Education and background:
Parag graduated from Mumbai University, Mumbai, India in 2008 with a Bachelors in Engineering in Biomedical Engineering. In the fall of 2008, he started grad school at UCLA working under Dr. V Reggie Edgerton towards his masters and PhD. in Biomedical Engineering. He received his masters and PhD in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Both his masters and PhD. theses were focused on locomotion rehabilitation and improvement in bladder function using epidural spinal cord stimulation after paralysis. Parag has been working as an assistant researcher at UCLA in the department of Integrative Biology and Physiology under Dr. V Reggie Edgerton’s guidance.
Parag’s main research focus is integration of medical devices, engineering skills and physiology. He have been working at UCLA for over seven years on various studies involving locomotion rehabilitation after spinal cord injury and recently demonstrated a method for determining the pharmacological footprint effect on the spinal circuitry for a given pharmacological agent, to facilitate locomotion after paralysis. This technique will prove to be extremely valuable in determining the mechanisms through which different pharmacological agents facilitate or inhibit motor function after paralysis.
His current area of focus involves studying the effect of chronic subthreshold spinal cord stimulation on locomotor ability after a complete spinal cord injury. So far he have demonstrated that supplemental stimulation over a period of hours significantly increases the amount of activity of paralyzed rats when they remain in their normal cage. The significance of this observation is that it demonstrates that a level of stimulation that is essentially undetectable by the animal is sufficient to enable the animal to be much more active and to perform more effective motor tasks such as standing and stepping. This effect is very important because it essentially demonstrates that a very modest level of epidural spinal stimulation can basically serve as a means of training the spinal circuitry to improve function just by performing spontaneous daily activities.
More recently he published a paper which shows for the first time a specific and unique method of neuromodulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord that can immediately initiate bladder emptying in rats after a complete spinal transection. This differs from previous efforts to stimulate this function because it does not involve surgical disruption of sensory input to the bladder, but in fact takes full advantage of this sensory information. We recently started a very successful collaboration with Dr. Wentai Liu at UCLA exploring the opportunities to of MEMs technology, bioelectronics and its applications in neurorehabilitation. Overall, with his background in biomedical engineering and training in physiological sciences and spinal cord injury, his research has been instrumental in designing and implementation of implantable electrode arrays used for stimulation and recording from the spinal cord and developing rehabilitative strategies to facilitate locomotion and bladder function after paralysis.
Development of a multi-electrode array for spinal cord epidural stimulation and recording to facilitate stepping and standing.
Self-training after paralysis with chronic, subliminal neuromodulation and recording of spinal sensorimotor networks.
Neuromodulation of motor-evoked potentials during stepping and standing.
Iron ‘ElectriRx’ Man: Overground Stepping in an Exoskeleton Combined with Noninvasive Spinal Cord Stimulation after Paralysis.
Interests outside the lab:
During his free time, Parag enjoys spending time in the outdoors. He is a qualified white water rafting guide, a trained archer and shooter, an experienced high altitude hiker and nature photographer.
Gad, Parag, Jonathan Woodbridge, Igor Lavrov, Hui Zhong, Roland R. Roy, Majid Sarrafzadeh, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Forelimb EMG-based trigger to control an electronic spinal bridge to enable hindlimb stepping after a complete spinal cord lesion in rats.” J Neuroeng Rehabil 9, no. 1 (2012): 38.
Gad, Parag, Jaehoon Choe, Mandheerej Singh Nandra, Hui Zhong, Roland R. Roy, Yu-Chong Tai, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Development of a multi-electrode array for spinal cord epidural stimulation to facilitate stepping and standing after a complete spinal cord injury in adult rats.” Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation 10, no. 1 (2013): 2.
Gad, Parag, Igor Lavrov, Prithvi Shah, Hui Zhong, Roland R. Roy, V. Reggie Edgerton, and Yury Gerasimenko. “Neuromodulation of motor-evoked potentials during stepping in spinal rats.” Journal of neurophysiology 110, no. 6 (2013): 1311-1322.
Shah, Prithvi K., Guillermo Garcia-Alias, Jaehoon Choe, Parag Gad, Yury Gerasimenko, Niranjala Tillakaratne, Hui Zhong, Roland R. Roy, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Use of quadrupedal step training to re-engage spinal interneuronal networks and improve locomotor function after spinal cord injury.” Brain 136, no. 11 (2013): 3362-3377.
Gad, Parag, Jaehoon Choe, Prithvi Shah, Guillermo Garcia-Alias, Mrinal Rath, Yury Gerasimenko, Hui Zhong, Roland R. Roy, and Victor Reggie Edgerton. “Sub-threshold spinal cord stimulation facilitates spontaneous motor activity in spinal rats.” J Neuroeng Rehabil 10 (2013): 108.
Lo, Yi-Kai, Kuanfu Chen, Parag Gad, and Wentai Liu. “A fully-integrated high-compliance voltage SoC for epi-retinal and neural prostheses.” Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on 7, no. 6 (2013): 761-772.
Gad, Parag N., Roland R. Roy, Hui Zhong, Daniel C. Lu, Yury P. Gerasimenko, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Initiation of bladder voiding with epidural stimulation in paralyzed, step trained rats.” (2014): e108184.
Chang, Chih-Wei, Yi-Kai Lo, Parag Gad, Reggie Edgerton, and Wentai Liu. “Design and fabrication of a multi-electrode array for spinal cord epidural stimulation.” In Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2014 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE, pp. 6834-6837. IEEE, 2014.
Lo, Yi-Kai, Kuanfu Chen, Parag Gad, and Wenxin Liu. “An On-Chip Multi-Voltage Power Converter With Leakage Current Prevention Using 0.18 m High-Voltage CMOS Process.” (2015).
Gad, Parag, Roland R. Roy, Jaehoon Choe, Jack Creagmile, Hui Zhong, Yury Gerasimenko, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Electrophysiological biomarkers of neuromodulatory strategies to recover motor function after spinal cord injury.”Journal of neurophysiology 113, no. 9 (2015): 3386-3396.
Gad, Parag, Roland R. Roy, Jaehoon Choe, Hui Zhong, Mandheeraj Singh Nandra, Yu-Chong Tai, Yury Gerasimenko, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Electrophysiological mapping of rat sensorimotor lumbosacral spinal networks after complete paralysis.” Progress in brain research 218 (2015): 199-212.
Desautels, Thomas, Jaehoon Choearag Gad, Parag Gad, Mandheerej Nandra, Roland Roy, Hui Zhong, Yu-Chong Tai, V. Edgerton, and Joel Burdick. “An Active Learning Algorithm for Control of Epidural Electrostimulation.” (2015).
Gerasimenko, Yury, Daniel Lu, Morteza Modaber, Sharon Zdunowski, Parag Gad, Dimitry Sayenko, Erika Morikawa et al. “Noninvasive Reactivation of Motor Descending Control after Paralysis.” Journal of neurotrauma (2015).
Gerasimenko, Yury, Ruslan Gorodnichev, Tatiana Moshonkina, Dimitry Sayenko, Parag Gad, and V. Reggie Edgerton. “Transcutaneous electrical spinal-cord stimulation in humans.” Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (2015).
Awards and fellowships:
2012 – Best poster/abstract, UCLA tech forum
2012 – BRI/Semel Institute Neuroscience Graduate Student Travel Award
2012/2011 – Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology fellowship
2011 – Eureka Fellowship
2009 – International Award for Young People, Silver Standard