George F. Wittenberg Faculty

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Biography

Dr. George F. Wittenberg is a Neurologist in the VAPHS, and Director of the Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy (RAFT), affiliated with the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 2018 as the outgoing Director of the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence. Previously, he was Director of the Rehabilitation Program within the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He obtained his doctorate degree in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, in 1991 and completed medical school in 1993 at the same university. Dr. Wittenberg had further clinical and research training at Washington University, St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was on sabbatical 2012-2103 working with Stephan Swinnen and Ilse Jonkers on the brain basis of reaching in 3D, at KU Leuven University in Belgium in the Dept. of Kinesiology.

His ongoing research interests presently lie in using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional imaging to understand motor cortical reorganization following stroke and in designing and testing new methods for neurorehabilitation. He was the site principal investigator in VA Cooperative Study #558, “Robotic Assisted Upper-Limb Neurorehabilitation in Stroke Patients” and continues to study the neural plasticity that underlies robotic rehabilitation. He is developing hybrid methods of combining TMS with robotic and virtual reality training, and multimodal physiological monitoring with feedback control of robotic assistance, to maximize the return of motor function after neurological injury by harnessing activity-dependent brain plasticity.