Brain Plasticity Lab



The Brain Plasticity Lab has an overall mission to study the brain's ability to reorganize.

Plasticity, from the root "plaistikos" (Greek): meaning to form, refers to the brain's ability to form new connections. This change can occur in either desirable or undesirable ways, such as after an injury, during rehabilitation and learning, or secondary to a disease.

Lab Location

306 Children's Rehabilitation Center
426 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Maps and Directions

Current studies from the Brain Plasticity Lab

Current studies from the Brain Plasticity Lab

The Brain Plasticity Lab is now seeking research study participants

Evaluation of a new motor scale that focuses on awareness of movements
The focus of this study is to evaluate the recovery of function and quality of movement of the weaker arm and hand after stroke
Principal Investigator: Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT

 Driven to Discover Project at the State Fair -- Proprioception in Seniors

The aims of this study are to: establish an association between indices of sympathetic activity (blood pressure and heart rate) and low-intensity exercise in seniors, investigate whether body awareness (proprioception, which relates to awareness of the position and movements of one’s body) of the arm and hand is correlated with risk of falling, and investigate proprioception and sensorimotor function in senior and compare these data with data from our current studies in people with stroke.
Principal Investigator: Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT

Therapy to Improve Body Awareness after Stroke
Functional Connectivity in Relation to Proprioception and Sensorimotor Recovery in Stroke Patients (Feasibility Study)
Principal Investigator: Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT

Correlational Analysis and Functional Connectivity between Brain Lesions and Sensorimotor Impairments in Stroke
Principal Investigator: Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT

Randomized pilot study assessing vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitation for improved upper limb motor function after stroke (MicroTransponder's Vivistim System)
Principal Investigator: Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, MSc, PT
FOX News Article

Synergistic Effect of Combined tDCS/CIMT in Children with Hemiparesis
Principal Investigator: Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT


Congratulations to Rebekah and Sam!

Congratulations to Rebekah and Sam!

Rehab Science is proud to announce Rebekah Summers has been awarded the Graduate School's Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) for 2017-2018. The DDF gives PhD candidates opportunity to devote full-time effort to finalizing and writing the dissertation during the fellow year. Outstanding doctoral candidates from across the University were nominated. 100 fellowships were awarded (37% award rate).  Rebekah is on track to complete the combined Physical Therapy/Rehab Science DPT/PhD degree. She will be the first student to do so. Rebekah is advised by Dr. Teresa Kimberley. We congratulate both on this well deserved award.

Sam Nemanich is a recipient of the MnDRIVE Postdoctoral Career Development Award. This award supplements travel, registration, etc for events which further the professional development of postdocs at the University of Minnesota. Sam is a postdoc in the Gillick Pediatric Research Lab.




Dr. Ann Van de Winckel has been awarded a grant from the OVPR Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship (GIA). The study is entitled: "Correlational Analysis and Functional Connectivity between Brain Lesions and Sensorimotor Impairments in Stroke".

Dr. Teresa Kimberley has been awarded a grant from MicroTranponder to participate in a multicenter clinical trial testing a novel combination of upper limb rehabilitation paired with vagal nerve stimulation in stroke.

Dr. Ann Van de Winckel received a Medical School equipment grant to support her project, "Integrated Motion Analysis and Biofeedback System for Upper Extremity Performance".

Dr. Wynn Legon received a grant from the University of Minnesota Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Fund. This fund was designed to spur pioneering brain research at the University.

Dr. Bernadette Gillick was recently awarded the Foundation for Physical Therapy Magistro Family Foundation Research Grant for her research in pediatric hemiparesis.

Dr. Teresa Kimberley has received an R21 from the National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders from the NIH. The study is entitled, "The pathophysiology in spasmodic dysphonia: a TMS study".

Dr. Bernadette Gillick has received a K01 five-year Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) for the research titled, "Synergistic Effect of Combined tDCS/CIMT in Children with Hemiparesis".

Dr. Bernadette Gillick has received a two-year research grant from the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation for the research titled, "Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Pediatric Hemiparesis".

Dr. Bernadette Gillick has received a two-year research grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute-Biostatistical Design and Analysis Center for the research titled, "Longitudinal Outsomes in Pediatric rTMS and CIT".

Dr. Teresa Kimberley has received a grant from the Dystonia Coalition to study the effects of rTMS combined with rehabilitation in focal hand dystonia.

Dr. James Carey and Dr. Teresa Kimberley are working on a grant from the U of M CTSI (Community Collaborative Pilot Research Grant) to investigate TMS in acute stroke at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. Kimberley and Dr. Carey, in combination with Dr. Mo Chen (postdoc) and Kate Frost, MS, PhD student, are working on a grant from the U of M's Institute for Engineering in Medicine to explore the effects of paired associative stimulation (i.e., TMS + peripheral nerve stimulation) in chronic stroke.

Dr. Carey is working as a co-investigator on a grant from the National Science Foundation (Bin He, principal investigator; Nessa Johnson, PhD student) exploring rTMS combined with Brain Computer Interface in chronic stroke. "A Brain Centered Neuroengineering Approach for Motor Recovery after Stroke: Combined rTMS and BCI Training."




Van de Winckel A, Tseng Y.T., Chantigian D, Lorant K, Zarandi Z, Buchanan J, Konczak J, Zeffiro T, Olson-Kellogg B, Larson M, Keller-Ross M. Mapping Age-Related Changes in Wrist Proprioception.Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2017, 98(10):e80-e81

De Patre D, Van de Winckel A*, Panté F, Rizzello C, Zernitz M, Mansour M, Zordan L, Zeffiro T, O’Connor EE, Bisson T, Lupi A, Perfetti C. A case report of visual and motor recovery after 8 months of "cognitive therapeutic exercises" in cortical blindness. JNPT 2017, 41(3):164-172. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000189. * shared first author

Chen CY, Georgieff M, Elison J, Chen M, Stinear J, Mueller B, Rao R, Rudser K, Gillick B. Understanding Brain Reorganization in Infants With Perinatal Stroke Through Neuroexcitability and Neuroimaging. Pediatr Phys Ther. 2017 Apr;29(2):173-178. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000365. PubMed PMID: 28350777; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5560124

Chen CY, McGee CW, Rich TL, Prudente CN, Gillick BT. Reference values of intrinsic muscle strength of the hand of adolescents and young adults. J Hand Ther. 2017 Aug 12. pii: S0894-1130(17)30016-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2017.05.012. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28807597

Rich TL, Menk JS, Rudser KD, Chen M, Meekins GD, Peña E, Feyma T, Bawroski K, Bush C, Gillick BT. Determining Electrode Placement for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A Comparison of EEG- Versus TMS-Guided Methods. Clin EEG Neurosci. 2017 May 1:1550059417709177. doi: 10.1177/1550059417709177. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28530154

Rich T, Cassidy J, Menk J, Van Heest A, Krach L, Carey J, Gillick BT. Stability of stereognosis after pediatric repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and constraint-induced movement therapy clinical trial. Dev Neurorehabil. 2017 Apr;20(3):169-172. doi: 10.3109/17518423.2016.1139008. Epub 2016 Mar 17. PubMed PMID: 26985568; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5490365


De Patre D, Van de Winckel A. Strategies for Scientific Research in Neurocognitive Rehabilitation Riabilitazione Neurocognitiva. 2016 (3):216-229 (Italian version) and 229-242 (English version)

Rich TL, Menk J, Krach LE, Feyma T, Gillick BT. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/Behavioral Intervention Clinical Trial: Long-Term Follow-Up of Outcomes in Congenital Hemiparesis. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2016 Sep;26(7):598-605. doi: 10.1089/cap.2015.0157. Epub 2016 Feb 23. PubMed PMID: 26905272; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5335747

Chen CY, Rich TL, Cassidy JM, Gillick BT. Corticospinal Excitability in Children with Congenital Hemiparesis. Brain Sci. 2016 Oct 20;6(4). pii: E49. PubMed PMID: 27775599; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5187563


Gillick BT, Feyma T, Menk J, Usset M, Vaith A, Wood T, Worthington R, Krach LE. "Safety and Feasibility of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Pediatric Hemiparesis: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study." Physical Therapy. 2015; 95(3):337-349.

Gillick BT, Krach LE, Feyma T, Rich TR, Moberg KJ, Menk J, Cassidy M, Kimberley T, Carey JR. Safety of primed repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and modified constraint-induced movement therapy in pediatric hemiparesis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2015 Apr; 96(4 Suppl): S104-13.

Kimberley TJ, Borich MR, Schmidt R, Carey JR, Gillick B. Focal hand dystonia:individualized intervention with repeated application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2015 Apr;96(4 Suppl):S104-13

Cassidy JM, Carey JR, Lu C, Krach LE, Feyma T, Durfee WK, Gillick BT. Ipsilesional motor-evoked potential absence in pediatric hemiparesis impacts tracking accuracy of the less affected hand. Res Dev Disabil. 2015 Dec;47:154-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2015.09.010. Epub 2015 Sep 29. PubMed PMID: 26426515; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4670029

Gillick B, Menk J, Mueller B, Meekins G, Krach LE, Feyma T, Rudser K. Synergistic effect of combined transcranial direct current stimulation/constraint-induced movement therapy in children and young adults with hemiparesis: study protocol. BMC Pediatr. 2015 Nov 12;15:178. doi: 10.1186/s12887-015-0498-1. PubMed PMID: 26558386; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4642615

Gillick BT, Rich T, Chen M, Meekins GD. Case report of vasovagal syncope associated with single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation in a healthy adult participant. BMC Neurol. 2015 Dec 1;15:248. doi: 10.1186/s12883-015-0510-2. PubMed PMID: 26627895; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4666029


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