Dr. Forrest is director of the Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation, Associate Director of the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research, and director of the Neural Plasticity Laboratory. Her research focuses on using methods of neuromodulation to maximize the potential for neuroplasticity to restore function to individuals paralyzed by spinal cord injury. Dr. Forrest is a leader in research combining electrical stimulation with activity-based therapy to effect changes in muscle activation that result in functional improvement. As Kessler’s site director for the NeuroRecovery Network, she documented the effects of intensive locomotor treadmill training on motor function of individuals with spinal cord injury, contributing to the knowledge base for neuroplasticity of the spinal cord. A pioneer in the use of robotic exoskeletons for spinal cord injury rehabilitation, she continues to explore the potential benefits of robotic-assisted walking in this population.
Currently, Dr. Forrest co-directs the ground-breaking research conducted at the Reynolds Center, where functional gains in the upper and lower extremities are being achieved through neuromodulation, as well as amelioration of secondary complications including chronic pain, spasticity, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and pressure injuries. Using the unique research capabilities of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation, her studies correlate functional gains with changes in neural activity in the brain and spinal cord, contributing to fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms of voluntary muscle movement. Support for her research is provided by federal and state grants, as well substantial gifts from Tim and Caroline Reynolds.
Dr. Forrest is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a member of the affiliated faculty of the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Restoration of upper and lower extremity function
Spinal cord mapping
Brain and spinal cord stimulation
Secondary complications of spinal cord injury