Lab Members

MSc Students

Hema Velanki
MSc student, Neuroscience
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
(Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India)
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in September 2015

The overall goal of my project is to develop an intervention that would improve the rate of tissue healing after the development of a pressure ulcer. Deep pressure ulcers affect a wide sector of the patient population including the elderly, those with neural injuries or diseases such as stroke or spinal cord injury, bone and joint diseases, cardiac or renal failure, coma, or even those undergoing long surgical procedures.  Pressure ulcers can originate at the surface of the skin and progress inwards if unattended, or at deep bone-muscle interfaces and progress outwards. To accomplish our goal, I will determine whether intermittent electrical stimulation can be used as a treatment modality to accelerate healing progress and understand the underlying mechanisms of action. Early detection and treatment can prevent deterioration of the soft tissue around the bony prominences and establish a better quality of life.

PhD Students

Ashley Dalrymple
PhD student, Neuroscience
Project: Restoration of Walking after Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
BSc, Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Option, 2013
(University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta)
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in September 2013
The overall goal of my work is to develop an intervention to improve mobility after an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). The most common type of SCI is incomplete, where some weak ability to move remains, and the functional deficits vary from person-to-person. Restoring walking is a top priority for people with paraplegia and is a central research and clinical goal. Intraspinal microstimulation (ISMS) is a novel approach developed in our lab for restoring walking after complete paralysis due to SCI. This method involves the implantation of fine, hair-like microwires into a small region of the spinal cord that houses connections to leg muscles. Low levels of electrical current are passed through these wires to activate these areas to produce functional leg movements. I will develop strategies to control walking after an incomplete SCI. Specifically, I will develop control strategies for ISMS to dynamically adapt to each individual’s injury and augment remaining function. By using ISMS to restore walking daily, it is probable that after removing the stimulation, voluntary control, coordination, and balance will improve. Over time, the subject may be less reliant on the assistance provided by ISMS to walk. My work will not only restore lost function due to injury, but also assist the spinal cord in forming new effective connections. Adaptive control strategies will allow for patient-specific rehabilitation, which is necessary as no two SCIs are alike. 

Amirali Toossi
PhD Candidate, Neuroscience
Project: Preparation of Intraspinal Microstimulation (ISMS) Technique for Clinical Testing
BSc, Electrical Engineering, 2010
(K.N.Toosi University of Tech., Tehran, Iran)
MSc, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2012
(University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in October 2012

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop an intervention that would restore standing and walking for people with spinal cord injury. Over the years our lab has developed a neural interface that delivers electrical pulses to the spinal cord of the animals and has allowed them to stand and walk again after spinal cord injury. Past research results suggest that this technique maybe viable for people with paraplegia as well. In order to be able to test this intervention in people there are still some questions that need to be addressed which are the specific focus of my project: 1-Where exactly should the implant be placed in humans? 2- Obtaining direct information about the target region of the implant in humans by conducting intra-operative experiments in two human volunteers. 3- Developing a suitable implant for humans. The results of these projects will be extremely valuable to developing the first version of an implant suitable for testing in humans.

Rui Zhou
PhD Candidate, Neuroscience
BSc, Biomedical Engineering, 2006
(Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, China)
MSc, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2008
(Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of   New Brunswick, Canada)
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in September 2010

The overall goal of my project is to develop rehabilitation interventions for improving walking after spinal cord injury. Restoring walking has been one of the most frequently expressed desires after paralyzing injuries or diseases. To recoverwalking after spinal cord injury (SCI), conventional rehabilitation interventions primarily focus on leg training for restoring ambulation using approaches such as body weight supported treadmill locomotor training. However, walking involves more than just leg movement; the arms are an important part of walking. A few research groups have suggested the relevance of the arms in the rehabilitation of locomotion after SCI, but active arm involvement in the rehabilitation of walking has not been investigated. The first goal of my project is to investigate the role of the arms in the rehabilitation of over-ground walking after incomplete SCI (iSCI). The second goal is to understand the connectivity between the arm (cervical) and leg (lumbar) control regions in the spinal cord and the changes that occur in the strength and directionality of interlimb coupling after iSCI. My third goal is to investigate how interlimb coupling modulates corticospinal excitability in the presence and absence of rhythmic arm movements in people with iSCI. This rehabilitation intervention can also be used to improve walking capacity in people with other neural injuries or diseases such as stroke, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, because this intervention does not require extensive effort from physiotherapists (unlike conventional interventions), it can be readily translated to the clinic where more people with neural injuries or diseases can be treated than currently is the case, without increasing the number of clinical staff. It has the potential to improve the quality of care while substantially reducing the cost of health care in rehabilitation.


Post-doctral Fellows

Leandro Solis
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers

PhD, Rehabilitation Science
(University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta).
MSc, Biomedical Engineering
(University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta).
BSc, Industrial and Systems Engineering
(Universidad de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)  
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in January 2004

The goal of this research is the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers in people at risk. This includes anyone who has diminished or compromised mobility like the elderly, people with spinal cord injury, or those admitted to hospitals across the continuum of care. Our research has led to the development of a system that is effective at preventing the development of pressure ulcers originating at the deep bone-muscle interface. This system is called 'Smart-e-Pants' and acts by restoring the natural and subconscious muscle contractions performed by able bodied individuals when they fidget. The different variations of the system would allow it to be used by anyone at risk either in the clinic or at home without interfering with their daily life activities or care.

businesswoman, face, female, girl, portrait, professional, suit, woman, young iconEinat (Natalie) Ravid
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis Using Intermittent Electrical Stimulation 
PhD, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
(University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta).
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in September 2013

The research project explores the possibility and feasibility of using intermittent electrical stimulation to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the calf and can be life threatening if it travels in the blood steam and reaches the lungs. The leading risk factors for DVT include hospitalization, surgery, immobility and pregnancy and postpartum and old age. During walking the calf muscles compress the deep veins of the leg and propel the blood in the veins toward the heart, thus minimizing the risk of a blood clot formation.  Our aim is to activate the calf muscles with electrical stimulation in a manner that is similar to the natural muscle activation during walking. The muscles are contracted for a few seconds (2-5 seconds) every 3-5 minutes. Testing on able body individuals show that this pattern of stimulation results in consistent increase of blood velocity in the vein during contraction without muscle fatigue.    These promising results will soon be tested on stroke survivors in the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, to assess feasibility and comfort with the intervention.

Support Staff:

Dirk Everaert
Research Associate, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Multiple Projects
Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2006
(Dick Stein Lab, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada)
Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2002-2004
(Jane Macpherson Lab, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, USA)
PhD in Motor Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy
(University of Leuven, Belgium)
MMSc, Orthopedic Physical Therapy
(Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
BSc in Physical Therapy
(University of Leuven, Belgium)  
Joined Mushahwar laboratory in November 2011

As a research associate I'm involved in several ongoing projects in the lab. I'm involved in the projects that research intraspinal microstimulation, a technique to restore walking after spinal cord injury, in animal models. I also have a role in the design, development and testing of the methods and apparatus that will be used for the first human application of intraspinal micrsostimulation. More recently, I became involved in the DVT (Deep Venous Trombosis) prevention project, for which I perform the ultrasound scans. My responsibilities include animal surgery, training and care, assembly of micro-electrode arrays, design and development new methods for ISMS, supervision of students during experiments, overseeing analysis of results, maintaining animal protocols and SOPs, and providing expertise on the data collection hardware and software (Cerebus neural recording system, Vicon 3D motion analysis, ultrasound imaging, etc), statistical analysis, research methodology, human and animal anatomy, and spine biomechanics.

face, male, man, portrait iconMichel Gauthier
Research Associate
Multiple Projects

face, male, man, portrait iconRod Gramlich
Laboratory Technologist
Multiple Projects

face, male, man, portrait iconNeil Tyreman
Laboratory Technologist
Multiple Projects


Post-doctoral fellows:

Dr. Natalie (Einat) Ravid (2013-2016)

Dr. Ana Lucas-Osma (2011-2014)

Dr. Nitin Sharma (2010-2012)

Dr. Jeremy Bamford (2010)

Dr. Jonathan Norton (2003-2005)

PhD students:

Bethany Kondiles (Visiting Graduate Student, 2016)

Kevin Mazurek (Visiting Graduate Student, 2013)

Leandro Solis (2013)

Brad Holinski (2012)

Jacob Vogelstein (Visiting Graduate Student, 2006)

Pavel Musienko (Visiting Graduate Student, 2004)

Dorothy Barthelemy (Visiting Graduate Student, 2003)

Jeremy Bamford (2009)

Sherif ElBasiouny (2007)

Lisa Guevremont (2007)

Sean Snow (Visiting Graduate Student, 2001-2004)

MSc students:

Daniel Hallihan (2013)

Alisa Ahmetovic (2012)

Imad Khaled (2012)

Laura Alvarado (2012)

Breanne Christian (2011)

Lisa Lovse (2010)

Selina Gyawali (2009)

Niek Poppe (Visiting Graduate Student, 2008)

Andrew Ganton (2007)

Roger Calixto (2007)

Leandro Solis (2007)

Jason Dyck (2006)

Rajiv Saigal (Visiting Graduate Student, 2002)

Undergraduate students:

Nicholas Anstey (2016)

Brianne McDonald (2015)

Berton Quon (2015)

Bennett Csorba (2015)

Vincent Tan (2015)

Oriana Shaw (2014-2015)

Ana Catuneanu (2013-2014)

Brandon Lieu (2013)

Seoyoung Kim (2012-2013)

Kian Parseyan (2010-2013)

Lisa Kawasaki (2012)

Yahya Kinyogo (2012)

Elizabeth Twist (2012)

Yang Hu (2011-2012)

Alethe Kabore (2010-2012)

Jennifer Assh (2011)

Yonghui (Matthew) Wu (2011)

Ben Kostiuk (2010)

Robert Ogilvie (2010-2011)

Cara Anne Curtis (2009-2011)

Jonn Kmech (2010)

Leonora Ogbeide (2010)

Isaak Kornelsen (2009)

John Hoang (2007)

Daniel Moroz (2007)

Steven McGie (2006)

Bernice Lau (2006)

Noopur Gupta Parmar (2005)

Jason Dyck (2006)

Andrew Ganton (2004)

Benjamin Poon (2003)

Dawn Feddersen (2003)

Sabrina Rashid (2003)

Keith Fenrich (2003)

Jan Kowalczewski (2003)

Costantino Renzi (2002-2005)

Sameer Chhibber (2002)



MSc Students
Hema Velanki

PhD Students
Ashley Dalrymple
Amirali Toossi
Rui Zhou

Post-Docoral Fellows
Leandro Solis
Natalie Ravid

Support Staff
Dirk Everaert
Michel Gauthier
Rod Gramlich
Neil Tyreman

Project SMART | Department of Medicine | Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute