Vivian Mushahwar


Vivian Mushahwar (Alberta, Canada)

Dr. Vivian K. Mushahwar received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, in 1991, and the Ph.D. degree in bioengineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in 1996. She received postdoctoral training at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta. Her research interests include identification of spinal cord systems involved in locomotion, development of spinal-cord-based neuroprostheses, incorporation of motor control concepts in functional electrical stimulation applications, and development of systems for alleviating secondary side effects of immobility such as pressure ulcers.
Dr. Mushahwar is the Leader of the Project SMART (Sensory Motor Adaptive Rehabilitation Technology) interdisciplinary team and the Director of the Canada Foundation for Innovation Centre for Neural Interfaces and Rehabilitation Neuroscience. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Women in Neural Engineering Award, the Alberta Medical Association Medal of Honor, the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scholar and Senior Scholar Awards and the Department of Medicine Translational Research Award.  She was named Woman of Vision by the Canada Global TV Network.

Engaging Spinal Circuitry for Restoring Mobility after Spinal Cord Injury using Innovative Electrical Stimulation Approaches
After spinal cord injury, neural networks facilitating the communication between the brain and peripheral nerves are partially or completely disrupted, but those networks are largely retained below the level of injury.  Capitalizing on these networks by enhancing their connectively and activating them through near-normal electrical stimulation and rehabilitation paradigms may prove to be an effective means for restoring mobility after spinal cord injury.  In this talk, I will describe two electrical stimulation-based approaches that specifically target the activation of sensorimotor systems in the spinal cord.  These approaches appear to be more effective than other interventions in improving over-ground walking after spinal cord injury.  The exciting approaches may also be effective in substantially improving mobility after other neural injuries or diseases that result in the disruption of the ability to stand and walk.

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