Department of Biomedical Engineering
Paul D. Marasco, Ph.D.
In our research we investigate the sensory nervous system with a specific focus on systems level mechanisms of brain organization and neural plasticity. A major interest of the laboratory is sensory integration with prosthetic devices. With our research we investigate a variety of ways to “close-the-loop” and to provide physiologically relevant touch and proprioceptive feedback for artificial limbs. We accomplish this by using different model systems and a variety of translational approaches from electrophysiological cortical mapping to psychophysical and cognitive studies to provide insight into how sensory feedback can be returned from a prosthesis to an amputee through physiologically appropriate neural channels. Our work focuses on establishing a mechanistic understanding of how sensory channels organize and integrate to establish a cognitive sense of self, embodiment and awareness of limb movement. With these approaches we then work to interact and utilize these sensory/cognitive pathways to drive cognitive engagement with artificial limbs for amputees.
In other words ...
Dr Marasco and his team work to understand the sensory nervous system and develop translational approaches for providing natural touch and movement feedback for artificial limbs.
Peer Reviewed Scientific Research Papers
Fox JD, Capadona JR, Marasco PD, Rowan SJ. (2013) Bioinspired Water-Enhanced Mechanical Gradient Nanocomposite Films That Mimic the Architecture and Properties of the Squid Beak. J Am Chem Soc.
Marasco PD, Kim K, Colgate JE, Peshkin MA, Kuiken TA. (2011) Robotic touch shifts perception of embodiment to a prosthesis in Targeted Reinnervation amputees. Brain. 134: 747-58
Marasco PD, and Kuiken TA. (2010) Amputation with median nerve redirection (Targeted Reinnervation) reactivates forepaw barrel subfield in rats. Journal of Neuroscience 30:16008-16014.
Marasco PD, Schultz AE, Kuiken TA. (2009) Sensory capacity of reinnervated skin after redirection of amputated upper limb nerves to the chest. Brain. 132(pt 6): 1441-8.
Schultz AE, Marasco PD, Kuiken TA. (2009) Vibrotactile detection thresholds for chest skin of amputees following targeted reinnervation surgery. Brain Research. 1251:121-9.
Kuiken TA*, Marasco PD*, Lock BA, Harden RN, Dewald JP. (2007) Redirection of cutaneous sensation from the hand to the chest skin of human amputees with targeted reinnervation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 104: 20061-6. (*these authors contributed equally to this work)
Marasco PD, Tsuruda PR, Bautista DM, Catania KC. (2007) The fine structure of Eimer’s organ in the coast mole (Scapanus orarius). Anatomical Record. 290: 437-448.
Marasco PD, and Catania KC. (2007) Response properties of primary afferents supplying Eimer’s organ. Journal of Experimental Biology. 210: 765-780
Kuiken TA, Miller LA, Lipschutz RD, Lock BA, Stubblefield K, Marasco PD, Zhou P, Dumanian GA. (2007) Targeted reinnervation for enhanced prosthetic arm function in a woman with proximal amputation. The Lancet 369: 371-380
Marasco PD, Tsuruda PR, Bautista DM, Julius D, Catania KC. (2006) Neuroanatomical evidence for segregation of nerve fibers conveying light touch and pain sensation in Eimer's organ of the mole. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 103: 9339-9344
Henry EC, Marasco PD, Catania KC. (2005) Plasticity of the cortical dentition representation after tooth extraction in naked mole-rats. Journal of Comparative Neurology 485: 64-74
Appel, B., P. Marasco, L. McClung and A.J. Latimer (2003) lunatic fringe Regulates delta- notch induction of hypochord in zebrafish. Developmental Dynamics 228: 281-286
Crish, S.D., C. Comer, P. D. Marasco and K.C. Catania (2003) Somatosensation in the superior colliculus of the star-nosed mole. Journal of Comparative Neurology 464: 415-425
Marasco PD., “Targeted Sensory Reinnervation”, chapter 8, in: Targeted Muscle Reinnervation, Kuiken and Schultz, Eds. CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, 2014 ISBN 978-1-4398-6080-9
Capadona, JR and PD Marasco “Brain Response to Neural Prostheses”, chapter 6, in: The Textbook of Neural Repair, Seltzer et al. Eds, 2nd Edition. (in-press)