Focus Areas

Cognitive neuroscience and cognitive rehabilitation: Research on language, attention, planning, action and problem solving spans a spectrum from basic cognitive neuroscience to applied clinical research. This research seeks to understand how stroke, brain trauma, and other diseases of the central nervous system disrupt mental processes, and to develop new and innovative treatment approaches to these problems.

Movement science and mobility rehabilitation: Research in this area seeks to understand how movements are planned and executed in healthy individuals and how they are impaired by injury or disease, in order to help restore useful movement in individuals with paralysis, amputation, and spasticity.

Outcomes research: Rehabilitation outcomes research seeks to measure how well individuals with disabilities function after completing the rehabilitation process. It seeks to ensure that tools used to measure functional progress are meaningful to patients, caregivers, and clinicians, and that delivered treatments are effective.

 

Research Laboratories

  • TBI Rehabilitation Research Laboratory (Director: John Whyte):
    Research in our laboratory focuses on attention and executive function impairments as well as disorders of consciousness that result from traumatic brain injury and other forms of diffuse brain damage. Our work attempts to understand the relationship between specific cognitive impairments and complex real-world functioning, to improve measurement tools ranging from imaging markers to naturalistic functional assessments, and to develop and test novel treatments for these deficits, with an emphasis on pharmacologic treatments.
  • Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (Director: Junghoon Kim):
    The current research of our lab focuses on neurorehabilitation issues in traumatic brain injury (TBI). State-of-the-art neuropsychological and neuroimaging methods are used in order to 1) understand the nature and extent of cognitive deficits resulting from TBI, 2) identify predictors of natural recovery from TBI, and 3) reveal the mechanisms of pharmacological and cognitive interventions for survivors of TBI.
  • Cognition and Action Laboratory (Director: Laurel Buxbaum):
    Work in this lab is focused on understanding how context and action planning affect conceptual object processing, how single- and multiple-object processing may trigger structure-based and functional actions, and how these “top down” and “bottom up” mechanisms interface with representations of the body and space in the production and recognition of action.
  • Language and Aphasia Laboratory (Director: Myrna Schwartz):
    Our lab conducts behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging studies of normal and aphasic language, with particular emphasis on spoken language production. We aspire to have our work bridge theoretical and research perspectives and to this end have developed assessment and measurement tools with clinical utility, treatment software for aphasia, and an infrastructure for large-scale patient research.
  • Language and Learning Laboratory (Director: Erica Middleton):
    Our research is dedicated to the study of language production in healthy adults as well as in acquired language impairment (i.e., aphasia). A main focus of our work is the design of efficacious treatments of aphasia grounded in a theoretical understanding of fundamental mechanisms of language use, learning, and language change.
  • Neuroplasticity and Motor Behavior Laboratory (Director: Shailesh Kantak):
    The main goal of the Neuroplasticity and Motor Behavior Laboratory is to optimize motor recovery and learning in patients with neurological disorders (e.g. stroke, cerebral palsy) through a better understanding of neural plasticity that underlies motor impairments, recovery and rehabilitation strategies.
  • Perceptual-Motor Control Laboratory (Director: Steven Jax):
    Our lab investigates a range of issues related to how cognitive and perceptual processes affect movement production. Our research also strives to be clinically applicable by examining how and why perceptual-motor functions are disrupted following stroke, and how perceptual-motor therapy might be improved through an understanding of the basic mechanisms of perceptual-motor functioning.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Research Laboratory (Director: Tessa Hart):
    This lab studies the long-term effects of TBI and tests the effects of new treatments to promote recovery, with special interest in executive function, attention, emotional regulation, and psychosocial sequelae of brain injury.
  • Motor Learning Laboratory (Director: Erin Vasudevan):
    Our research focuses on understanding how people learn new walking patterns, and how to optimize this learning in order to improve gait rehabilitation strategies. We use motion tracking, electromyography, and other neurophysiological tools to study motor learning in healthy children and adults, and in individuals who have neurological damage (e.g. stroke, cerebral palsy).

 

Affiliated Programs

MossRehab Aphasia Center (Clinical Director: Ruth Fink; Research Director: Myrna Schwartz)

Patient Research Registry (Coordinator: Adelyn Brecher; Director: Myrna Schwartz)

Right Hemisphere Stroke Center (Director: Laurel Buxbaum)

 

NCRRN

The Neuro-Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Network (NCRRN) was a collaborative effort of investigators at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NCMRR/NICHD) from 2001 to 2012. Many of the resources developed and disseminated by the NCRRN have been relocated here.