Spinal Plasticity Laboratory

 

Objectives

We are using a rodent model of spinal cord injury to study how hind limb treadmill training improves locomotor recovery. Our current projects are studying:

Robotic locomotor training

 

Drug treatments for paralysis   Biochemistry of spinal neurons

We use a robotic locomotor system to train the hind limbs to step on a treadmill. We are learning how to best apply forces on the rat hind limbs to teach the injured spinal cord to step.

 

We are using drug treatments, i.e. quipazine, in combination with robotic-assisted locomotor  training to improve stepping in spinal cord injured rats.

 

 

 

 

We are investigating how lumbar spinal neurons change in response to robotic-assisted locomotor training. In particular, we are studying the synthesis of a neurotrohpin, brain-derived neuorotrophic factor (BDNF), by motor neurons in the spinal cord.

 

The findings of these studies will have important implications for current locomotor training therapies for people with spinal cord injuries. For example, the rodent robotic device provides a test bed for developing robotic trainers for human body weight supported treadmill training. 

 

Contact Info/Location

To become involved in SPL research, call (323) 343-6054. The SPL is located on the campus of Cal State LA in the Biological Sciences Building, Room 310A.