Our brain is the control centre for voluntary motor function. At NeuroMET, we are developing neuromodulation technologies and assessment methods to interface with the brain. The methods include non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and repetitive TMS (rTMS) of the motor cortex, as well as evaluating the effects of implantable deep brain stimulation (DBS). We use motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited by TMS and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess human motor control. We are also developing neural and brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies by recording and analyzing electrical activity from the brain through electroencephalography (EEG), electrocorticography (ECoG), and local field potentials (LFP).
The spinal cord is a bridge for transporting motor commands from the brain and the sensory feedback information from the periphery. The spinal cord also acts as the control centre for reflexive motor control. At NeuroMET, we are developing neuromodulation technologies to facilitate communication between the brain and the muscles. Methods include single-pulse transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation (tSCS) for assessment of the spinal reflexes, which are analogous to the Hoffman reflex (H-reflex), as well as spinal cord neuromodulation approaches, including non-invasive continuous tSCS and evaluating effects of epidural spinal cord stimulation (SCS) on human motor control.
Muscles are the actuators of the human motor control system, which can be used to perform motor tasks and move the upper-limbs, lower-limbs or the trunk. At NeuroMET, we are devoted to understanding the neuromechanics of how muscles are controlled by the brain and the spinal cord during functional tasks such as reaching or grasping (upper-limb), standing and walking (lower-limb) as well as sitting (trunk). Moreover, we aim to develop neuroprosthetic technologies for activating the muscles through functional electrical stimulation (FES), hybrid FES-robot devices, and BCI systems for control of neuroprostheic and neuromodulation technologies, which can modulate the central nervous system to improve human motor function.