Dr. Jacob McPherson holds a BS in Applied Sciences/Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. He completed post-doctoral fellowships in Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and in Physical Therapy and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. McPherson has been an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University since 2015. At FIU, Dr. McPherson directs the Plasticity, Monoamines, and Recovery of Function Laboratory, which conducts pre-clinical and clinical neurological rehabilitation, neurophysiology, and neural engineering research with a focus on spinal cord injury and stroke rehabilitation.

Research Interests

Dr. McPherson’s research attempts to elucidate fundamental neuropathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to motor and sensory impairments following injury to the central nervous system, with the ultimate goal of ameliorating the deleterious effects of these conditions. His research spans both pre-clinical (i.e., animal) and clinical (i.e., human) neural engineering and neuropathophysiology, and includes investigations of motor and sensory function before, during, and after neuroprosthetic, pharmacological, and physical therapy-based interventions.

Current efforts focus on leveraging the differential effects of brainstem neuromodulatory centers on spinal motor and sensory circuits to gain insights into the mechanisms underlying neurological impairments. Topics of particular interest within this area include:

  • Pathologies: stroke, spinal cord injury, whiplash associated disorders, and chronic pain.
  • Physiology: neuromodulation (chemical and electrical), cortical and spinal reorganization, function and integrity of motor and sensory pathways post-injury, and activity-dependent neural plasticity.
  • Techniques: robotics/quantification of motor deficits, biophysical signal processing, recurrent neural-computer interfaces, neuropharmacology, physical therapy, electrical stimulation of the central nervous system, magnetic resonance imaging.