Gail Forrest, PhD

Headshot Gail Forrest,PhD with a Black Background

Director

Associate Director

Laboratory
Neural Plasticity Laboratory
Phone
973-324-3518

Gail Forrest, PhD, is director of the Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation, associate director of the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering, and director of the Neural Plasticity Laboratory at Kessler Foundation. She is a leader in research combining electrical stimulation with activity-based therapy to effect changes in muscle activation that result in functional improvement to individuals paralyzed by spinal cord injury (SCI).

Dr. Forrest has developed expertise in interventional and neuromodulation research involving peripheral & central nervous system mechanisms and neurological & neuromuscular function for both able-bodied individuals and individuals with SCI. She conducts research 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. Her studies correlate these gains with changes in neural activity in the brain and spinal cord, contributing to fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms of voluntary muscle movement. In addition, her Center has a long history of studying exoskeleton interventions for recovery after spinal cord injury.

Over the past several years, Dr Forrest has been working with the University of Louisville, Medtronics, and Johns Hopkins researchers in the development of the StimX SCI-specific technical and participant user interface. The goal has been to develop an SCI-specific programming interface for the Intellis neurostimulator system. Technical and participant user interfaces are designed to meet the neuromodulation requirements for one or multiple systems for SCI (cardiovascular, bladder and motor systems) using control algorithms, feedback control, and user input.

Dr. Forrest has directed more than 20 federal, state, and national randomized clinical trials at the Foundation for individuals with spinal cord injury. Several of her current federally funded trials concentrate on peripheral stimulation, epidural, transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation, and pharmacological interventions for both priming and exciting the neural networks for the recovery of the upper and lower extremities, including voluntary stand, walk, and leg control movements below the level of injury.

Dr. Forrest is also an associate professor in the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and an affiliated faculty member in the Biomedical Engineering department at New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Expertise
Neuroplasticity
Muscoloskeletal changes
Spinal Cord Injury
Biomechanics
Modeling Algorithms
Neuromodulation
Spinal stimulation
Education
BApplSc - Mathematics & Computing
PhD - Biomechanics, Temple University
Fellowship - Neurophysiology & Biomechanics, Kessler Foundation
Research Interests

Restoration of upper and lower extremity function

Activity-based therapy

Robotic exoskeletons

Multi-muscle stimulation

Spinal cord mapping

Transcutaneous stimulation

Epidural stimulation

Brain and spinal cord stimulation

Secondary complications of spinal cord injury

Publications

View a comprehensive list of Dr. Forrest’s publications on PubMed.

Podcasts