Jeffrey Kleim is an associate professor and associate director of the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. He studies how neural plasticity supports learning in the intact brain and “relearning” in the damaged or diseased brain. His research is directed at developing therapies that optimize plasticity in order to enhance recovery after stroke and Parkinson’s Disease. The brain is a highly dynamic organ that is capable of structural and functional reorganization in response to a variety of manipulations. This neural plasticity is the mechanism by which the brain encodes experience. His laboratory examines how plasticity within rat and human motor cortex supports learning in the intact brain and “relearning” after stroke. His group uses intracortical microstimulation in rats and transcranial magnetic stimulation in humans to examine how motor training alters the functional organization of motor cortex. This work has demonstrated that rehabilitation-dependent recovery of motor function after stroke is associated with a reorganization of movement representations in rodent motor cortex. Furthermore, there are specific behavioral and neural signals that drive both recovery and plasticity. These experiments are being used to test novel therapies for enhancing motor recovery in stroke patients.
- Neural plasticity