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Chet Moritz, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Physical Therapy, received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant. The R01 research award totals $2,392,623 over four years, which will fund his project: Optogenetics to Improve Hand Function After Spinal Cord Injury. Moritz is the principal investigator and Sarah Mondello, PhD, research acting instructor in the Department of Rehabilitation, is a collaborator.

This study will test the benefits of a novel therapy for spinal cord injury, using light to activate neurons within the injured spinal cord. This research will directly compare the mechanisms of recovery between optogenetic and electrical spinal stimulation to inform translation of next generation therapies for people with spinal cord injury.