Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation

Gail Forrest, PhD checking on participant

Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation

Stimulating the Spinal Cord to Aid Recovery

Recovery from spinal cord injury, long considered impossible, is now on the horizon. The Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation is accelerating the pace of discoveries, by providing scientists with the resources to study how electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, combined with intensive physical therapy can help individuals regain mobility and function more independently in their daily lives.


electrical stimulation on participants legs

Transcutaneous and Epidural Stimulation

Stimulation activates nerve centers and pathways, reawakening the cord’s ability to conduct impulses to paralyzed muscles. Two methods of stimulation are being studied—transcutaneous (stimulator is placed on the skin overlying the damaged cord), and epidural (stimulator is surgically implanted directly onto the spinal cord. 

2019 Evening of Discovery and Discussion. A panel discussion about our transcutaneous and epidural stimulation research.

Testing Transcutaneous Stimulation for Standing and Walking  

Scientists and therapists already are making progress at Kessler’s West Orange, NJ location, where they use transcutaneous stimulation to improve standing and walking as well as arm and hand function, in individuals with spinal cord injury.


Improving Arm and Hand Function Using Transcutaneous Stimulation 

Improving arm and hand function translates into significant gains in independence for individuals living with spinal cord injury. For Jimmy Brown, transcutaneous stimulation allows him to pour water from a pitcher to a glass - an important first step toward greater independence. 

By activating the stimulator implanted in her spine, Kelly Thomas demonstrates her ability to stand and walk.

Enhancing Mobility with Epidural Stimulation

Epidural stimulation enables individuals like Kelly Thomas, paralyzed in a motor vehicle accident, to stand during stimulation. This approach has enabled two individuals with chronic spinal cord injury to regain voluntary movement. The Center will be the first East Coast facility to offer implantation of the epidural stimulator and the intensive postoperative physical training needed to achieve optimal results. 

electrical stimulation on participants back

On the Horizon


“We are seeing other effects, including improvements in bowel and bladder function, temperature regulation, and cardiovascular and respiratory function,” Gail Forrest, PhD, the Center’s director reports. “These exciting early results inspire us to work even harder to build this line of research.” The Center’s team also plans to look at how combining different types of stimulation can facilitate spinal cord repair and functional recovery. 


Audio Description

2019 Evening of Discovery and Discussion. A panel discussion about our transcutaneous and epidural stimulation research.


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Natalie Barrett, research participant in the Center for Spinal Cord Injury, walking in exoskeleton

Your Support Jumpstarts Natalie’s Future

Because of your support, Natalie—who lives with spinal cord injury—can get up out of her wheelchair and walk with assistance. But Natalie's story isn't over. 

Jimmy Brown

Your Support Fuels Jimmy's Competitive Drive and Gives Him Hope

Your generosity makes all the difference for people who live with spinal cord injury, like Jimmy Brown. You advance groundbreaking rehabilitation research to help Jimmy and others overcome their disabilities and live fuller, more engaged lives with their families.

Peter Hersh at the Reynolds Center for Spinal Stim

Your Support Accelerates the Pace of Discovery

The Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation is accelerating the pace of discovery and transforming care and recovery for people with SCI.