Research

Current Areas of Interest

  • Effects of limb amputation, replantation and transplantation on sensory, motor and cognitive functions.
  • Effects of congenital limb absence on sensory, motor and cognitive functions.
  • Effects of injuries to the peripheral nervous system on brain mechanisms.
  • The effects of role of brain plasticity on the recovery of function following peripheral nerve injury and repair.
  • Planning and control of reaching and grasping with the hands, tools and prosthetic devices.
  • Brain mechanisms involved in post-amputation pain.

Current Techniques

The RNL currently utilizes the following techniques during research:

  • Functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) conducted at the Brain Imaging Center (http://bic.missouri.edu/).
  • MRI-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
  • Transcranial Direct Current stimulation (tDCS). 
  • Kinematics tracking of the arms and hands.
  • Neuropsychological studies of individuals with brain or bodily injuries and healthy adults.

Currently funded projects in the RNL

Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program Reconstructive Transplantation Research Award

Program: Harnessing neuroplasticity to enhance functional recovery in allogeneic hand transplant and heterotopic hand replant recipients
Dates: 09/30/2015 – 09/15/2019
Principal Investigator: Scott H. Frey
This longitudinal project evaluates the efficacy of non-invasive brain stimulation in combination with behavioral therapies in facilitating recovery of function following hand transplantation, replantation and peripheral nerve repair. It is a collaborative with coinvestigators at the Christine Kleinert Institute and Washington University School of Medicine. 

NS083377 National Institutes of Health/ National Institutes of Research
Neurological Disease and Stroke Program: Is cortical reorganization following limb amputation functionally relevant and reversible?
Dates: 04/01/2013 – 03/31/2019
Principal Investigator: Scott H. Frey
This project uses functional and structural MRI, behavioral testing and transcranial magnetic stimulation to evaluate the functional relevance of postamputation cortical reorganization and its reversal through hand replantation.

Please see link for associated publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=NS083377

Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Medical Investigator-Initiated Research Award
Program: The Role of Cortical Plasticity in Recovery of Function Following Allogeneic Hand Transplantation
Dates: 09/30/2013 – 09/14/2018
Principal Investigator: Scott H. Frey
This longitudinal project uses fMRI, TMS, kinematic and behavioral testing to investigate mechanisms underlying recovery of sensory and motor functions in hand transplant recipients.