Research in the Neuromuscular Lab, led by Stephen Kemp, PhD, Paul Cederna, MD, and Theodore Kung, MD, focuses on functional neural control of prosthetic limbs and the amelioration of pain associated with peripheral nerve injuries and their consequences, including neuroma. Unlike the nerves of the central nervous system, peripheral nerves regenerate. How that process occurs and developing novel biotechnology and surgical approaches to improve patient outcomes following peripheral nerve injuries is what we do. Our approach is highly multidisciplinary, spanning basic science to translational medicine and is funded by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health, Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, the U.S. Department of Defense Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and The Plastic Surgery Foundation. Research in the Neuromuscular Laboratory includes investigators from within and outside the U-M Medical School to integrate advances and technologies across biology, engineering, materials science, electronic systems, plastic and neurosurgery. Clinically, faculty in our lab work with patients who have suffered peripheral nerve injuries, including those who have lost a limb.
Notably, our group of investigators was the first to develop a stable biologic nerve interface between an individual and an upper extremity prosthetic limb that can improve device control. Our ultimate goal is to use these regenerative peripheral nerve interfaces, or RPNIs, to provide closed loop neural control of prostheses, including sensory feedback, and for the treatment and prevention of painful neuromas that often develop in patients following amputation. Our research and the surgical procedures we’re developing are already impacting the standard of care for patients who suffer peripheral nerve injuries.