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 three 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

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W. Zev Rymer

W. Zev Rymer, MD, PhD

  • Director, SMPP
  • 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

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



Jie Liu, Sheng Li, Xiaoyan Li, Cliff Klein, William Z. Rymer, Ping Zhou, Suppression of stimulus artifact contaminating electrically evoked electromyography,NeuroRehabilitation. 2014;34(2):381-9.

Sheng Li, Jie Liu, Minal Bhadane, Ping Zhou, William Z. Rymer, Activation deficit correlates with weakness in chronic stroke: evidence from evoked and voluntary EMG recordings, Clin Neurophysiol. 2014 Apr 2. pii: S1388-2457(14)00169-2.

Xiaoyan Li, Henry Shin, Ping Zhou, Xun Niu, Jie Liu, William Z. Rymer, Power spectral analysis of surface electromyography (EMG) at matched contraction levels of the first dorsal interosseous muscle in stroke survivors, Clin Neurophysiol. 2014 May;125(5):988-94.


Krishnan, C Kotsapouikis, D Dhaher, YY Rymer, WZ (2013) Reducing robotic guidance during robot-assisted gait training improves gait function: a case report on a stroke survivor. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jun;94(6):1202-6.

Krishnan, C Ranganathan, R Dhaher, YY Rymer WZ (2013) Pilot Study on the Feasibility of Robot-Aided Leg Motor Training to Facilitate Active Participation,PloS One 2013 Oct 11;8(10):e77370.

Hu, X Rymer, WZ Suresh, NL (2013) Assessment of validity of a high-yield surface electromyogram decomposition, J Neuroeng Rehab, 10 (1), 99.

Zhang, X Li, Y Chen, X Li, G Rymer, WZ Zhou, P (2013) The effect of involuntary motor activity on myoelectric pattern recognition: a case study with chronic stroke patients, J Neural Eng 2013 Aug;10 (4), 046015.

Hu, X Rymer, WZ Suresh, NL (2013) Motor unit pool organization examined via spike-triggered averaging of the surface electromyogram, J Neurophysiol, 2013 Sep;110(5):1205-20.

Jayaraman, A Thompson, CK Rymer, WZ Hornby, TG (2013) Short-term Maximal-Intensity Resistance Training Increases Volitional Function and Strength in Chronic Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: A Pilot Study, J Neurol Phys Ther 2013 Sep;37(3):112-7.

Smith, AC Mummidisetty, CK Rymer, WZ Knikou, M (2013) Effects of mechanical vibration of the foot sole and ankle tendons on cutaneomuscular responses in man, Neurosci Lett 2013 Jun 17;545:123-6.

Zhang, LQ Chung, SG Ren, Y Liu, L Roth, EJ Rymer, WZ (2013) Simultaneous Characterizations of Reflex and nonreflex, dynamic and static changes in spastic hemiparesis, J Neurophysiol 2013 Jul;110(2):418-30.

Chang, SH Zhou, P Rymer, WZ Li, S (2013)Spasticity, weakness, force variability, and sustained spontaneous motor unit discharges of resting spastic–paretic biceps brachii muscles in chronic stroke, Muscle & Nerve. 2013 Jul;48(1):85-92.

Reuben, DB Magasi, S McCreath, HE Bohannon, RW Wang, YC Bubela, DJ Rymer, WZ (2013) Motor assessment using the NIH Toolbox, Neurology 2013 Mar 12;80(11 Suppl 3):S65-75.

Roh, J Rymer, WZ Perreault, EJ Yoo, SB Beer, RF (2013) Alterations in upper limb muscle synergy structure in chronic stroke survivors, J Neurophysiol, 109 (3), 768-781.

Hu, X Rymer, WZ Suresh, NL (2013) Reliability of spike triggered averaging of the surface electromyogram for motor unit action potential estimation, Muscle & Nerve. 2013 Oct;48(4):557-70.

Zhang, X Barkhaus, P Rymer, WZ Zhou, P (2013) Machine Learning for Supporting Diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Using Surface Electromyogram,IEEE.

C.S. Klein, W.Z. Rymer, M.A. Fisher. Median motor axon properties are altered in chronic stroke survivors. American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, Feb 2013, Miami, FL.


C.S. Klein and W.Z. Rymer. Reduced sodium conductances of median motor axons in chronic stroke survivors. International Motoneuron meeting, Sydney, Australia, July 2012.

Roh J, Rymer WZ, Perreault EJ, Yoo SB, Beer RF. Alterations in upper limb muscle synergy structure in chronic stroke survivors. J Neurophysiol. 2012 Nov 14.

Zhou P, Li X, Jahanmiri-Nezhad F, Rymer WZ, Barkhaus PE. Duration of observation required in detecting fasciculation potentials in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis using high-density surface EMG. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2012 Oct 10;9:78.

Zhou P, Li X, Rymer WZ. Computing motor unit number index of the first dorsal interosseous muscle with two different contraction tasks. Med Eng Phys. 2012 Oct;34(8):1209-12. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2012.06.011.

Li X, Rymer WZ, Zhou P. A simulation-based analysis of motor unit number index (MUNIX) technique using motoneuron pool and surface electromyogram models. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2012 May;20(3):297-304. doi:10.1109/TNSRE.2012.2194311.


Suresh N, Li X, Zhou P, Rymer WZ. Examination of motor unit control properties in stroke survivors using surface EMG decomposition: a preliminary report. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:8243-6.

Li X, Suresh A, Zhou P, Rymer WZ. Alterations in spike amplitude distribution of the surface electromyogram post-stroke. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:7504-7.

Zhou P, Barkhaus PE, Zhang X, Rymer WZ. Characterizing the complexity of spontaneous motor unit patterns of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis using approximate entropy. J Neural Eng. 2011 Dec;8(6):066010.

Zhou P, Suresh NL, Rymer WZ. Surface electromyogram analysis of the direction of isometric torque generation by the first dorsal interosseous muscle. J Neural Eng. 2011 Jun;8(3):036028.

Li X, Wang YC, Suresh NL, Rymer WZ, Zhou P. Motor unit number reductions in paretic muscles of stroke survivors. IEEE Trans Inf Technol Biomed. 2011 Jul;15(4):505-12.

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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