Neural Basis of Motor Development and Rehabilitation

PI: Wayne A. Stuberg, PT, PhD, PCS
Project Title: Neural Basis of Motor Development and Rehabilitation
Grant Agency: Hattie B. Munroe Foundation
Award: $500,000

This project will create a Center for the Neural Basis of Motor Development & Rehabilitation, which will function as an umbrella program that links together the Laboratories of multiple faculty who share the common interest in understanding how normal development and specific rehabilitation methods alter brain function. The central Laboratories involved will include the MMI Motion Analysis Laboratory, the Magnetoencephalogram (MEG) Laboratory, and the MMI Neurogenetics Communication Laboratory. The purpose of the Center will be the systematic development and application of cutting edge rehabilitation approaches designed to advance learning and development and thereby, enhance opportunity for children with disabilities. By incorporating sophisticated state-of-the-art outcome metrics such as brain imaging, we expect that our newly-developed therapeutic approaches will significantly shift existing paradigms (i.e., inspire new designs, adaptations, and patient applications). The vision of the Center is to be a national leader in clinical practice, research, and the development of new interventions that will improve mobility, postural control, and speech-language skills in children with developmental neurological disorders.

The Center will create a unique environment for the collaboration between clinicians and clinical researchers where research, training, and clinical service can focus on brain-centered rehabilitation. At this new Center, orthopedic surgeons, biomedical engineers, physical therapists, neuroscientists, speech-language pathologists, and other clinicians will work together to guide the practice of rehabilitation for special-needs children. This approach will provide a "basic science to clinical practice" continuum to address complex problems, test the efficacy of treatments, and to develop new treatment approaches. This will be possible by combining the technology that is currently spread across the three core Laboratories. By coalescing these resources, MMI faculty will be able to examine the functional changes that occur in the brains of their patients as unique rehabilitation protocols are provided within their current MMI-based Laboratories.