It is an exciting time to be an investigator in the area of brain plasticity. Years of research aimed at improving patient outcomes is reaching the point of translation into new therapies for human subjects. In the coming years there will be a great need for clinical scientists to continue this work. The current proposal focuses on this need while examining key questions in stroke rehabilitation. The main scientific focus of this grant is brain plasticity after stroke and its relationship to rehabilitation. Countless studies have characterize changes in brain structure and function after stroke and their relationship to improved patient outcomes. This area of science benefits from techniques to measure to brain plasticity in human patients, and from clinical trials to evaluate promising restorative therapies. Under the aegis of this grant, PMR residents in training, physical therapists in DPT programs, and clinical fellows will each take part in a number of research projects. Currently ongoing projects include the study of robotics to improve motor function after stroke, and the study of genetic variation influences on stroke outcomes. New research proposed herein includes evaluation of dopaminergic drugs to improve patient outcomes, implementation of bedside brain mapping in the rehabilitation ward using dense array EEG, and a study of a telerehabilitation system to reduce disability after stroke. In addition to providing more time for the PI to perform patient-oriented research and to have increased availability as a mentor, the K24 grant will also support a computer scientist and a biostatistician, both of whom provide critical skills to new investigators in patient-oriented research. The University of California, Irvine has wide-ranging resources for training of clinical investigators. Chief among these is the Institute for Clinical Translational Research, supported by an NIH CTSA grant, which has numerous offerings relevant to the mission of the current proposal, including scientific cores, bioinformatics support and nursing support. The candidate has long been committed to mentoring clinical scientists in patient-oriented research and looks forward to increasing this activity in the future.
Research advances are providing new clues as to how to reduce disability after stroke. The current proposal aims to address several scientific questions in this area while training tomorrow's researchers.
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