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Institut for Neurovidenskab og Farmakologi, Motor ControlBlegdamsvej 32200 København N
33.3.Telefon: +45 UkendtTelefon (Sekretariat): +45 353-27314E-mail:
My research career started in 1998 by using large-scale computational models of spinal neuronal networks at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA, with Prof. David Bashor. Then I have learned “wet-lab work” at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada while working on my Ph.D. degree (2000-2006). This work was with Prof. Dave McCrea in the field of spinal cord neurophysiology and I have studied the functional organization of sensory-motor systems in the mammalian nervous system in vivo. During my first postdoctoral training period in 2005-2006 I worked with Prof. Elzbieta Jankowska in Gothenburg, Sweden to study the control of spinal neuronal networks by the brain, for example by the motor cortex. Then in 2007 I have come to the University of Copenhagen, Denmark for my second postdoctoral training with Profs. Hans Hultborn and Jens Nielsen. My current mentors are highly dedicated to bridge basic science research with human studies and I have also started to learn how to study the human sensory-motor systems. My long term goal is to continue both basic science as well as human studies in relation to sensory-motor integration and rehabilitation of motor function.
The central nervous system exerts voluntary as well as reflexive control to coordinate motor activity on the left and right sides of our body. My goal is to understand how bilateral coordination is achieved by voluntary and reflexive components. The most direct communication between the two sides of the body is via commissural neurons (CN) located in the spinal cord. Their various types transmit sensory input not only across the same segmental level from one side to the other but also throughout several segments rostro-caudally and they also relay supraspinal input from motor centres of the brain.
There are two aims of my research: 1) to investigate motor-task related activity of lumbar CNs in animal models and 2) to investigate the functional organization of commissural networks in humans. The main hypothesis is that CNs are used the same way in the reflexive as in the voluntary components of bilateral coordination.
Understanding the control of CNs will open the way for “substituting” one control system by another after lesions- for example after stroke - compromising descending control from the brain. This will improve strategies for re-training coordination between the left and right sides of the body which is one major step in recovering function in many types of movement disorders.
In additon, I am interested in characterizing the activity of spinal interneurones during motor activity and how they integrate sensory input with motor output. The rationale for these studies is that we have to understand the functioning of spinal neuronal circuits before we can fully rehabilitate their function after spinal cord injury. By using a combination of techniques, such as de-compression surgery, pharmacological manipulations, physical training (and hopefully using stem-cells in the future) we can rehabilitate fairly well some of the spinal cord injured population. However, these combination startegies can all be improved if we now better how the spinal neuronal circuits are built in the first place and then we may achieve an easier and faster rehabilitation in100% of this patient population.
Functional organization of spinal neuronal networks
Supraspinal control of neuronal circuits used for motor programs
Rehabilitation of motor function