Welcome to the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory

School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education,
University of Victoria

zehr-cycleThe main focus in the laboratory is the study of the neural control of rhythmic movement in humans with an emphasis on the role reflexes play in functional coordination of the limbs. Within this, studies of upper limb, lower limb, and interlimb responses are conducted. All projects are designed to answer both basic research questions and also to lead into applied studies with rehabilitative applications in different pathologies (e.g. stroke and spinal cord injury). The work on the upper limb essentially extends to an arm model to which many of the concepts documented previously concerning the function of reflexes during human locomotion may be applied.

The basic questions relevant to this focus have to do with understanding the nature and function of reflexes in the upper limb as well as how such reflexes may assist with coordination between the arms during repetitive movements. The work on interlimb reflexes is an extension of earlier work examining reflex function during treadmill locomotion. Projects are underway in which responses in the upper limb are observed after the stimulation of cutaneous nerves in the foot and vice versa, while subjects adopt different postures or walk on a treadmill. The basic questions answered by these projects relate to the integrative function of cutaneous reflexes during human movement. A major emerging focus is related to rehabilitation and motor recovery after neurotrauama. Experiments in this focus are conducted to apply the knowledge gained in the basic experiments towards enhancing functional recovery after spinal cord injury and stroke.