Bourbeau, Dennis, PhD

Dennis Bourbeau WebResearch Statement

Spinal cord injury (SCI) has a devastating impact on quality of life. Many investigators, clinicians, and especially people with SCI identify bladder, bowel, and sexual functions as important targets for therapies. However, there remains a lack of available approaches for restoring these functions.

To serve this unmet need, my research focuses on developing devices that use electrical stimulation to restore pelvic autonomic function lost to SCI or other neurological disorders. Such devices would provide alternatives to surgeries or drugs. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms of sensory feedback to control these functions. I envision an interface with the nervous system that provides access for stimulating sensory neurons to activate or inhibit spinal reflexes to control autonomic functions. This strategy would take advantage of existing spinal reflex circuits that remain following SCI.

Professional Affiliations

  • Investigator, Cleveland FES Center
  • Biomedical Engineer, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
  • Staff Scientist, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
  • Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH


  • Bourbeau DJ, Creasey GH, Sidik S, Brose SW, Gustafson KJ. Genital nerve stimulation increases bladder capacity after SCI: A meta-analysis. J Spinal Cord Med. 2018 Jul;41(4):426–434. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2017.1281372 Pubmed PMID: 28198657
  • Brose SW, Bourbeau DJ, Gustafson KJ. Genital nerve stimulation is tolerable and effective for bladder inhibition in sensate individuals with incomplete SCI. J Spinal Cord Med. 2018 Mar;41(2):174–181. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2017.1279817 Pubmed PMID: 28185483
  • Bourbeau DJ, Gustafson KJ, Brose SW. At-home genital nerve stimulation for individuals with SCI and neurogenic detrusor overactivity: A pilot feasibility study. J Spinal Cord Med. 2018 Jan 15;1–11. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2017.1422881 Pubmed PMID: 29334338
  • Brose SW, Montfort J, Gustafson KJ, Mittebrun I, Gauriloff S, Mosher M, Bourbeau DJUltrasound-Guided Steroid Injection of the Pisotriquetral Joint: A Multidisciplinary Effort. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Dec;96(12):904–907. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000773 Pubmed PMID: 28582272
  • Marasco PD, Bourbeau DJ, Shell CE, Granja-Vazquez R, Ina JG. The neural response properties and cortical organization of a rapidly adapting muscle sensory group response that overlaps with the frequencies that elicit the kinesthetic illusion. PLoS One. 2017;12(11):e0188559. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188559 Pubmed PMID: 29182648
  • Bourbeau DJ, Creasey GH, Sidik S, Brose SW, Gustafson KJ. Genital nerve stimulation increases bladder capacity after SCI: A meta-analysis. J Spinal Cord Med. 2017 Feb 15:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2017.1281372. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28198657.
  • Brose SW, Bourbeau DJ, Gustafson KJ. Genital nerve stimulation is tolerable and effective for bladder inhibition in sensate individuals with incomplete SCI. J Spinal Cord Med. 2017 Feb 10:1-8. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2017.1279817. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28185483.
  • Karam R, Bhunia S, Majerus S, Brose SW, Damaser MS, Bourbeau D. Real-time, autonomous bladder event classification and closed-loop control from single-channel pressure data. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2016 Aug;2016:5789-5792. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2016.7592043. PubMed PMID: 28269570.
  • Ho CH, Triolo RJ, Elias AL, Kilgore KL, DiMarco AF, Bogie K, Vette AH, Audu ML, Kobetic R, Chang SR, Chan KM, Dukelow S, Bourbeau DJ, Brose SW, Gustafson KJ, Kiss ZHT, Mushahwar VK. Functional electrical stimulation and spinal cord injury. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2014 Aug;25(3):631–654, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2014.05.001 Pubmed PMID: 25064792
  • Unadkat JV, Bourbeau D, Afrooz PN, Solari MG, Washington KM, Pulikkottil BJ, Weber DJ, Lee WPA. Functional outcomes following multiple acute rejections in experimental vascularized composite allotransplantation. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 May;131(5):720e–30e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182879e85 Pubmed PMID: 23629111
  • Kolarcik CL, Bourbeau D, Azemi E, Rost E, Zhang L, Lagenaur CF, Weber DJ, Cui XT. In vivo effects of L1 coating on inflammation and neuronal health at the electrode-tissue interface in rat spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion. Acta Biomater. 2012 Oct;8(10):3561–3575. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2012.06.034 Pubmed PMID: 22750248

Contact Information:

Contact Name: Dennis Bourbeau
Contact Number: (216) 791-3800 x4845
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