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Lecture by Prof. Jules Dewald (Northwestern U, Chicago)

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Professor and Chair
Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences
Feinberg School of Medicine
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Phys. Med. & Rehab.
Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Adjunct Professor Biomechanical Engineering, TU Delft & University of Twente 


The BruBotics research groups have the privilege to welcome Prof. Dr. Julius Dewald back to his alma mater, the VUB, and to invite you to a lecture from Prof. Dewald with the title 'Neural Mechanisms and treatment of motor impairments following unilateral brain injury: smart use of mechatronic devices". 

The lecture will take place at the PromotieZaal in building D on the campus Etterbeek of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on Monday 29 May, at 15:00.

"Prof. Dr. Jules Dewald obtained his Master in Physical Therapy and Motor Rehabilitation at VUB in 1980. He was a researcher in the neurobiology of movement disorders and biomechanics at the famous Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago which was one of the first US centres to install a robot-assisted gait system (Lokomat). As a professor in physical therapy and biomedical engineering, J. Dewald combines the fields of neurobiology, engineering and clinical sciences."
- Prof. Eric Kerckhofs (BruBotics - RERE). 

We kindly ask you to register beforehand via following link:

Register Here



The main goal of this presentation is to discuss possible mechanisms underlying the loss of independent joint control and spasticity following a unilateral brain injury using a combination of neurophysiological and engineering techniques. I will present evidence for the loss of independent joint control in the paretic limb of individuals with stroke and hemiparetic CP during isometric multi-degree of freedom load cell measures or during movements in haptic environments. Furthermore, my colleagues and I are exploring the relationship between the loss of independent joint control and cortical reorganization using high-resolution EEG combined with peripheral robot-mediated quantitative measures of losses of independent joint control. The possibility of an increased reliance on bulbospinal pathways following the loss of brain injury induced corticospinal projections will be discussed. Additional research interests I will briefly discuss involve the study of quantitative computer driven visual and haptic feedback techniques that seek to improve the ability to produce necessary torque combinations for reaching and retrieval motions with the impaired arm using novel bio-robotic approaches. We have also started work on brain machine and on pharmacological interventions that seek to alter brain, spinal and/or brainstem neuronal excitability. Concurrently, we have been studying the impact of time of injury (pre-, peri- versus post- natal brain injuries) on motor impairments in childhood hemiparesis. Up-regulated of brainstem pathways is believed to be the source of altered spinal reflex activity (spasticity) and the loss of independent joint control may very well be an important cause for movement discoordination observed in stroke and postnatal childhood hemiparesis.


Dr. Dewald received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Physical Therapy and Motor Rehabilitation from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium in 1978 and 1980, respectively. He received a PhD in Neurophysiology and Biophysics in 1992 from Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California. From 1988-2001 Dr. Dewald worked as pre-doctoral investigator, subsequently as a post doc, clinical assistant professor and finally as a senior clinical research scientist in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now called the Shirley Ryan Abilities Lab). From 2001 to 2005 Dr. Dewald worked as tenure-track assistant professor in the departments of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences (PTHMS), Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Physical Medicine & rehabilitation (PM&R) at Northwestern University.
He became chair and associate professor in PTHMS and associate professor in BME and PM&R in 2006. Dr. Dewald became professor and chair of neural control and rehabilitation, Department of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands in 2009. In 2010, Dr. Dewald became full professor in PTHMS, BME and PM&R. Dr. Dewald is the director of the neuroimaging and motor control laboratories and his research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the department of education (NIDRR), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Heart Association (AHA). His training has been in the neurobiology of movement disorders as well as in biomechanics and basic signal analysis. He has worked for over 20 years in the area of characterizing mechanisms underlying the loss of independent joint control and spasticity following brain injury due to stroke and cerebral palsy. Furthermore, he has 16 years of experience performing high density EEG research and about 10 years of experience in rehabilitation robotic development. Dr. Dewald’s research combines the fields of neurobiology, engineering, and clinical sciences by incorporating applications of brain imaging (MRI, DTI, and high density EEG), rehabilitation robotics, and pharmacological manipulations of the motor system.

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