W. Zev Rymer, MD, PhD - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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  • Only Hospital Ranked #1 in America by U.S. News & World Report since 1991
  • 800,000+ outpatient visits each year
  • 5,000+ inpatients treated each year, system-wide
  • 50+ sites of care throughout Illinois and Indiana
  • One of only 2% of hospitals to receive two consecutive Magnet Recognitions for Nursing Excellence.
  • 182-bed inpatient hospital in the heart of Chicago
  • Largest rehabilitation research center in the world
  • Only rehabilitation hospital with eight federally designated research centers
  • 370+ active research projects in neuroscience, bionics, robotics, and musculoskeletal medicine
  • Academic home of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Department, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Clinical Trials

Did you know you can help advance the science of rehabilitation medicine while benefiting from the latest research findings?

You can – by joining a clinical trial! See a list of our Research Studies & Clinical Trials.

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W. Zev Rymer

W. Zev Rymer, MD, PhD

  • Vice President, Research, RIC
  • John G. Searle Chair in Rehabilitation Research, RIC
  • Professor, BME, McCormick School of Engineering, NU
  • Professor, Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, NU



Education, Residency and Internship


Monash University, Australia, PhD
University of Melbourne University, Melbourne, Australia, MD

Additional Information


Honors & Awards

Honors Graduate Medicine, 1962, University of Melbourne
Fogarty International Fellow NIH, 1971-1974, Laboratory of Neural Control, NINDS
Chairman, Engineering Foundation Conference "Biomechanics of Movement" Henniker, New Hampshire, June, 1979
Invited instructor, Cold Spring Harbour, June, 1980, 1981, 1982 Mammalian CNS course
Chairman, NIH Special Study Section (8 occasions)
Member, Musculoskeletal and Orthopedics Study Section, NIH, 1983-1987
Member, GRM Study Section: 1994-1998, Chair: 1999-2001
Member AIMBE, 2001
Honorary Life Member – American Physical Therapy Association


Mottram CJ, Wallace CL, Chikando CN, Rymer WZ.  Origins of Spontaneous Firing of Motor Units in the Spastic-Paretic Biceps Brachii Muscle of Stroke Survivors.  J Neurophysiol. 2010 Sept.

Towles JD, Kamper DG, Rymer WZ. Lack of hypertonia in thumb muscles after stroke. J Neurophysiol. 2010 Oct;104(4):2139-46.

Mirbagheri MM, Chen D, Rymer WZ. Quantification of the effects of an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist on reflex properties in spinal cord injury using a system identification technique. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2010 Jun 23;7:29.

Kutch JJ, Kuo AD, Rymer WZ. Extraction of individual muscle mechanical action from endpoint force. J Neurophysiol. 2010 Jun;103(6):3535-46.

Seo NJ, Rymer WZ, Kamper DG. Altered digit force direction during pinch grip following stroke. Exp Brain Res. 2010 May;202(4):891-901.

Mirbagheri MM, Rymer WZ. Predication of reflex recovery after stroke using quantitative assessments of motor impairment at 1 month.
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;2009:7252-5.

Hoffmann G, Kamper DG, Kahn JH, Rymer WZ and Schmit BD. Modulation of stretch reflexes of the finger flexors by sensory feedback from the proximal upper limb poststroke.  J Neurophysiol. 2009 Sep;102(3):1420-9. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Seo NJ, Rymer WZ, Kamper DG. Delays in grip initiation and termination in persons with stroke: effects of arm support and active muscle stretch exercise. J Neurophysiol. 2009 Jun;101(6):3108-15.

Li S, Stevens JA, Rymer WZ. Interactions between imagined movement and the initiation of voluntary movement: a TMS study. Clin Neurophysiol. 2009 Jun;120(6):1154-60. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Mirbagheri MM, Tsao C, Settle K, Lilaonitkul T, Rymer WZ. Time course of changes in neuromuscular properties following stroke. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2008;2008:5097-100.

Mirbagheri MM, Tsao C, Rymer WZ. Natural history of neuromuscular properties after stroke: a longitudinal study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2009 Nov;80(11):1212-7.

Chardon MK, Suresh NL and Rymer WZ.  A new method for reflex threshold estimation in spastic muscle,  Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 1:5300-3, 2009.

Mottram CJ, Rymer WZ. Estimation of Persistent Inward Currents in Motoneurons Innervating Spastic Muscles. Neuroscientist. 2008 Jun;14(3):264-75. Epub 2008 Apr 1.

Mottram CJ, Suresh NL, Heckman CJ, Gorassini MA and Rymer WZ. Origins of abnormal excitability in biceps brachii motoneurons of spastic-paretic stroke survivors. J of Neurophysiol, 102: 2026-2038, 2009.

N. Suresh, P. Zhou, N. Concepcion and W.Z. Rymer. Abnormal EMG force relations in a hand muscle in hemi-paretic stroke. 

Murali K, Suresh NL, Stiller R, Rymer WZ, and Zhou P. Analysis of EMG-force relation of the first dorsal interosseous muscle using an electrode array. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 1:2960-2, 2009.

Schieber JR, Suresh NL, Rymer WZ, and Zhou P. A preliminary study of action potential propagation in paretic muscle of stroke survivors. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc.1:222-3, 2009.

Zhou P, Suresh NL, Lowery M, and Rymer WZ. Nonlinear filtering of multi-channel EMG signals at low muscle contraction levels, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 56(7): 1871-1879, 2009.

Suresh NL, Zhou P, Rymer WZ. Abnormal EMG-force slope estimates in the first dorsal interosseous of hemiparetic stroke survivors. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 1:3562-5, 2008.

Zhou P, Suresh, NL, Rymer Z. Model Based Sensitivity Analysis of EMG-Force Relation with Respect to Motor Unit Properties: Applications to Muscle Paresis in Stroke. Annals of Biomedical Engineering 35(9): 1521-1531, 2007.

Kutch J, Suresh N, Bloch A, Rymer W. Analysis of the effects of firing rate and synchronization on spike-triggered averaging of multidirectional motor unit torque. J of Computational Neuroscience 22:347-361, 2007.

Kutch JJ, Suresh NL, Kuo AD, Rymer WZ, Bloch AM. Analysis of the effects of firing rate and synchronization on spike-triggered averaging of neuronal output. 45th Annual Intl IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, San Diego, CA, 2006.

Rymer WZ. Response to "Training and retention of rehabilitation researchers"[comment] Amer. J. Phys. Med & Rehab. 84(12):976-9, 2005 Dec.

Research Interests

Regulation of movement in normal and neurologically disordered human subjects; physiological effects of spinal cord injury; sources of altered motoneuronal and inter-neuronal responses in spinal segments below a partial or complete spinal cord transaction using electro-physiological; pharmacological and biomechanical techniques; rehabilitation robotics

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