Since I joined the FES Center in 1993, my primary research area has been the restoration of arm function in individuals with paralysis resulting from cervical spinal cord injury, primarily through the use of FNS.

Areas of Interest

  • Using a model of the shoulder adapted to reflect cervical spinal cord injuries to evaluate potential interventions and control strategies.
  • Determining the three dimensional stiffness properties of the arm.
  • Using EMG from voluntary muscles in C5-C6 level injury as control signal for shoulder/elbow prosthesis.
  • Restoring arm movements in individuals with high cervical spinal cord injury.

For more information, visit BrainGate

Research Programs

  • User-based Control of FES-based Standing Neuroprosthesis, Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation, Research and Development Service
  • Restoration of Hand and Arm Function by Functional Neuromuscular Stimulation, National Institutes of Health
  • Controller Development for Upper Limb Movement

Publications (Select)

Entire publication list can be found here.

  • Brandman DM, Hosman T, Saab J, Burkhart MC, Shanahan BE, Ciancibello JG, Sarma AA, Milstein DJ, Vargas-Irwin CE, Franco B, Kelemen J, Blabe C, Murphy BA, Young  DR, Willett FR, Pandarinath C, Stavisky SD, Kirsch RF, Walter BL, Bolu Ajiboye A, Cash SS, Eskandar EN, Miller JP, Sweet JA, Shenoy KV, Henderson JM, Jarosiewicz B, Harrison MT, Simeral JD, Hochberg LR. Rapid calibration of an intracortical brain-computer interface for people with tetraplegia. J Neural Eng. 2018 Apr;15(2):026007. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa9ee7. PubMed PMID: 29363625; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5823702.
  • Young D, Willett F, Memberg WD, Murphy B, Walter B, Sweet J, Miller J, Hochberg LR, Kirsch RF, Ajiboye AB. Signal processing methods for reducing artifacts in microelectrode brain recordings caused by functional electrical stimulation. J Neural Eng. 2018 Apr;15(2):026014. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa9ee8. PubMed PMID: 29199642; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5818316.
  • Willett FR, Murphy BA, Young DR, Memberg WD, Blabe CH, Pandarinath C, Franco B, Saab J, Walter BL, Sweet JA, Miller JP, Henderson JM, Shenoy KV, Simeral JD, Jarosiewicz B, Hochberg LR, Kirsch RF, Ajiboye AB. A Comparison of Intention Estimation Methods for Decoder Calibration in Intracortical Brain-Computer Interfaces. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2017 Dec 14. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2017.2783358. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29989927; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6043406.
  • Jagodnik KM, Thomas PS, van den Bogert AJ, Branicky MS, Kirsch RFTraining an Actor-Critic Reinforcement Learning Controller for Arm Movement Using Human-Generated Rewards. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2017 Oct;25(10):1892-1905. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2017.2700395. Epub 2017 May 2. PubMed PMID: 28475063.
  • Ajiboye AB, Willett FR, Young DR, Memberg WD, Murphy BA, Miller JP, Walter BL, Sweet JA, Hoyen HA, Keith MW, Peckham PH, Simeral JD, Donoghue JP, Hochberg LR, Kirsch RFRestoration of reaching and grasping movements through brain-controlled muscle stimulation in a person with tetraplegia: a proof-of-concept demonstration. Lancet. 2017 May 6;38(10081):1821-1830. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30601-3. Epub 2017 Mar 28. PubMed PMID: 28363483.
  • Willett FR, Murphy BA, Memberg WD, Blabe CH, Pandarinath C, Walter BL, Sweet JA, Miller JP, Henderson JM, Shenoy KV, Hochberg LR, Kirsch RF, Ajiboye AB. Signal-independent noise in intracortical brain-computer interfaces causes movement time properties inconsistent with Fitts’ law. J Neural Eng. 2017 Apr;14(2):026010. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa5990. Epub 2017 Feb 8. PubMed PMID: 28177925; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5371026.
  • Willett FR, Pandarinath C, Jarosiewicz B, Murphy BA, Memberg WD, Blabe CH, Saab J, Walter BL, Sweet JA, Miller JP, Henderson JM, Shenoy KV, Simeral JD, Hochberg LR, Kirsch RF, Ajiboye AB. Feedback control policies employed by people using intracortical brain-computer interfaces. J Neural Eng. 2017 Feb;14(1):016001. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/14/1/016001. Epub 2016 Nov 30. PubMed PMID: 27900953; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5239755.
  • Williams MR, Kirsch RFCase study: Head orientation and neck electromyography for cursor control in persons with high cervical tetraplegia. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(4):519-30. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2014.10.0244. PubMed PMID: 27532681.
  • Jagodnik KM, Blana D, van den Bogert AJ, Kirsch RFAn optimized proportional-derivative controller for the human upper extremity with gravity. J Biomech. 2015 Oct 15;48(13):3692-700. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.08.016. Epub 2015 Aug 29. PubMed PMID: 26358531; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4600679.
  • Liao JY, Kirsch RFVelocity neurons improve performance more than goal or position neurons do in a simulated closed-loop BCI arm-reaching task. Front Comput Neurosci. 2015 Jul 14;9:84. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2015.00084. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26236225; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4500927.
  • Williams MR, Kirsch RF. Evaluation of head orientation and neck muscle EMG signals as three-dimensional command sources. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2015;12:25. doi: 10.1186/s12984-015-0016-6Pubmed PMID: 25881286
  • Lambrecht JM, Kirsch RF. Miniature low-power inertial sensors: promising technology for implantable motion capture systems. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2014 Nov;22(6):1138–1147. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2014.2324825 Pubmed PMID: 24846651
  • Memberg WD, Stage TG, Kirsch RFA fully implanted intramuscular bipolar myoelectric signal recording electrode. Neuromodulation. 2014 Dec;17(8):794–799; discussion 799. doi: 10.1111/ner.12165 Pubmed PMID: 24612356
  • Chadwick EK, Blana D, Kirsch RF, van den Bogert AJ. Real-time simulation of three-dimensional shoulder girdle and arm dynamics. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2014 Jul;61(7):1947–1956. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2014.2309727 Pubmed PMID: 24956613
  • Memberg WD, Polasek KH, Hart RL, Bryden AM, Kilgore KL, Nemunaitis GA, Hoyen HA, Keith MW, Kirsch RFImplanted neuroprosthesis for restoring arm and hand function in people with high level tetraplegia. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jun;95(6):1201–1211.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.028 Pubmed PMID: 24561055
  • Schearer EM, Liao Y-W, Perreault EJ, Tresch MC, Memberg WD, Kirsch RF, Lynch KM. Multi-muscle FES force control of the human arm for arbitrary goals. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2014 May;22(3):654–663. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2013.2282903 Pubmed PMID: 24122573
  • Liao JY, Kirsch RF. Characterizing and predicting submovements during human three-dimensional arm reaches. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(7):e103387. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103387Pubmed PMID: 25057968
  • Blana D, Hincapie JG, Chadwick EK, Kirsch RFSelection of muscle and nerve-cuff electrodes for neuroprostheses using customizable musculoskeletal model. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(3):395–408. Pubmed PMID: 23881765
  • Ajiboye AB, Simeral JD, Donoghue JP, Hochberg LR, Kirsch RFPrediction of imagined single-joint movements in a person with high-level tetraplegia. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2012 Oct;59(10):2755–2765. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2012.2209882 Pubmed PMID: 22851229
  • Solanki S, Kirsch RF. Evaluation of volitional control of hand with vertical force assist device for high tetraplegia. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:1339–1341. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346185 Pubmed PMID: 23366146
  • Pulliam CL, Lambrecht JM, Kirsch RF. User-in-the-loop continuous and proportional control of a virtual prosthesis in a posture matching task. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:3557–3559. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346734 Pubmed PMID: 23366695
  • Nataraj R, Audu ML, Kirsch RF, Triolo RJ. Center of mass acceleration feedback control for standing by functional neuromuscular stimulation: a simulation study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(2):279–296. Pubmed PMID: 22773529
  • Liao JY, Kirsch RF. Predicting the initiation of minimum-jerk submovements in three-dimensional target-oriented human arm trajectories. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:6797–6800. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6347555 Pubmed PMID: 23367490
  • Cornwell AS, Liao JY, Bryden AM, Kirsch RFStandard task set for evaluating rehabilitation interventions for individuals with arm paralysis. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(3):395–403. Pubmed PMID: 22773199
  • Cooman P, Kirsch RF. Control of a time-delayed 5 degrees of freedom arm model for use in upper extremity functional electrical stimulation. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:322–324. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6345934 Pubmed PMID: 23365895


Executive Director
Cleveland FES Center

Chair and Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University

Research Career Scientist and Biomedical Engineer
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Bioscientific Staff, Department of Orthopaedics
MetroHealth Medical Center


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(216) 368-4064

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