We propose a medical rehabilitation research infrastructure program called the National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation (NC NM4R) that will be a national resource for researchers using the exciting tools of NM4R to develop the next generation of rehabilitation interventions and to understand and study neuroplastic nervous system changes associated with rehabilitation. The center builds on outstanding expertise in non-invasive brain stimulation (Dr. Mark George), rehabilitation (Drs. Steve Kautz and Rick Segal), operant conditioning of brain and spinal networks (Drs. Aiko Thompson and Jon Wolpaw), and animal models of NM4R (Dr. DeAnna Adkins). Exceptional resources already in place at MUSC will support the center, including a number of directly relevant core resources supporting neurorehabilitation research associated with an NIH/NIGMS Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Stroke Recovery and the specially designed equipment that enabled MUSC (under Dr. George) to become the first institution in the world to image TMS in the scanner with fMRI. A rich portfolio of NM4R research at MUSC offers robust opportunities for collaboration for external investigators. The overarching goal is to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field of NM4R - the mechanisms and use of brain stimulation and operant conditioning of brain and spinal cord networks integrated with rehabilitation principles. We seek to fulfill that goal through translational activities and programming.
Aim 1. Train researchers in NM4R through workshops, advanced hands-on training and consultations with MUSC laboratories and mentorship in research skills and grantsmanship.
Aim 2. Provide scientific programming in NM4R through webinars, national/international conference sessions, and specialized NM4R conferences. All material possible will be archived on our website along with technical briefs and other content.
Aim 3. Develop a research community in NM4R by being an active catalyst to coalesce an interactive community that shares ideas, collaborates extensively and contributes to setting future goals for the field.
Aim 4. Advance the field of NM4R by (a) sponsoring a focused technical development program that will refine material for promulgation in the workshops and other forums and continue to develop and advance NM4R methods, particularly those needed in critical translational studies, and (b) offering peer-reviewed pilot projects utilizing human and/or animal models. Importantly, NM4R is a teachable expertise - one that MUSC has a proven history of exporting to the world and will build upon in the National Center. We will use extensive evaluation and feedback to best assure the iterative and relevant evolution of the NC NM4R.

Public Health Relevance

Methods to modify how the brain and spinal cord work after injury and disease are emerging as cutting-edge treatments for increasing the flexibility of underlying neural circuitry, but the field of rehabilitation lags behind other fields in bringing tese innovative technologies to clinical practice. Thus, we propose forming a National Center to catalyze research and train more researchers to effectively advance the technology. As a result, there is great potential to minimize functional disability, improve quality of life and reduce costy long-term care expenditures for those with stroke, spinal cord injury and other neurological insults.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Resource-Related Research Multi-Component Projects and Centers (P2C)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-T (40))
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Nitkin, Ralph M
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Medical University of South Carolina
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Schools of Allied Health Profes
United States
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Chhatbar, Pratik Y; Kautz, Steven A; Takacs, Istvan et al. (2018) Evidence of transcranial direct current stimulation-generated electric fields at subthalamic level in human brain in vivo. Brain Stimul 11:727-733
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Alawieh, Ali; Zhao, Jing; Feng, Wuwei (2018) Factors affecting post-stroke motor recovery: Implications on neurotherapy after brain injury. Behav Brain Res 340:94-101
Summers, Philipp M; Hanlon, Colleen A (2017) BrainRuler-a free, open-access tool for calculating scalp to cortex distance. Brain Stimul 10:1009-1010
Chhatbar, Pratik Y; George, Mark S; Kautz, Steven A et al. (2017) Quantitative reassessment of safety limits of tDCS for two animal studies. Brain Stimul 10:1011-1012

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