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2015 Summer

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TIRR Memorial Hermann and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Establish the Center for Wearable Exoskeletons

A gift from the Staman Ogilvie Fund for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, Rehabilitation and Research, made through the Memorial Hermann Foundation, has funded the creation of the Center for Wearable Exoskeletons at TIRR Memorial Hermann. The new laboratory is part of the NeuroRecovery Research Center, one of five research organizations that make up the TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center. The gift was made to the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School.

“Our objective is to study and develop clinical applications for wearable rehabilitation robotic systems, such as exoskeletons, to facilitate recovery and community reintegration for people with spinal cord injury, stroke and other neurological disorders that lead to problems with walking,” says Gerard Francisco, M.D., director of the NeuroRecovery Research Center, chief medical officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann and clinical professor and chair of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School. “To that end we’re doing pilot research studies that we hope will lead to federal grants that allow us to continue to advance the science and use of lower-extremity exoskeletons.”

Other researchers at the Center are Shuo-Hsiu (James) Chang, PT, Ph.D., research scientist in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School; Matthew Davis, M.D., clinical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann and clinical assistant professor at the Medical School; and José Contreras-Vidal, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston.