNeural Engineering is an inherently new discipline that brings together engineering, physics, neuroscience and mathematics to design and develop brain-computer interface systems, cognitive computers and neural prosthetics. This one week conference will bring together international experts in these key areas to discuss the state of the art in the field of Neural Engineering. It will also include a number of tutorial presentations for those new to the field as well as presentations from industrial companies including National Instruments, Brain Products and BitBrain.

For further details about this event see


Thursday, May 30, 2013
2:00 p.m.
Wickenden Building room 322

PhD Defense of Aaron Hadley

"Dynamic Laryngo-Tracheal Control for Airway Management in Dysphagia"
Advisor: Dustin J. Tyler, Ph.D.


Control of the laryngo-tracheal opening is necessary to balance the body’s constant need of oxygen, phonate speech, and enable safe intake of food. A common result of traumatic brain injury and stroke is paralysis and paresis of the vocal folds, causing impaired breathing, hoarseness, and aspiration. Vocal fold adduction and laryngeal elevation serve as protective mechanisms to divert fluids and food away from the airway and into the esophagus during deglutition. The aims of the current study were to: 1) Examine selective hypoglossal nerve stimulation for laryngeal elevation, 2) Optimize the stimulation angles and parameters of transtracheal stimulation, and 3) Develop an automatic detection algorithm using natural signals from swallowing.

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation induced laryngeal elevation to a magnitude approximately equal to that of a natural swallow, and FINE electrodes were shown to be able to selectively activate the muscles of elevation. Transtracheal stimulation, when applied at the optimized angles, was able to induce complete vocal fold adduction. A time-delay artificial neural network was trained to sensitively and selectively detect swallowing using oral pressure signals. This research advances the creation of a closed-loop laryngeal stimulator for dysphagia protection by assessing novel stimulation paradigms, producing an automatic control signal, and combining laryngeal stimulation measures for more complete protection. The conclusive results from this research should be followed by human studies utilizing a complete laryngeal stimulation system to improve the health and quality of life of victims of stroke.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013
8:00 am
NORD Building, Room 400

PhD Defense of Nathaniel Makowski

"Can poststroke reaching assistance be controlled by residualmovement?"
Advisor: Patrick E. Crago, Ph.D.


Hemiparesis after stroke makes bimanual tasks difficult. One aspect of this impairment is involuntary muscle co-activation in response to voluntary effort for other muscles. Consequently, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for reach and hand opening, coupled with residual voluntary movement, may be able to provide functional arm and hand movement. This type of approach has been attempted in the past with a focus on the hand, but effort to reach and open the hand produces involuntary flexor co-activation that hand opening stimulation cannot overpower. Limiting the effort used as a command signal and augmenting it with stimulation may limit the expression of co-activation patterns and produce useful movements.

We tested key aspects of the system to evaluate feasibility of using stimulation to produce functional movement in the presence of voluntary effort and how well stroke patients can control assistive forces analogous to those produced by FES. To answer these questions we evaluated the following aims: 1) Determine if FES in the presence of limited effort produces useful reach and hand opening. 2) Evaluate the interaction of FES with voluntary effort in stroke to understand if stimulation of a volitionally activated muscle produces additional force/movement and how those forces combine. 3) Evaluate poststroke control of assistive forces to assist in reach. Results indicate that FES coupled with limited effort can produce useful reach and hand opening in some stroke patients. The force increment provided by this stimulation decreases as the voluntary effort exerted increases, but it still adds to the assistive force. Additionally, stroke patients can control assistive forces from a robot using residual arm movements on their affected side, indicating that EMG from the affected upper extremity could be used as an effective command signal to control FES and might be used in concert with FES to produce useful arm and hand movements. The positive results from these studies are a step towards an assistive technology to help people move their arm and hand after stroke.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013
9:00 am
NORD Building, Room 204

PhD Defense of Peter Cooman, M.S.

"Controlling Human Arm Movements Generated by Functional Electrical Stimulation"
Advisor: Robert F. Kirsch, M.D.


Using a model-based approach, we designed and evaluated nonlinear combined feedforward-feedback algorithms to control arm movements in the presence of a wide range of perturbations: (1) manipulation of objects of unknown mass, (2) sensor noise, (3) muscle fatigue, (4) model uncertainty with respect to the true inertial properties of the arm and the true muscle dynamics, and (5) input time delays. These algorithms were developed specifically for use in FES neuroprostheses for individuals with paralysis due to spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. An initial comparison of combined feedforward-feedback proportional-derivative (PD), adaptive control, and sliding mode control showed that input time delays quickly caused instability for all three controllers if feedback gains were chosen too high. Decreasing the feedback gains (i.e., shifting towards feedforward control) re-established stability, but greatly reduced performance as measured by the root-mean-square error between the specified movement intent and the simulated joint angles. Input time delays are unavoidable in FES applications, arising from the muscle dynamics and the relatively low stimulation frequency (i.e. 12Hz) typically used in upper extremity FES neuroprostheses. The destabilizing effects of time delay therefore cannot be ignored. Using a 2DOF musculoskeletal arm model, we designed and evaluated a nonlinear combined feedforward-feedback controller with time delay compensation. In the presence of a typical 80ms time delay, this controller achieved excellent tracking accuracy, both under ideal conditions (shoulder RMSE: 0.27º, elbow RMSE: 0.62º) and in the presence of a wide variety of perturbations expected under normal operating conditions (shoulder RMSE: 2.99º, elbow RMSE: 5.15º). We extended this time delay compensating controller to a more functionally relevant 5DOF arm model. This extended controller achieved stable, accurate tracking, even in the presence of time delay, measurement noise, muscle fatigue and additional loading - but only if the inertial properties of the arm were exactly known. Future research in gravity compensation and adaptation may further improve the robustness of the time delay compensating controller for the 5DOF arm model.


Neurosciences Seminar and The Distinguished Neural Prosthesis Lecture

Thursday, April 4, 2013
12:30 p.m.

School of Medicine, Robbins Bldg./East Wing
Room E501

"Chasing Men on Fire: Na Channels and Neurological Disorders"


Thursday, March 14, 2013
1:30 pm
School of Medicine (SOM 7th floor) E739

PhD Defense of Andrew Shoffstall

“Synthetic platelets to augment hemostasis”
Advisor: Erin Lavik, Sc.D.


Uncontrolled hemorrhage comprises 60-70% of trauma-associated mortality in the absence of other lethal conditions (e.g. damage to central nervous or cardiac system). Immediate intervention is critical to improving chances of survival. While there are several products to control bleeding for external wounds including pressure dressings, tourniquets or topical hemostatic agents there are few, if any, effective treatments that can be administered in the field to help staunch internal bleeding.

Intravenous hemostatic nanoparticles that augment blood clotting when administered after trauma have been previously shown to half bleeding times in a femoral artery injury model in rats. The aims of the present study were to: 1) Determine their efficacy in a lethal hemorrhagic liver injury model, 2) determine the impact of targeting ligand concentration on hemostasis, and 3) test them in a clinically relevant porcine model of hemorrhage.

Nanoparticle administration (GRGDS-NP1, 40 mg/kg) after lethal liver resection in the rat increased 1-hour survival to 80% compared to 40-47% in controls. Targeting ligand conjugation was then increased 100-fold (GRGDS-NP100), and a dosing study performed. GRGDS-NP100 hemostatic nanoparticles (2.5 mg/kg) were efficacious at doses 8-fold lower than GRGDS-NP1, and increased 1-hour survival to 92%. In vitro analysis using rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) confirmed the increased dose-sensitivity of GRGDS-NP100 and laid the foundation for methods to determine optimal ligand concentration parameters.

Hemostatic nanoparticles were then tested in a clinically relevant porcine liver injury model, which elucidated an unexpected adverse reaction, comprised of a massive hemorrhagic response. A naïve (uninjured) porcine model was then employed. These experiments revealed an adverse reaction consistent with complement activation related pseudoallergy (CARPA), which could be mediated by tuning nanoparticles’ zeta potential. Neutralizing the nanoparticle charge mitigated the onset of CARPA, while negative (-30 mV) or positive (+20 mV) zeta potential led to adverse CARPA symptoms (e.g., cardiopulmonary dysfunction with spontaneous recovery within minutes). While the sensitivity to CARPA is exaggerated in the pig model compared to humans, its consequences when triggered during hemorrhagic injury could be catastrophic in a subset of the population. Therefore, minimizing its risk will be paramount to the clinical translation of this technology.


Monday, March 11, 2013
4:00 pm
Orthopedics Conference Room - 3rd floor BRB

PhD Defense of Gary Anthony Wu

“Evaluation of tissue health and interventions for the prevention of pressure ulcers in persons with spinal cord injury”
Advisor: Kath Bogie, D. Phil

Persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) have atrophied muscle, leading to increased risk of developing pressure ulcers (PU). Even so, some persons with SCI are more susceptible to PUs. The thesis presents several measurements of tissue health as a means to better understand individual differences.

The gluteus maximus muscle of persons with SCI in the study have increased intramuscular fat and decreased lean muscle which make the tissue around bony prominences prone to higher stress and strains. Furthermore, this atrophy is more pronounced in the region of the ischial tuberosities. A relationship was found between PU history with the gluteal muscle quality/composition but not with muscle cross-sectional area (CSA).

Weight redistributing cushions are prescribed to address the increased risk of developing PUs around the bony prominences. The Tissue Health Evaluation Toolbox (THEToolbox) was used to determine the impact of standard cushions and dynamic cushions on the seating interface. The overall improvements in tissue health with use of dynamic cushion are similar though smaller in magnitude to weight shifting practices on a standard cushion. Differences include prolonged increase in oxygenation during intervention period and increase in myogenic contribution to bloodflow post-intervention with dynamic cushion use not observed with weight shifts.
Gluteal muscle mass increased in persons with SCI with continued use of gluteal neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). Concurrent use of trunk and gluteal stimulation improved anterior/posterior postural misalignment. The postural correction improved regional tissue health. There was a small positive impact on maximum IP gradient with improved lateral postural instability.

NMES is an approach that could address both extrinsic need for periodic, sustained weight shifting and intrinsic need to improve muscle geometry and quality. An approach to improve placement of electrodes by visualizing the inferior gluteal nerve with computer tomography was not successful.

The increase in both intramuscular and visceral fat together with varying levels of muscle atrophy and differing physiological responses to weight shifting further the case for individualized care.


Friday, March 8, 2013
8:30 AM
Neural Prosthesis Seminar
“Emerging Translational Tools for the Exploration and Potential Treatment of Neurological Disease”

Biomedical Research Building 105
Case Western Reserve University

Timothy Denison, PhD
Director of Neural Engineering and Technical Fellow, Medtronic

This talk will present reflections on the design challenges and potential opportunities of building translational tools to interface with the nervous system. The current state of device-based neural interfacing can be cast in a dynamic control intelligent agent framework such that the nervous system is the environment, the neural stimulator is the actuator, tools to collect clinical data are the sensors, and the physician’s judgment is the state estimator and control policy. This model helps to frame the types of opportunities available to advance neuromodulation the treatment of disease by modulating neural information flow.

In particular, technology can potentially address two factors limiting the performance of current systems: “observability,” the ability to classify the state of the physiological system from sensor measurements, and “controllability,” the ability to steer the system to a desirable state using some form of physiological actuation. To address these factors, the field needs to create novel sensors, actuation methods, and algorithms and then synthesize them together. However, technology alone is probably not enough to fully address unmet needs; hardware innovations must be combined with better understanding the fundamental neural processes underlying disease, which is currently an evolving science.

From this perspective, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of designing translational technology for interfacing with and studying the nervous system. By designing flexible systems to explore a broad set of physiological questions, we have an opportunity to cross-leverage scientific know-how across multiple biomedical applications. Examples of synergy will be taken from work in several animal models that highlight how novel research instrumentation is starting to help answer key questions about the dynamics of the nervous system relevant to chronic disease. A case
study from a recently released responsive stimulator for chronic pain will illustrate the translation of these technology concepts to clinic.

For more information, please contact Cheryl Dudek at (216) 231-3257.

Live stream video link for each lecture at

Download Flyer



Electrochemical Measurement Workshop
August 6-10, 2012

See Flyer



Tuesday, November 1, 2011
3:00 pm
Wickenden, Room 525

PhD Defense of Yuang (David) Tang

"Methods for the Detection and Suppression of Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy"

Epilepsy is a complex neurological disease that affects more than 50 million people worldwide. Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) is the most common and refractory form of epilepsy. Patients diagnosed with MTLE often experience status epilepticus during infancy. It is postulated that this initial trauma is the root cause of MTLE development later in life. In this study, we present potential new therapies for the treatment of MTLE. First, we present a novel low frequency electrical stimulation paradigm, as a possible therapeutic treatment, for status epilepticus originating from the hippocampus as well as MTLE seizures. The paradigm utilizes the hippocampal commissure, as a unique stimulation target, to simultaneously influence large portions of the bilateral hippocampal network. In order to assess the efficacy of the proposed stimulation paradigm, an acute rat model of MTLE status epilepticus is developed, using bilateral micro-injections 4-Aminopyridine into the hippocampal structure. In animals that received stimulation, an 88% reduction in the powers of the bilateral epileptiform activity is achieved when compared to the control group. In addition, the stimulation paradigm is also shown to entrain the hippocampal network’s spontaneous epileptiform activity and disrupt the synchrony between the epileptiform activity within two sides of the hippocampi. In conclusion, the proposed electrical stimulation paradigm shows promise both as a novel treatment for status epilepticus during infancy as well as for adult patients suffering from recurrent MTLE seizures. Along with the low frequency stimulation paradigm, we also present a automated seizure detection algorithm utilizing an assembly of Support Vector Machines (SVM). An effective automated seizure detector can reduce the significant human resources necessary for the care of patients suffering from intractable epilepsy and offer improved solutions for closed-loop therapeutic devices such as implantable electrical stimulation systems. While numerous detection algorithms have been published, an effective detector in the clinical setting remains elusive. There are significant challenges facing seizure detection algorithms. The epilepsy EEG morphology can vary widely among the patient population. EEG recordings from the same patient can change over time. EEG recordings can be contaminated with artifacts that often resemble epileptic seizure activity. In order for an epileptic seizure detector to be successful, it must be able to adapt to these different challenges. In this study, a novel detector is proposed based on a support vector machine assembly classifier (SVMA). The SVMA consists of a group of SVMs each trained with a different set of weights between the seizure and non-seizure data and the user can selectively control the output of the SVMA classifier. The algorithm can improve the detection performance compared to traditional methods by providing an effective tuning strategy for specific patients. The proposed algorithm also demonstrates a clear advantage over threshold tuning. When compared with the detection performances reported by other studies using the publicly available epilepsy dataset hosted by the University of BONN, the proposed SVMA detector achieved the best total accuracy of 98.72%. These results demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed SVMA detector and its potential in the clinical setting.


Wednesday, October 27, 2011
4:00 pm
2013 Cornell Road
The Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Research Building

Celebrate the appointment of

Dominique M. Durand, Ph.D.
Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering
Erin B. Lavik, Sc.D.
Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering


Monday, August 29, 2011
3:00 pm
Wickenden, Room 525

PhD Defense of Christa W. Moss

“Investigation of Below Lesion Musle Signals as a Command Source for a Neuroprosthesis”
Advisor: P. Hunter Peckham

The objective of this project is to investigate muscle signals from below the injury level in individuals with motor complete spinal cord injury. Implanted neuroprostheses use functional electrical stimulation to restore function to individuals with spinal cord injury. A command signal is required to control each restored function. Currently, muscle signals from above the injury are used as a command source. As neuroprostheses advance in complexity, more command signals will be required to control the additional functions. Thus, this project was designed to evaluate potential sources of additional command information.

Although visual movement is not present in muscles below the injury level in the motor complete SCI population, it is possible to detect volitional electromyographic (EMG) activity in some muscles. Results discussed here indicate that training with visual feedback may improve the amplitude and reliability of small muscle signals. Additionally, a proof of concept demonstration showed that clinically paralyzed muscles are a viable option for use as a command signal for an implanted, upper extremity neuroprosthesis.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011
12:00 Noon
Nord Hall, Room 400

PhD Defense of Andy Cornwell

"Command of a Multiple Degree-of-Freedom Arm With Functional Electrical Stimulation Using a Simple Set of Commands"
Advisor: Robert Kirsch

This project demonstrates a method to provide commands to an FES-enabled arm when the set of available commands is fewer than those needed to control the system. Although no treatment or cure for spinal cord injury (SCI) currently exists, there are rehabilitative technologies that provide increased levels of independence. Because the injury to the spinal cord largely spares damage to the peripheral nervous system and muscles, it is often possible to electrically stimulate paralyzed peripheral nerves and artificially initiate the original function of those nerves. This technique is called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), and it can be used to restore motor function by stimulating the motor nerves. If the nerves are stimulated in carefully orchestrated patterns, it is possible to restore functional movements.

An advanced neuroprosthesis is under development in our laboratory to restore arm function to individuals with high-cervical level SCI, where users have complete paralysis of the entire arm. This system will use several novel techniques to overcome the inherent difficulties of providing a complete system to a user with no control of his arms or hands. For example, a new command source will be used because the retained functions available for delivering commands are very limited. Promising options include face and neck EMG signals, or signals recorded from the brain. Currently, these command sources are capable of robustly producing two or three continuous commands. However, to position the arm and hand in space requires specifying the position of each joint in the arm, which implies at least seven mechanical degrees of freedom.

The goal of this project is to develop a “command map,” the mathematical relationship that extracts the user’s intent from the available command source, and maps this information to arm joint angles so the FES controller can determine appropriate levels of stimulation for executing the intended movement. We obtained this command map by using the Principal Components Analysis (PCA) of able-bodied individuals performing a carefully selected set of daily living tasks. This work details the importance and selection of those daily living tasks, identifies high levels of repeatable correlation in joint angles during everyday movements, and then demonstrates the controllability of a virtual arm by able-bodied users using the PCA-based command map.


Friday, April 22, 2011
2:00 PM
Wickenden 322

Srikantan Nagarajan, PhD
Director, Biomagnetic Imaging Laboratory
Professor in Residence
UCSF School

"Multiple time-scales of brain plasticity assessed by Electromagnetic Brain Imaging"

Friday, February 11, 2011
8:30 AM
Biomedical Research Building (BRB) Rm. 105
Case Western Reserve University

Neural Prosthesis Seminar

Ranu Jung, PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Collge of Engneering and Computing
Florida International University, Miami FL
"Neuromorphic Design & Neural Prostheses for Restoring Sensorimotor Function"

Abstract: Engineering techniques can play a role in understanding biological systems, mimicking biological processes, and intervening to restore function after trauma. Computational models allow us to investigate the underlying mechanisms for neural control as well as the adaptive or maladaptive biological processes. Such models can be used to design neuromorphic technology that mimics biological systems. Neural prostheses, incorporating neuromorphic approaches into system design can be used to interact with the nervous system. This talk will present some of our work in using neural models, designing neuromorphic systems and developing neural prostheses, as well as provide an overview of an on-going project that is developing and implementing a novel neural prosthesis directed at improving the functionality of artificial limbs by providing sensory feedback to the user.

This seminar will be streamed live starting at 8:30 AM EST on Friday, February 11 at:

For more information, please contact Cathy Naples at (216) 707-6490.


Friday, January 21, 2011
8:30 AM
Biomedical Research Building (BRB) Rm. 105
Case Western Reserve University

Neural Prosthesis Seminar

Dominique Durand, PhD
E.L. Lindseth Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Neuroscience, Physiology and Biophysics
Director of Neural Engineering Center
Case Western Reserve University

"Interfacing with the Peripheral Nervous System to Detect Movement Intent"

Abstract: Neural engineers have made significant breakthrough in several areas such as the brain machine interface for locked-in patients, the retinal prosthesis for blind patients and deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s patients. In this presentation I will focus on neural interfacing with the peripheral nervous system. In particular, I will present the development of an electrode capable of selective fascicle recording. The recorded signals can then be processed to detect of the intent of the patient and applied to the control of prosthetics devices such as artificial limbs in patients with amputation or stroke.

This seminar will be streamed live starting at 8:30 AM EST on Friday, January 21st at:

For more information, please contact Cathy Naples at (216) 707-6490.


Friday, December 10, 2010
8:30 AM
Biomedical Research Building (BRB) Rm. 105
Case Western Reserve University

Neural Prosthesis Seminar

Heidi B. Martin, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University

"Conductive Diamond for Implantable Neurological Devices"

Abstract: Robust implantable electrodes enable functional electrical stimulation and neurosensing technologies and expand their benefits to applications in human health. Conductive diamond provides the opportunity to integrate sensing and stimulation in the same robust device. Diamond stimulators may operate while avoiding tissue and electrode damage. Diamond sensors could be used to examine new neurochemistries and detect lower analyte concentrations. This presentation focuses on diamond-film electrode development and application in tissue for (a) stimulation of neural activity, and (b) detection of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and electrical activity. Unique fabrication and materials integration approaches to render the electrodes flexible will be presented.

This seminar will be streamed live starting at 8:30 AM EST on Friday, December 10th at:

For more information, please contact Cathy Naples at (216) 707-6490.


Friday, November 12, 2010
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Biomedical Research Building (BRB) Rm. 105
Case Western Reserve University

Neural Prosthesis Seminar

Michael Goldfarb, Ph.D.
H. Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University

“New Horizons in Upper and Lower Extremity Prosthetics” [download flyer]

Abstract: Recent advances in robotics technology have brought to the near horizon significantly enhanced functionality in both lower and upper extremity prostheses. Specifically, such advances now enable fully powered artificial legs and multi-fingered hands capable of multiple grasps and postures. Traditional user interfaces are inadequate to fully access the enhanced capabilities of such prostheses, and as such, the development of new, considerably more capable user interfaces are needed. This talk will describe emerging capabilities in both lower and upper extremity prostheses, and will also discuss issues related to the user interface of both.

Sponsored by the Cleveland FES Center and the APT Center.

Live stream video link for this lecture starting at 8:30 AM on 11/12/10 will be at:


Friday, October 15, 2010
8:30 AM
Case Western Reserve University
Biomedical Research Building (BRB) Room 105

Speaker: Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD
Professor of Ophthalmology, Biomedical Engineering and Cell &
Neurobiology, Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California

Topic: Interim Performance Results from the Second Sight© Argus™ II Retinal Prosthesis Study.

For more information contact Cathy Naples (216) 707-6490


Friday, September 17, 2010
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Case Western Reserve University
Biomedical Research Building (BRB) Room 105

This seminar will not be web streamed

Speaker: Bijan Pesaran, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neural Science
Center for Neural Science
New York University

Title: "The Promise of Local Field Potentials for Neuroscience and Neural Engineering"

Abstract: The study of the brain is enjoying an era of growth with dramatic advances in our knowledge of the link between brain and behavior. Research is leading to a better scientific understanding of how the brain controls behavior and is opening up translational opportunities to engineer devices that replace lost brain function. Our understanding of brain mechanisms is largely based on the spiking activity of individual neurons. In this talk, I will argue that an exclusive focus on spiking activity hampers both basic neuroscience and neural engineering. I will develop a complementary approach involving local field potentials (LFPs), electrical potentials generated by populations of neurons. I propose that LFPs show promise in two specific areas. Local field potentials can improve our scientific understanding of how different brain areas communicate with each other during behavior and can accelerate the development of robust high-performance neural interfaces that replace lost brain function.

IEEE_EMBS Forum on Grand Challenges in Neuroengineering

May 7th-May 8th, 2010

Fourth International Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Meeting
May 31 to June 4, 2010
The meeting will take place at the Asilomar Conference Center on the Monterey Peninsula, part of the California State Park System. The conference center, which constitutes the largest collection of Arts and Crafts-style buildings in one location, is a National Historic Landmark

39th Neural Interfaces Conference

Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach CA
June 21-23, 2010