RIC's Research Centers & Programs - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Research Centers & Programs

Research Programs

Sensory Motor Performance Program (SMPP) is devoted to the study of musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and sensory disorders that are associated with abnormal control of posture and movement. Faculty members have appointments in the Feinberg School of Medicine and the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, which are both part of Northwestern University. For more information about SMPP.

Brain Injury Research Program the major goal of the Brain Injury Research Program is to encourage collaboration among the various scientific disciplines that contribute to increasing our knowledge about the human brain in order to improve the range and specificity of treatments available to patients entering the facilities of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. For more information about the Brain Injury Research Program.

Research Centers

Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment promotes the development and implementation of rehabilitation practices that enhance the communication skills of individuals who are living with aphasia and facilitate their engagement in life activities. The Center conducts clinical studies to establish the efficacy and effectiveness of aphasia treatments. For more information about Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment.

Center for Pain Studies was founded in 1976 by Dr. Robert G. Addison at RIC to support and develop research in the field of pain. From 1985 to 1993, clinical activities of the Center for Pain Studies were further developed by Dr. Richard Blonsky. For more information about Center for Pain Studies.

Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research (CROR) is responsible for conducting outcomes research at RIC. The importance placed on outcome studies in medical rehabilitation has grown dramatically in recent years as clinicians and researchers have been required to find cost-effective means of providing patient care. For more information about CROR.

Center for Bionic Medicine (CBM) can assist in improving function and quality of life for people who have suffered limb loss. Currently, individuals who have undergone amputation are only able to operate one motion at a time with myoelectric prostheses. The CBM laboratory is currently experimenting with the use of "targeted reinnervation" to improve myoelectric prosthesis function. For more information about CBM.

Machines Assisting Recovery from Stroke - Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (MARS - RERC) evaluates the utility of simple robotic devices for providing rehabilitation therapy after hemispheric stroke. Our broad intent is to develop devices that will assist the therapist in providing rationally based treatments that are intensive and long in duration. For more information about MARS - RERC.

Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System (MRSCICS) is designated as the Midwest's first center for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment and recently named a Model System Spinal Cord Injury Center by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, RIC continues to pioneer research, as well as medical and technological advancements for people with spinal cord injuries. For more information about Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System.

Timing Investigation Dosage Implementation (TIDI) – Rehabilitation Research and Engineering Center seeks to establish a rational basis for quantifying the appropriate time distribution for use of robotic and computer based interventions in rehabilitation therapy. These will include simple robotic devices for providing locomotion therapy after hemispheric stroke, computer based speech training for aphasia, virtual reality systems for upper extremity retraining after stroke, and passive stretching of ankle muscles to improve gait in stroke survivors. One project will examine training protocols with Ekso, an exoskeleton designed for use in patients with spinal cord injury. We have chosen to focus largely on stroke, because this is the most common neurological disorder requiring intensive and prolonged rehabilitation, and because the problems of stroke rehabilitation are systematically different from those faced in other major neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.  For more information about TIDI-RERC.

Technologies to Evaluate and Advance Manipulation and Mobility – Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (TEAMM-RERC) develops and evaluates novel technologies to enhance therapeutic interventions and improve the ability to move and manipulate objects in persons with movement limitations. Our goal is to address the needs of individuals with a wide range of movement-limiting disorders by developing effective technology that can be clinically implemented.  Our integrated team includes scientists, physicians, clinicians, engineers, and, importantly, end users.  For more information about TEAMM-RERC.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Developing Optimal Strategies in Exercise and Survival Skills to Increase Health and Function (DOSESS) will create, evaluate and implement methods to promote optimal health and function of people with physical disabilities. Through a variety of research, training and dissemination activities, we expect to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the efficacy and value of various interventions for achieving and maintaining health and function for people with a disability. The Center’s projects will explore the role of motor priming and intensity of training to improve walking ability, determine the optimal dosing of intensive aphasia treatments, and develop a peer health navigator program that will improve the ability of people with disabilities to access community resources and the social environment. We will measure the economic and social value of each project. For more information about DOSESS.


Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals Who Experience a Stroke