Jonathan R. Wolpaw, M.D.

NCAN Director, Research Physician

Dr. Wolpaw is the Director of the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center. He is a neurologist who has been engaged in basic and clinical neuroscience research for more than 40 years. His research group developed operant conditioning of spinal reflexes as a model for defining the plasticity underlying learning. They showed that reflex conditioning can guide spinal cord plasticity to improve walking in animals and people with spinal cord injuries. This work has introduced a new therapeutic method – targeted neuroplasticity – that can enhance functional recovery. In addition, his group has led development of EEG-based brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. They showed that a non-invasive BCI can give movement control similar to that with implanted electrodes. They have provided basic BCI systems to severely disabled people for daily use in their homes. They are now exploring the use of BCI technology to improve rehabilitation after strokes or in other disorders. Dr. Wolpaw’s group has been funded for many years by NIH, other government agencies, and private foundations; their achievements have been recognized by numerous national and international awards.