University of Alberta

Motor Control Laboratory

Monica preparing a SCI subject for a motor unit experiment.


The main goal of our research is to understand the neuronal mechanisms that mediate the development of spasticity and motor dysfunction after spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy. 

We examine how neurons and neuronal circuits in an injured nervous system adapt to produce the uncontrolled and unwanted muscle contractions that affect the majority of patients with spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy.  One of the neurons that we study is the motoneuron that excites the muscles of the limbs to produce movement.  Previously, we have shown that after spinal cord injury, the excessive and uncontrolled activity of motoneurons during muscle spasms is mediated, in large part, by the activation of voltage dependent persistent inward currents (PICs) in the human motoneuron.  We study why motoneurons recover PICs and self sustained activity after chronic spinal cord injury and if similar mechanisms exist in cerebral palsy. We also examine the effects of intensive motor training in adults with incomplete spinal cord injuries and in babies with stroke.

We aim to develop new pharmacological and rehabilitative therapies to both control spasticity after trauma to the central nervous system and improve residual motor movements.

Lab Address:

524 Heritage Medical Research Center

University of Alberta


Mailing Address:

5005-A Katz Group Building

University of Alberta

Edmonton, AB, Canada  T6G 2E1


Tel. 780-492-2463 (lab and office)

Tel. 780-492-2258 (research clinic)

Funding Sources:


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI)

Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NMHI)




Image result for neuroscience imageWomen and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI)