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Physical Therapy

PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science

Neuroscience Program


Program in Physical Therapy
University of Minnesota
377 Children's Rehab Center
Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

The 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.


Dr. James 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 Carey James 2

Dr. Teresa 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).

PHYSTHER Faculty Kimberly Teresa Jacobson

Dr. Bernadette 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 application of non-invasive brain stimulation in Pediatric Hemiparesis.


Dr. Ann 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, EEG, to determine the impact of neuroplasticity and brain recovery on clinical sensorimotor outcomes. She futher wishes to translate the findings from this brain research to therapeutic interventions aimed at sensorimotor recovery in stroke patients.

BPL Ann Van de Winckel

Dr. Wynn Legon's past research examined non-surgical strategies for stroke rehabilitation and later studies the use of alternate strategies for non-surgical modulation of the brain including electrical and magnetic stimulation. Currently, as a MnDRIVE scholar at the U, Dr. Legon's laboratory studies focused ultrasound as a non-invasive neuromodulatory platform for use with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and to progress ultrasound as a feasible alternative to existing neuromodulatory technologies for both experimental and clinical use.

MEDPHYSTHER Faculty Wynn Legon


MEDBPL Rebekah Schmidt Poster Award 2014

Rebekah Schmidt was awarded "Best Poster - 3rd Place" at the 2nd Annual MN Neuromodulation Symposium for her poster titled "Effect of rTMS and Sensorimotor Retraining in Focal Dystonia". Pictured with her are the symposium chair, Dr. Bin He and her adviser, Dr. Teresa Kimberley.

Dr. Bernadette Gillick has been selected as a Fall 2013 UMN CTSI KL2 Scholar. This Scholar award granted over $350,000 in total funding from September 2013-2016 for Dr. Gillick's research titled, "Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Pediatric Hemiparesis".

Congratulations to faculty member Jim Carey, PhD who is an awardee of the CTSI 2013 Community Collaborative Pilot Research Grant. The CTSI Office of Community Engagement for Health and Center for Health and Equity granted nearly $300,000 in total funding to four outstanding projects that bring together community and University collaborators to work toward improving the health of Minnesotans. Dr. Carey will be working with Lars Oddsson, PhD from the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute on the project titled "Real vs. Sham rTMS Combined with Conventional Therapy in Acute Stroke."

The Brain Plasticity Lab (BPL) was recently featured in the University of Minnesota Medical Bulletin. Directors Dr. Jim Carey, Dr. Teresa Kimberley, and Dr. Bernadette Gillick discuss their research. Click HERE for the online version of the Medical Bulletin.

CBS/WCCO Radio interviewed Dr. Bernadette Gillick to discuss how her 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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