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Borrell Lab

We explore changes in brain and muscle activity associated with amputation and prosthetic use.

The goal of the Borrell Lab is to assess the brain after injury and use this information to drive rehabilitation. Our vision is to work with an injured individual to be able to function well in society. We are located within the Human Performance Laboratory at the Landon Center on Aging, adjacent the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas.

Participate in a study, and help advance science: we are recruiting amputee research participants and non-amputee control subjects with no current or past major injuries. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact the lab director.

Lab team members

  • Hayden Nevills, KU occupational therapy doctoral student.
  • Garrett Black, KU bioengineering doctoral student.
  • Josh Dugdale, KU bioengineering doctoral student.

Students in our lab are typically pursuing either a clinical doctorate degree in physical therapy or occupational therapy, or a Ph.D. If you're interested in research opportunities in the Borrell Lab, please contact the lab director.

Selected Recent Publications

Phantom Limb Therapy Improves Cortical Efficiency of the Sensorimotor Network in a Targeted Muscle Reinnervation Amputee: A Case Report

Published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, this case study sought to create a phantom limb therapy protocol for an amputee after undergoing targeted muscle reinnervation surgery, where the four main nerves of his right arm were reinnervated into the chest muscles.

The goal of this phantom limb therapy was to further strengthen these newly formed neuromuscular closed loops. The case participant participated in phantom limb therapy for three months. Data collections occurred every two weeks.

During the data collections, the subject performed various movements of the phantom and intact limb specific to each reinnervated nerve and a gross manual dexterity task (box and block test) while measuring brain activity and recording qualitative feedback from the subject.

The results demonstrated that phantom limb therapy produced significant changes of cortical activity, reduced fatigue, fluctuation in phantom pain, improved limb synchronization, increased sensory sensation and decreased correlation strength between intra-hemispheric and inter-hemispheric channels.

These results suggest an overall improved cortical efficiency of the sensorimotor network.

These results add to the growing knowledge of cortical reorganization after targeted muscle reinnervation surgery, which is becoming more common to aid in the recovery after amputation.

About the Author

Portrait of Jordan BorrellJordan Borrell, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education, co-authored this study. Dr. Borrell's research focuses on the neural plasticity that occurs after amputation and neuromuscular rehabilitation strategies used to improve the quality of life in individuals with trauma to the central and peripheral nervous systems. He also serves as a mentor to students in the therapeutic science doctoral program. 

KU School of Health Professions

Occupational Therapy Education
KU Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Blvd  MS2003
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-7195 • 711 TTY