Who We Are
The NPNL at USC is an interdisciplinary lab situated between the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, the Keck School of Medicine Department of Neurology, and the Neuroscience Graduate Program and affiliated with the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute and the USC Brain and Creativity Institute. We are scientists and researchers with varied backgrounds across neuroscience, cognitive science, engineering, computer science, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of serious long-term adult disability around the world. Despite intensive physical and occupational therapy, many stroke survivors are unable to independently care for themselves due to persistent motor, cognitive and communicative difficulties. Large variations in lesion damage and individual characteristics (such as age, gender, physical fitness and genetic makeup) make stroke rehabilitation outcomes difficult to predict. Novel methods that predict and maximize each individual’s potential for recovery after stroke are thus desperately needed.
Under the direction of Dr. Sook-Lei Liew, the goals of the Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory are:
- to characterize and predict neural plasticity changes in healthy individuals and in individuals after stroke throughout the process of learning or recovery;
- to enhance neural plasticity or neural recovery in individuals using noninvasive brain stimulation, brain-computer interfaces, virtual reality, behavioral measures and novel learning paradigms; and
- to personalize the use of plasticity-inducing paradigms in order to capitalize on each individual’s unique learning or recovery potential.
These goals support the overall mission of the laboratory, which is to enhance neural plasticity in a wide population of individuals in order to improve their quality of life and engagement in meaningful activities.