What's Inside

Physical Therapy

PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science

Neuroscience Program

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MEDBPL logo grayscale 70x70The Brain Plasticity Lab at the University of Minnesota has an overall mission to study the brain's ability to reorganize. Plasticity, from the root 'plaistikos' (Greek): meaning to form, refers to the brain's ability to form new connections. This change can occur in either desirable or undesirable ways, such as after an injury, during rehabilitation and learning, or secondary to a disease.
PHYSTHER Faculty Carey James 2

James R. Carey, PhD, PT, FAPTA


University of Minnesota, B.S. in Physical Therapy;
University of Minnesota, M.S. in Physical Therapy;
University of Minnesota, Ph.D. in Physical Education/Kinesiology.

Dr. Carey's research focuses on promoting recovery of motor function following stroke through up-regulation of function in surviving but dormant neural centers or through transference of function to new neural centers. Investigative and interventional techniques include motor learning (joint tracking) training, telerehabilitation, repetitive (r)TMS, and fMRI.

PHYSTHER Faculty Kimberly Teresa Jacobson

Teresa Jacobson Kimberley, PhD, PT


University of Minnesota, B.S. in Physical Therapy;
University of Minnesota, Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science.

Dr. Kimberley's overall research goal is to understand and influence the extent of plastic changes in the cortex that occur during recovery from a movement impairment such as hemiparesis secondary to stroke or focal hand dystonia. Tools used in her lab include functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), kinematic analysis, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

MEDREHABSCI Bernadette Gillick

Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT


Marquette University, B.A in Psychology;
Marquette University, B.S. in Physical Therapy;
Chicago Medical School, Advanced M.S. in Neurologic Physical Therapy
University of Minnesota, Ph.D in Rehabilitation Science/Minor:Neuroscience

Dr. Gillick's research interests are in cortical plasticity and recovery from neurologic insult in both adult and pediatric populations. Dr. Gillick is currently involved in the combined application of non-invasive brain stimulation and rehabilitation interventions in pediatric hemiparesis. 

MEDPHYSTHER Faculty Ann Van de Winckel

Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT


University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, BSc in Motor Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy
University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, MSc in Motor Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy
University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, PhD in Motor Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy
University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, Postdoctoral Assignment - Pediatric Research Unit, Neuromotor Rehabilitation Research Group

Dr. Van de Winckel's research agenda comprises understanding the neural mechanisms of neuroplasticity and recovery after stroke through the use of fMRI, structural and functional connectivity, to determine the impact of neuroplasticity and brain recovery on clinical sensorimotor outcomes. She further wishes to translate the findings from this brain research to therapeutic interventions aimed at sensorimotor recovery in stroke patients. 

MEDPHYSTHER Faculty Wynn Legon

Wynn Legon, PhD


York University, Canada, BA in Kinesiology and Health Science
York University, Canada, MS in Kinesiology and Health Science
University of Waterloo, Canada, PhD in Kinesiology (Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience)
Center for Stroke Recovery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Canada, Postdoctoral Fellowship
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr. Legon is an MnDRIVE discoveries and treatments for brain conditions scholar. His research focuses upon the use and improvement of non-surgical stimulation techniques for characterizing and modulating the properties of sensory and cognitive function in humans. It is the goal of this research to develop and improve tools for the modulation of human brain circuit activity to support functional brain mapping efforts and to advance diagnostics and therapies in neuroscience.


Recent BPL graduate, Sharyl Samargia, PhD, CCC-SLP (advisor Teresa Jacobson Kimberley, PhD, PT) is interviewed at the State Fair regarding the new Academic Health Center Driven to Discover building.

Cecilia Prudente, PhD, Neuroscience, played a key role in an illuminating study on the brain's motor control map. Read more

Teresa Kimberley, PhD, PT is currently involved in a multicenter clinical trial testing a novel combination of rehabilitation paired with brain stimulation in stroke. The study is entitled, "A randomized pilot study assessing vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitation for improved upper limb motor function after stroke (MicroTransponder's Vivistim System)." Learn more information about this study at www.vnsstroketrial.com.

Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT, received a Medical School equipment grant to support her project, "Integrated Motion Analysis and Biofeedback System for Upper Extremity Performance".

Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT will be a Fellow at the 2015 Summer institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials. This 12-day intensive training incorporates competency training on 1) the conduct of randomized control trials, and 2) the planning, design and execution of clinical trials involving behavioral interventions.

Kate Frost has received a MnDRIVE Brain Conditions Fellowship for one year. Kate is a current Rehabilitation Science student advised by Dr. Jim Carey. Learn more about this fellowship at http://www.health.umn.edu/research/mndrive-initiative-brain-conditions

Jim Carey, PhD, PT, FAPTA, received an Institute for Engineering in Medicine Seed Grant, titled, "Home-Based tDCS and Hand Tracking Rehabilitation for Chronic Stroke."

Teresa Kimberley, PhD, PT and Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT both received a prestigious TIGRR fellowship sponsored by NIH (NIDRR) and coordinated out of the University of North Carolina. Training in Grantsmanship for Rehabilitation Research (TIGRR) is a 6-month mentoring program where each fellow is paired with a senior rehabilitation research faculty member as well as a mentor at their own institution to produce and refine an NIH application. Teresa received a mid-career award and Ann received a junior faculty award.
Teresa Kimberley, PhD, PT, received a one-year grant from the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association to further her investigation into TMS and neuroimaging in laryngeal dystonia.
Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT, has been awarded an 5-year NIH K01 Mentored Scientist Award for her study titled, "Synergistic Effect of Combined tDCS/CIMT in Children with Hemiparesis."

CBS/WCCO Radio interviewed Dr. Bernadette Gillick to discuss how her pediatric research lab, only one of two in North America, is testing a ground-breaking brain stimulation therapy on children with Cerebral Palsy to increase their motor function.(The interview starts just past the midway point).

Teresa Kimberley, PhD, PT, joined NewsRadio 830 WCCO to debunk brain myths and talk about the research she's conducting on neuromodulation in stroke recovery, with support from CTSI and in partnership with the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.


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