“As SpineX seeks to address a range of medical issues through the neuromodulation devices it is developing, these renowned scientists will help guide us with their expertise and knowledge,” said Dr. V. Reggie Edgerton, co-founder and chief scientific officer of SpineX. “Their insights will help accelerate the translation of our science into products that benefit patients with conditions ranging from incontinence to paralysis.”
The members of the SpineX Scientific Advisory Board include Dr. Sten Grillner, a neurophysiologist and distinguished professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden; Dr. Rick Lieber, chief scientific officer of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab; Dr. Scott Delp, director of the National Center for Simulation in Rehabilitation Research; Dr. Zhigang He, professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School; Dr. Chet Moritz, associate professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington; and Dr. Jacqueline Bresnahan Ph.D., adjunct professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco’s Brain and Spinal Injury Center. Their bios follow.
Dr. Grillner is a neurophysiologist and distinguished professor at the Karolinska Institute's Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology in Stockholm, where he is the director of the institute. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in the cellular bases of motor behavior. His research is focuses on understanding the cellular bases of motor behavior. He has shown how neuronal circuits in the spine help control rhythmic movements, such as those needed for locomotion. He is former secretary general of International Brain Research Organization IBRO and president of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. In 2008, he won the $1 million Kavli Prize for his work deciphering the basic mechanisms that govern the development and functioning of the networks of cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Lieber is chief scientific officer and senior vice president of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Dr. Lieber’s work is characterized by its interdisciplinary nature—an approach that is relevant to those who study biomechanics and orthopedic surgery. He has published more than 250 articles in journals. Dr. Lieber’s research focuses on design and plasticity of skeletal muscle. Currently, he is developing state-of-the-art approaches to understanding muscle contractures that result from cerebral palsy, stroke and spinal cord injury.
Dr. Delp is the James H. Clark professor of Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Orthopedic Surgery at Stanford University; director of the National Center for Simulation in Rehabilitation Research; and Director of the Mobilize Center. Dr. Delp transformed the field of biomechanics by creating highly accurate computer models of musculoskeletal structures and providing them to researchers worldwide using a software system (OpenSim) that he and his team developed. Dr. Delp invented fundamental technology for surgical navigation that is now in wide clinical use. Together with Karl Deisseroth and their students, Dr. Delp pioneered the use of optogenetics to control activity in the peripheral nervous system leading to important inventions for treating paralysis, spasticity and pain.
Dr. Zhigang is professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow with Marc Tessier-Lavigne at the University of California, San Francisco. He was named a Klingenstein Fellow in Neuroscience, a John Merck Scholar and a McKnight Scholar. Dr. Zhigang is the director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Viral Core, which aims to provide technological resources to academic investigators interested in the development and use of viral based vectors. His work has demonstrated the importance of the spinal input to descending corticospinal responses modulating pain and motor control. He has shown that a reduction the excitability of spinal cord inhibitory interneurons with a small molecule (KCC2) enhances the injured spinal cord’s responsiveness to descending inputs from the brain in a way that significantly enhances functional recovery after a spinal cord injury, which eliminates all descending control from the brain. The strategies used by Dr. Zhigang to regain function after paralysis are unique in conceptually integrates pain, motor function, and their control, and realizing the intricate interdependence and integration of supraspinal and spinal networks.
Dr. Moritz is the Cherng Jia and Elizabeth Yun Hwang Endowed professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington. He also has joint appointments to the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Dr. Moritz is developing treatments for paralysis using brain-computer interfaces and neurotechnology. Motor paralysis from stroke or spinal cord injury can be severe and long-lasting, despite damage to a relatively small area of the nervous system. He is working to develop neuroprosthetic devices capable of bypassing these damaged areas and restoring volitional control of movement to paralyzed limbs. He has demonstrated that this approach is feasible by using activity recorded from motor cortex to directly control electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles. In addition to replacing lost motor function, he is attempting to guide and promote the regeneration of damaged neural tissue. Targeted electrical microstimulation can be used to increase the strength of synaptic connections among neurons via mechanisms of Hebbian plasticity. Dr. Moritz is investigating whether this synchronous stimulation, applied across an injury site, can guide neurons to make connections with appropriate targets. He is also testing novel methods for the physical therapy and rehabilitation of movement disorders.
Dr. Bresnahan is an adjunct professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco’s Brain and Spinal Injury Center. Her research focuses on understanding the biological underpinnings of neurotrauma, particularly spinal cord injury, with the goal of improving recovery for individuals who suffer damage to the nervous system. Her laboratory has developed a number of models to study cellular systems and behavioral changes that occur as a consequence of injury. Her major research interests are cell death mechanisms, including excitotoxicity; regeneration and repair (especially of oligodendrocytes—the glial cells that produce myelin); neuroprotection; transplantation; and mechanisms of functional recovery after cervical spinal cord injury in both rodent and primate models.
SpineX is a Los Angeles, Calif.-based developer of non-invasive medical devices to improve the quality of lives for patients to address a broad range of medical conditions through the neuromodulation of the spinal cord to restore function lost to injury or disease.