The overarching purpose of my research is to advance knowledge of the brain's capacity for neural and vascular plasticity to improve human mobility, health, and well-being. 


Brain blood flow and neural function for balance control with aging

In this project, we aim to understand how blood flow to the brain may contribute to neural processes that control balance in older adults and in individuals across the adult lifespan.

We are also interested in testing brain blood flow response under conditions of physiologic stress, such as aerobic exercise, and whether this is linked to neural dysfunction in the brain. 

We are testing the effect of APOE4 genotype, the strongest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease,  on the interaction between brain blood flow and neural function. 

Funded by:  NIH K99AG075255, P30 AG072973

Cortical activity during reactive balance recovery and effects of stroke

Nonparetic leg compensation for balance and walking persists through the chronic stage of stroke recovery, but its influence on the neuromechanistic control of rapid recovery from loss of balance is unclear. 

In this project we examined the effect of biased paretic versus nonparetic leg balance recovery on evoked cortical activity and biomechanical reactivity to standing balance perturbations post-stroke. 

Funded by:  NIH F32 HD096816, AHA 18POST34050047,  NIH LRP AEIT3124

Cortico-cortical connectivity between the lesioned and nonlesioned hemisphere poststroke

After stroke, the nonlesioned hemisphere appears to play a salient role in the recovery of walking and functional mobility, yet the neural mechanisms by which this occurs remains poorly understood.

Here we used a multimodal neuroimaging approach (TMS-EEG) to more directly study functional connectivity between the lesioned and nonlesioned motor cortices after stroke and its association with clinical and biomechanical walking function.

Funded by:  AHA 16POST29120001

Neuromodulation to enhance neuroplasticity and motor learning

Leveraging the brain's remarkable capacity for neuroplasticity is a key element of learning and is essential for rehabilitation and recovery after stroke

In this project we used paired associative stimulation (PAS) to modulate corticomotor excitability to the paretic hand muscles and cortico-cortical connectivity between brain regions (TMS-EEG) and tested the effect on skilled motor learning in people poststroke and neurotypical individuals

Funded by:  LSVT Global Small Student Research Grant

Corticomotor drive and walking function poststroke

In this study we investigated the association of corticomotor excitability with clinical and biomechanical walking function after stroke. 

We also tested the effects of functional electrical stimulation during gait training on cortical plasticity and associated biomechanical walking changes.

Funded by: PODSII Scholarship, Foundation for Physical Therapy