This proposal describes our """"""""Integrated Engineering and Rehabilitation Training"""""""" program that produces biomedical Ph.D. graduates who combine an unquestioned expertise in neural stimulation and general rehabilitation engineering with a genuine appreciation of the practice and challenges of clinical rehabilitation. This program is centered in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, but also includes the strong participation of several of our local medical centers. Our program is focused exclusively on predoctoral training and we have trained ~25 students since 1999. We are requesting funding for a total of 8 training positions per year for five years, which would maintain our current level of support. Trainees are typically funded by the program for two years each, so we expect to train a total of 20 BME Ph.D. students over the proposed five years. The specific objectives of our training program are: (1) Prepare our trainees for productive careers in rehabilitation and neural engineering;(2) Provide a rigorous engineering education that forms the basis for future innovation;(3) Provide specific expertise in the development and application of neural stimulation for overcoming neurological disorders;(4) Provide specific expertise in modeling and simulation (musculoskeletal and/or neural);(5) Provide an extensive, hands-on clinical experience that prepares each trainee for a translational career;and (6) Provide real-world professional development training to enhance post-graduation success.
Disability due to neurological disorders is a major medical challenge that can often mitigated by application of electrical stimulation to specific neural structures. Research and commercial applications related to neural stimulation are growing almost exponentially, leading to a real need for highly qualified, Ph.D.-level engineers who have the technical and clinical backgrounds provided by this program.
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