Advances in basic sciences related to cognition, motor control, and neuroplasticity offer exciting opportunities for treatment advances in neurorehabilitation. Maturation of promising discoveries to validated treatments faces the translational research challenges familiar to all biomedical domains, while also encountering some rehabilitation-specific obstacles. Research collaborators from Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and Behavioral Neurology and the Center for Functional Neuroimaging at the University of Pennsylvania join forces to offer a post-doctoral research training program in Translational Neurorehabilitation Research, built on the platform of more than 10 years of multidisciplinary collaboration. The program will train 3-4 postdoctoral fellows at a time, recruitd from basic science and clinical disciplines, using a mixture of didactic and hands-on training methods. Program faculty collectively have expertise in 5 key themes that are critical to maturation of treatments from initial concept to validated treatment, including: Theories of normal and abnormal processing;Impairment assessment;Naturalistic assessment;Modulation of neuronal plasticity and learning mechanisms;and Theory-driven treatment trials, and are experienced in a range of cutting edge research tools, including structural and functional neuroimaging, eye- and motion-tracking, computational modeling, virtual reality, psychopharmacology, transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. Moreover, several individual faculty and collaborative groups have demonstrated expertise in advancing assessments and treatments toward clinical implementation. Thus, trainees have the ability to learn specific tools and perspectives that are applicable to neurorehabilitation research, while benefiting from mentored exposure to the process of translating scientific advances into clinically useful assessments and treatments.
Central nervous system injuries and diseases frequently lead to persistent cognitive and movement impairments that limit independence, functional abilities, and quality of life. Advances in a number of scientific domains offer new tools to improve patient assessment and rehabilitation interventions. The proposed training program, led by a group of long-standing collaborators at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Neurology, will prepare trainees to conduct translational neurorehabilitation research that will help turn these scientific advances into feasible assessment and treatment tools that can reduce the disabling effects of neurologic disease.