Maria del Mar Cortes, MD
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Rehabilitation Medicine
Research Topics:Neurology, Neuromodulation, Neurophysiology, Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord
Dr. Cortes joined the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the summer of 2018. Most recently, she was Director of the Human Spinal Cord Injury Repair Laboratory at Burke Neurological Institute and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The primary goals of Dr. Cortes’s research are to understand neural plasticity and its clinical implications and to develop novel individualized rehabilitation strategies to promote motor recovery and improve quality of life for patients with mobility impairment.
Her studies focus on how the brain is connected to the spinal cord and how the descending motor commands are conducted, processed and executed along the central nervous system axes to perform specific movements. She is especially interested in promoting spinal cord plasticity after an injury by facilitating the function of the spared connections.
Dr. Cortes investigates how to activate, modulate and reorganize brain and spinal networks in order to restore motor function in people affected by neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injury or stroke. In her studies, Dr. Cortes couples state-of-the-art robotic technology and non-invasive brain and spinal stimulation techniques to understand the mechanisms of motor dysfunction and improve motor control.
Fellowship, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
MD, University of Pais Vasco
Research Fellow, Burke Neurological Institute
Resident, Bellvitge University Hospital
Young Investigator Award
Neurotrauma Travel Grant
Mar Cortes’s research focus is to understand the physiological mechanisms underlying motor dysfunction in humans after spinal cord injury (SCI) and to explore and devise new rehabilitation strategies to improve motor recovery. Her approach for investigating these concepts involves coupling state-of-the-art robotic technology with brain and spinal non-invasive stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Dr. Cortes’s research aims to investigate the functional connections between the brain and the spinal cord and to understand how the descending motor commands are conducted, processed and executed along the central and peripheral nervous system axis to perform voluntary movements. She is passionate about investigating methods for promoting spinal cord plasticity after an injury, by facilitating the function of the spared connections and promoting functional recovery with robotic training in the upper and lower extremity. She studies the adaptations in motor cortex (TMS mapping) and spinal cord circuits (H-reflex) during the acquisition of novel motor skills in the upper and lower extremities during motor skill learning using established robot technology protocols. In summary, Dr Cortes investigates how to activate, modulate and reorganize brain and spinal networks in order to restore motor function in humans with injuries of the spinal cord. A better understanding of neuronal mechanisms that underlie motor recovery after injury to the spinal cord promises better outcomes from rehabilitation. Research focus: * Spinal cord injury recovery * Brain and spinal plasticity * Neuromodulation * TMS mapping and cortical reorganization *Neuropathic pain * Robotic Rehabilitation