Brain is the control center 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 transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the brain as well as evaluating effects of implantable deep brain stimulation (DBS) on the motor function. We use motor evoked potentials (MEPs) evoked by TMS and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as electrical activity of the brain (i.e, EEG, ECoG, or LFP neural recordings) to assess human motor control and interface with the brain through development of brain-machine interface (BMI) technologies.
Spinal cord is a bridge for transporting motor command from the brain as well as the sensory feedback information from the periphery. The spinal cord also acts as the control center for reflexive motor control. At NeuroMET, we are developing neuromodulation technologies to facilitate communication between the brain and the muscles. The 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 are 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 using functional electrical stimulation (FES), hybrid FES-robot devices, and BMI systems for control of neuroprostheic and neuromodulation technologies, which can modulate the central nervous system to improve human motor function.