We have, thus far, focused on utilizing functional neuroimaging to discern substrates of movement control and movement relearning-related plasticity in a post-stroke brain to draw upon their significance for rehabilitation.

Furthermore, using noninvasive brain stimulation, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), we have explored ways to harness plasticity within implicated substrates to promote recovery in stoke.

Our interdisciplinary research team that includes biomedical engineers, physical therapists and neurologists, is using state of the art neuroimaging techniques to study neuroplasticity in response to rehabilitation. We are developing new approaches to boost recovery through the use of non-invasive brain stimulation, e.g. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).

Therefore, the two main research directions are in:

  • Characterizing brain plasticity that drives recovery of sensory and motor function following brain injury and stroke.
  • Developing methods to enhance functional recovery after stroke by non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS or tDCS) of viable brain areas to facilitate restorative neuroplasticity.

Research Programs

  • Clinical Trials in Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Brain Stimulation – Upper Limb Sensory Rehabilitation in Chronic Stroke
  • Brain Stimulation – Gait Recovery in Chronic Stroke
  • Upper limb Rehabilitation after stroke and traumatic brain injury using a myoelectrically control orthotic device
  • Brain Stimulation – Upper limb in chronic Spinal cord injury
  • Structural and Functional Brain Changes During Rehabilitation After Stroke
  • Clinical Trials in Stroke Prevention and Acute Stroke

Publications (Select)

Entire publication list can be found here.

  • Pundik S, Scoco A, Skelly M, McCabe JP, Daly JJ. Greater Cortical Thickness Is Associated With Enhanced Sensory Function After Arm Rehabilitation in Chronic Stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2018 Jun;32(6–7):590–601. doi: 10.1177/1545968318778810 Pubmed PMID: 29888642
  • Sajatovic M, Tatsuoka C, Welter E, Colon-Zimmermann K, Blixen C, Perzynski AT, Amato S, Cage J, Sams J, Moore SM, Pundik S, Sundararajan S, Modlin C, Sila C. A Targeted Self-Management Approach for Reducing Stroke Risk Factors in African American Men Who Have Had a Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack. Am J Health Promot. 2018 Feb;32(2):282–293. doi: 10.1177/0890117117695218 Pubmed PMID: 28530142
  • Kaddumukasa MN, Katabira E, Sajatovic M, Pundik S, Kaddumukasa M, Goldstein LB. Influence of Dietary Salt Knowledge, Perceptions, and Beliefs on Consumption Choices after Stroke in Uganda. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2017 Dec;26(12):2935–2942. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2017.07.016 Pubmed PMID: 28807485
  • Kaddumukasa MN, Katabira E, Sajatovic M, Pundik S, Kaddumukasa M, Goldstein LB. Influence of sodium consumption and associated knowledge on poststroke hypertension in Uganda. Neurology. 2016 Sep 20;87(12):1198-205. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003117. Epub 2016 Aug 24. PubMed PMID: 27558374; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5035979.
  • Potter-Baker KA, Bonnett CE, Chabra P, Roelle S, Varnerin N, Cunningham DA, Sankarasubramanian V, Pundik S, Conforto AB, Machado AG, Plow EB. Challenges in Recruitment for the Study of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation in Stroke: Lessons from Deep Brain Stimulation. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2016 Feb 2. pii: S1052-3057(16)00011-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2015.12.044. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26851211.
  • Kaddumukasa M, Kayima J, Kaddumukasa MN, Ddumba E, Mugenyi L, Pundik S, Furlan AJ, Sajatovic M, Katabira E. Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of stroke: a cross-sectional survey in rural and urban Uganda. BMC Res Notes. 2015 Dec 26;8(1):819. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1820-6. PubMed PMID: 26708348; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4691295.
  • Potter-Baker KA, Bonnett CE, Chabra P, Roelle S, Varnerin N, Cunningham DA, Sankarasubramanian V, Pundik S, Conforto AB, Machado A, Plow EB. A game of hide and seek: Is it possible to recruit more patients for NIBS studies in stroke? J Neurol Sci. 2015 Nov 15;358(1-2):472-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.08.030. Epub 2015 Aug 21. PubMed PMID: 26320611; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4629798.
  • McCabe J, Monkiewicz M, Holcomb J, Pundik S, Daly JJ. Comparison of robotics, functional electrical stimulation, and motor learning methods for treatment of persistent upper extremity dysfunction after stroke: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Jun;96(6):981–990. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.10.022 Pubmed PMID: 25461822
  • Blixen C, Perzynski A, Cage J, Smyth K, Moore S, Sila C, Pundik S,Sajatovic M. Using focus groups to inform the development of stroke recovery and prevention programs for younger African-American (AA) men. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2015 Jun;22(3):221–230. doi: 10.1179/1074935714Z.0000000006 Pubmed PMID: 26084323
  • Fang Y, Daly JJ, Hansley J, Yao WX, Yang Q, Sun J, Hvorat K, Pundik S, Yue GH. Hemispheric Activation during Planning and Execution Phases in Reaching post Stroke: A consort study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jan;94(3):e307. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000307 Pubmed PMID: 25621675
  • Kaddumukasa M, Katabira E, Salata RA, Costa MA, Ddumba E, Furlan A, Kakooza-Mwesige A, Kamya MR, Kayima J, Longenecker CT, Mayanja-Kizza H, Mondo C, Moore S, Pundik S, Sewankambo N, Simon DI, Smyth KA, Sajatovic M. Global medical education partnerships to expand specialty expertise: a case report on building neurology clinical and research capacity. Hum Resour Health. 2014 Dec 30;12(1):75. doi: 10.1186/1478-4491-12-75 Pubmed PMID: 25547168
  • McCabe J, Monkiewicz M, Holcomb J, Pundik S, Daly JJ. Comparison of Robotics, Functional Electrical Stimulation, and Motor Learning Methods for Treatment of Persistent Upper Extremity Dysfunction After Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Nov 15; doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.10.022 Pubmed PMID: 25461822
  • Blixen C, Perzynski A, Cage J, Smyth K, Moore S, Sila C, Pundik S,Sajatovic M. Stroke recovery and prevention barriers among young african-american men: potential avenues to reduce health disparities. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2014 Oct;21(5):432–442. doi: 10.1310/tsr2105-432 Pubmed PMID: 25341388
  • Pundik S, Falchook AD, McCabe J, Litinas K, Daly JJ. Functional Brain Correlates of Upper Limb Spasticity and Its Mitigation following Rehabilitation in Chronic Stroke Survivors. Stroke Res Treat. 2014;2014:306325. doi: 10.1155/2014/306325 Pubmed PMID: 25101190
  • Daly JJ, Hrovat K, Holcomb J, Pundik S. Brain control of functional reach in healthy adults and stroke survivors. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2014;32(5):559–573. doi: 10.3233/RNN-130361Pubmed PMID: 24613940
  • Pundik S, Xu K, Sundararajan S. Reperfusion brain injury: focus on cellular bioenergetics. Neurology. 2012 Sep 25;79(13 Suppl 1):S44–51. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182695a14 Pubmed PMID: 23008411
  • Pundik S, Holcomb J, McCabe J, Daly JJ. Enhanced life-role participation in response to comprehensive gait training in chronic-stroke survivors. Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(18):1535–1539. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2011.650308 Pubmed PMID: 22324654


Cleveland FES Center

Stroke Neurologist
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Medical Director, Stroke Program
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University


Program Contact
Svetlana Pundik

Contact Number
(216) 791-3800 x 63732

Contact Email

Research Program Assistant
Jessica McCabe

Contact Number
(216) 791-3800 x 63830

Contact Email