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Motor Rehabilitation Plasticity Hacking by Engineered stimulation of the brain dUring Sleep-wake cycle

The motivation

Despite medical efforts, stroke patients still suffer

Brain lesions such as stroke and traumatic brain injury are a major cause of adult-onset disability. Physical therapy, together with robotic aided rehabilitation, is the gold standard for promoting motor recovery. Yet, half of the affected individuals do not fully recover their daily living skills. Hope is provided by advanced neuroprosthetic devices, acting directly at the brain level to promote plasticity, but to date, they still fall short of producing long-lasting brain rewiring.

The goal

In search of privileged windows to deliver therapeutic electrical stimulation

The often neglected but close relationship between sleep, neural plasticity, pathogenesis, and motor recovery can constitute a key factor to advance treatment. Thus, the EU-funded MoRPHEUS project aims to develop a novel neuroprosthetic approach that monitors brain activity and delivers electrical stimulation according to the sleep-wake cycle architecture.

The path

One step at a time with state-of-the-art methods and knowledge
  • Aim 1: Neurodynamics of dysfunction (Phase 1)
    To investigate how the presence of a brain lesion affects the neurodynamics and the sleep-wake cycle architecture in vivo
  • Aim 2: Developing the closed loop system (Phase 2)
    To develop and build an experimental closed-loop electrophysiological system to monitor the sleep-wake cycle and to deliver coordinated stimulation.
  • Aim 3: Application including proof of concept in humans (Phases 2 and 3)
    To test the novel neuroprosthesis to induce therapeutic neural plasticity and to promote motor rehabilitation at both preclinical and clinical level.

Project status

  • Phase 1 has been successfully completed and scientific publications are in preparation.
  • Phase 2 is currently under development together with the main partners of the project.


MoRPHEUS is an EU-funded project under the framework programme H2020-EU.1.3. – EXCELLENT SCIENCE as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship granted to Vinícius Rosa Cota, GrantAgreement no. 101032054


MoRPHEUS project is hosted at the Rehab Technologies Lab of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Center for Convergent Technologies, in Genova, Italy. Its activities are currently carried out at Rehab Lab, at the Neurofacility of the Neurosciences and Brain Technology department, and at the Animal Facility of IIT.

Link to the project's page at IIT's main website.