Marcie Bockbrader MD PhD

Director of the PM&R NeuroRehabLab

Dr. Bockbrader completed PhD and fellowship training in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, winning competitive positions as a Mellon Fellow in Humanistic Studies and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow. She completed her MD and subsequent residency training in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at The Ohio State University (OSU). She then joined the Ohio State physiatric faculty, becoming a Neurorehabilitation Attending at Dodd Hall, Research Physiatrist for the OSU Neurological Institute, Director of PM&R residency research, and Director of PM&R Neuromodulation and Human Machine Interface Programs.

Education and Training:

  • BA with Honors in Philosophy and Self-Designed Honors Program Major in Logic, Mathematics and Computer Science (magna cum laude), John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH (1991-1996)
  • PhD, Joint degree in Psychological and Brain Sciences & Cognitive Science (minor in Neural Science), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (1996-2003) Advisor: Brian F. O’Donnell
  • Post-doc Fellowship in Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington IN (2003-2004)
  • MD, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH (2004-2009)
  • Internship, Preliminary Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (2009-2010)
  • Residency, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (2010-2013)

Academic Appointment:

  • Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, College of Medicine (2013-) Graduate faculty P/M status within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Science and Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program
  • Member, Executive Committee, Ross Center for Brain Health and Performance (2017-)


  • (2018) Best Paper Award, Faculty, Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting
  • (2017-) NIH-Funded Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program, Association of Academic Physiatrists
  • (2016) Altmetric Top 100 of 2016 – #24 Restoring cortical control of functional movement in a human with quadriplegia
  • (2016) R&D 100 Technology Award (NeuroLife)
  • (2016) R&D 100 Social Responsibility Award (NeuroLife)
  • (2016) R&D 100 Editor’s Choice Awared (NeuroLife)
  • (2016) NT100: Nominet Trust 100 – The world’s most inspiring examples of tech for good (NeuroLife)
  • (2016) 1st Place, Annual BCI Research Award, 6th International Brain-Computer Interface Meeting & G-tec, International 
  • (2015) Best Abstract, International Neuromodulation Society 
  • (2014) Best TBI Research, American Academy of PM&R 76th Annual Assembly
  • (2013-2015) OSU College of Medicine, Faculty Teaching Scholar
  • (2013-2015) Association of Academic Physiatrists, Program for Academic Leadership
  • (2000-2003) American Society for Engineering Education, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship
  • (1998-2002) IU, Cognitive Science Summer Research Awards 
  • (2002) IUPUI/Methodist Hospital, Summer fMRI Research Award
  • (2000-2001) IU Cognitive Science Program, Travel Grants
  • (2000) IU Graduate Student Organization, Research Award 
  • (2000) IU Alumni Fund, College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Student Travel Grant
  • (1999) IU, Graduate School Grant-In-Aid of Dissertation Research
  • (1999) IU, Research & The University Graduate School, Summer Research Team Award 
  • (1996) Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies (Philosophy)
  • (1995) John Carroll University, Paul Johnson, S.J. Award: Outstanding Senior in Philosophy
  • (1994) John Carroll University, Selhurst Award: Outstanding Junior in Philosophy 
  • (1991-1993) John Carroll University, Varsity Basketball & Volleyball and Ohio Athletic Conference All-Conference Academic Team
  • (1991) National Merit Corporate Scholarship & Michigan Congressional Scholarship

Clinical interests: A board certified physiatrist, with subspecialty certification in Brain Injury Medicine, Dr. Bockbrader’s clinical area of expertise is the management of rehabilitation needs of patients with acquired brain and spinal cord injuries (SCI), e.g., from stroke, trauma, or cancer. She is fully trained in neuromodulation techniques to treat pain, depression, and residual impairments after neurologic injury and has an outpatient clinic providing these services. Dr. Bockbrader was named one of the best doctors in America in Castle and Connolly’s Guide to America’s Top Doctors in 2015-2019.

Research interests: Dr. Bockbrader has published on neurorehabilitation technology and cognitive neuroscience techniques translated for use in clinical populations. Her expertise extends to EEG analysis, visual psychophysics, brain-computer interfaces, functional imaging, and NIBS. She has led multiple investigational neurotechnology device trials since 2013, focusing on neuromodulation and brain-computer interface systems to augment rehabilitation outcomes. She has accrued over 30 peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals (e.g., Nature, Nature Medicine, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Scientific Reports, Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, etc.), 50 published abstracts, 20 national or international presentations, several research awards, and 60 posters. Her research has also been featured in popular media.

Dr. Bockbrader’s long-term goal is to improve health and rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with disability through translation of neurotechnology.

A.  Neural Interface Technology and NeuroLife® Clinical Trial: Dr. Bockbrader has served as the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation lead on a brain-computer interface (BCI) trial with functional electrical stimulation (FES) for SCI (NCT01997125; 1-8) since 2013. She transitioned into the role of principal investigator (PI) and FDA investigational device exemption holder in 2017. Her lab showed that BCI-FES use provided clinically significant gains in grasp to the user (1) and published the first report (2) of an implanted, cortical BCI to control grasp function of paralyzed human’s own limb through transcutaneous FES. Her team explored machine learning methods to optimize BCI function according to user priorities (3) and demonstrated the potential versatility of a modular BCI (4). The team also extended upper limb motor control findings to show control of rhythmic movements (5), proportional muscle activation (6), and manual dexterity for object manipulation (1, 7, 8). Dr. Bockbrader developed and conducted experiments assessing motor function using the NeuroLife orthotic, ran the clinical lab where the device was used, performed data analysis, reported and presented results, provided clinical oversight of patients, was the graduate thesis advisor of several authors (Dunlap, Colachis).

  1. M. Bockbrader. “Upper limb sensorimotor restoration through brain-computer interface technology in tetraparesis” Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering 2019 doi: 10.1016/j.cobme.2019.09.002
  2. C. Dunlap, L. Bird, I. Burkhart, K. Eipel, S. Colachis, R. Franklin, M. Gerhardt, A. Ravindran, A. Hassani, D. Filev, F. Solzbacher, M. Bockbrader. “Towards a Brain-Machine Interface for Intelligent Vehicle Systems Control – A CARLA Demonstration” IEEE System, Man, and Cybernetics. 2019 (In press)
  3. Ganzer PD, Colachis SC, Swiftney CE, Schwemmer MA, Friedenberg DA, Jacobowitz AF, Zhang M, Weber DJ, Bockbrader MA$, Sharma G$ “Augmenting Quadriplegic Hand Function Using a Sensorimotor Demultiplexing Neural Interface”
  4. M. Hackney, L. Worthen-Chaudhari, A. Abraham, M. Bockbrader. “Motor-cognitive interaction: The role and measurement of engagement” Brain, Body, Cognition 2018;8(3):251-265.
  5. M. Bockbrader*, N. Annetta, D. Friedenberg, M. Schwemmer, N. Skomrock, S. Colachis, M. Zhang, C. Bouton, A. Rezai, G. Sharma, W. J. Mysiw. “Clinically significant gains in skillful grasp coordination by an individual with tetraplegia using an implanted brain-computer interface with forearm transcutaneous muscle stimulation” Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Mar 20;pii: S0003-9993(19)30163-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2018.07.445. PMID 30902630 [Epub ahead of print]
  6. C. Bouton*, A. Shaikhouni, N. V. Annetta, M. Bockbrader, D. Friedenberg, D. Nielson, G. Sharma, P. Sederberg , B. Glenn, W. J. Mysiw, A. Morgan, M. Deogaonkar, A. Rezai*. “Restoring Cortical Control of Functional Movement in a Human with Quadriplegia”, Nature. April 13, 2016;533(7602):247-50. doi: 10.1038/nature17435. PMID 27074513
  7. M. A. Schwemmer, N. D. Skomrock, P. B. Sederberg, J. E. Ting, G. Sharma, M. A. Bockbrader*, D. A. Friedenberg*. “Meeting brain-computer interface user performance expectations using a deep neural network decoding framework” Nat Med. 2018 Nov;24(11):1669-1676. doi:10.1038/s41591-018-0171-y. PMID 30250141
  8. C. Dunlap, L. Bird, I. Burkhart, K. Eipel, S. Colachis, R. Franklin, M. Gerhardt, A. Ravindran, A. Hassani, D. Filev*, F. Solzbacher*, M. Bockbrader*. “Towards a Brain-Machine Interface for Intelligent Vehicle Systems Control – A CARLA Demonstration” IEEE System, Man, and Cybernetics (under review)
  9. G. Sharma, D. A. Friedenberg, N. Annetta, B. Glenn, M. Bockbrader, C. Majstorovic, S. Domas, W. J. Mysiw, A. Rezai*, C. Bouton*. “Using an Artificial Neural Bypass to Restore Cortical Control of Rhythmic Movements in a Human with Quadriplegia” Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 23;6:33807. doi: 10.1038/srep33807. PMID 27658585
  10. D. A. Friedenberg*, N. V. Annetta, A. Landgraf, M. Schwemmer, M. A. Bockbrader, C. E. Bouton, M. Zhang, A. R. Rezai, W. J. Mysiw, H. S. Bresler, G. Sharma. “Neuroprosthetic-enabled control of graded arm muscle contraction in a paralyzed human” Sci Rep. 2017 August 16;7:8386. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-08120-92017. PMID 28827605
  11. S. C. Colachis IV, M. A. Bockbrader*, M. Zhang, D. A. Friedenberg, N. V. Annetta, M. A. Schwemmer, N. D. Skomrock, W. J. Mysiw, A. R. Rezai, H. S. Bresler, G. Sharma*. “Dexterous Control of Seven Functional Hand Movements Using Cortically-Controlled Transcutaneous Muscle Stimulation in a Person with Tetraplegia” Front Neurosci. 2018;12(208). doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00208. PMID 29670506
  12. N. Annetta, J. Friend, A. Schimmoeller, V. Buck, D. Friedenberg, C. Bouton, M. Bockbrader*, P. Ganzer, S. Colachis, M. Zhang, W. J. Mysiw, A. Rezai, G. Sharma*. “A high definition non-invasive neuromuscular electrical stimulation system for cortical control of combinatorial rotary hand movements in a human with tetraplegia” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Apr 2019, 66(4):910-919. (Online: Aug 2018), doi: 10.1109/TBME.2018.2864104 PMID 30106673

B. Clinical Applications of Data Science and Cognitive Neuroscience Methods: Dr. Bockbrader’s graduate work in the O’Donnell Human Psychophysics and Electrophysiology Lab at IU pioneered the application of quantitative time series methods (e.g., phase-locking, signal to noise, frequency analyses) to understand neurological abnormalities in clinical disorders. Her lab also used cognitive neuroscience techniques (human electrophysiology, neuroimaging, computerized psychophysical testing, neuropsychological and personality assessment) applied to clinical populations. Time series methods were used to better characterize the electrophysiological abnormalities to sensory stimuli among individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (1, 2). Her lab showed that cognitive and sensory impairments were related to timing abnormalities in brain circuits, most likely dysfunction at the NMDA receptor. Her OSU BCI group has subsequently used similar methods to describe the changes in neural quality over time obtained from chronically implanted electrode arrays in humans (3), and used this analysis to optimize neural feature extraction for stable brain-computer interface function (4). Work completed at IU also showed that individuals with brain circuit abnormalities had cognitive and visual system dysfunction (5-11).

  1. G. Krishnan, J. Vohs, W. Hetrick, C. Carroll, A. Shekhar, M. Bockbrader, B. O’Donnell*. “Steady state visual evoked potential abnormalities in schizophrenia” Clin Neurophysiol. Mar 2005;116(3):614-624. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2004.09.016. PMID 15721075
  2. B. F. O’Donnell*, M. A. Wilt, C. Brenner, T.A. Busey, J. S. Kwon. “EEG Synchronization Deficits in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders”, International Congress Series. 2002,1232:697-703.
  3. M. Zhang, M. A. Schwemmer, J. E. Ting, C. E. Majstorovic, D. A. Friedenberg, M. A. Bockbrader, W. J. Mysiw, A. R. Rezai, N. V. Annetta, C. E. Bouton*, H. S. Bresler, G. Sharma*. “Extracting chronically stable features from intracortical recordings for robust BCI applications in a paralyzed human” Bioelectronic Medicine. Online31 July 2018 (Dec 2018);4:11. doi:10.1186/s42234-018-0011-x
  4. N. D. Skomrock, M. A. Schwemmer, J. E. Ting, H. Trivedi, G. Sharma, M. A. Bockbrader*, D. A. Friedenberg*. “A Characterization of Brain-computer Interface Performance Trade-offs using Support Vector Machines and Deep Neural Networks to Decode Movement Intent ” Front Neurosc. October-24 2018;12(763). doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00763. PMID 30459542
  5. A. N. Snyder, M. A. Bockbrader, A. M. Hoffa, M. A. Dzemidzic, T. M. Talavage, D. Wong, M. J. Lowe, B. O’Donnell, A. Shekhar*. “Psychometrically matched tasks evaluating differential fMRI activation during forms and motion processing” Neuropsychology. September 2011;25(5):622-633. doi: 10.1037/a0022984. PMID 21534685
  6. C. A. Brenner, M. A. Wilt(Bockbrader), P. H. Lysaker, A. Koyfman, B. F. O’Donnell*. “Psychometrically matched visual processing tasks in schizophrenia spectrum disorders” J Abnorm Psychol. Feb 2003,112(1):28-37. PMID 12653411
  7. C. A. Brenner, P. H. Lysaker, M. A. Wilt(Bockbrader), B. F. O’Donnell*. “Visual processing and neuropsychological function in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder”, Psychiatry Research. Aug 2002,111(2-3):125-136. PMID: 12374630
  8. K. M. Camisa, M. A. Wilt(Bockbrader)*, P. H. Lysaker, L. L. Rae, C. A. Brenner, B. F. O’Donnell*. “Personality traits in schizophrenia and related personality disorders” Psychiatry Res. Jan 2005;133(1):23-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2004.09.002. PMID 15698674
  9. P. H. Lysaker*, M. A. Wilt(Bockbrader), C. D. Plascek-Hallberg, C. Brenner, C. A. Clements. “Personality dimensions in schizophrenia: associations with symptoms and coping”, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Feb 2003,191(2):80-86. DOI:10.1097/01.NMD.0000050936.81128.5B PMID: 12586960
  10. R. A. Davis(O’Bryan Cavanaugh), M. A. Bockbrader, R. R. Murphy, W. P. Hetrick, B. F. O’Donnell*. “Subjective perceptual distortions and visual system dysfunction in children with autism” J Autism Dev Disord. Feb 2006;36(2):199-210. doi:10.1007/s10803-005-0055-0. PMID 16453070
  11. B. F. O’Donnell*, M. A. Wilt(Bockbrader), A. M. Hake, J. C. Stout, S. C. Kirkwood, T. Foroud*. “Visual function in Huntington’s Disease patients and presymptomatic gene carriers” Journal of Movement Disorders. Sept 2003,18(9):1027-34. DOI: 10.1002/mds.10491 PMID: 14502670

C. Clinical applications of neurotechnologies in rehabilitation: Dr. Bockbrader works with a multidisciplinary team incorporating technology-based interventions with traditional therapies to facilitate engagement, satisfaction and efficiency of rehabilitation for neurological deficits. Her group has established feasibility for augmenting traditional therapies with neurogaming and demonstrated its potential to increase therapeutic movement dose (1), developed and tested a mobile health app for concussion in adolescents (2), created a virtual reality (VR) tool to prepare patients for community re-entry activities (3), and received an internal pilot grant to develop VR biofeedback to enhance mindfulness practices to treat pain and anxiety (4). She has also served as site PI on industry-sponsored Phase III investigational device trials for neuromodulation (5).

  1. L. Worthen-Chaudhari*, C. N. Whalen, C. Swendal, M. Bockbrader, S. Haserodt, R. Smith, M. K. Bruce, W. J. Mysiw. “A Feasibility Study Using Interactive Graphic Art Feedback to Augment Acute Neurorehabilitation Therapy” NeuroRehabilitation, March 2013;33(3):481-90. doi:10.3233/NRE-130981. PMID 23949079
  2. L. Worthen-Chaudhari, J. McGonigal, K. Logan, M. A. Bockbrader, K. O. Yeates, W. J. Mysiw. “Reducing concussion symptoms among teenage youth: evaluation of a mobile health app.” Brain Inj. 2017 Jun 30;31(10):1279-86. doi:10.1080/02699052.2017.1332388. PMID 28665690
  3. February, 2018: Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. S. Bavishi*, M. Bockbrader*, T. Shannon, C. Kane, M. Kline-Switzer, M. Mersy, J. Sartin. “Use of Virtual Reality in Inpatient Rehabilitation Settings to Facilitate Community Re‐Entry Activities.” Am J Phys Med Rehabil. Mar 2017;97(3Suppl):a102.
  4. Ohio State University Chronic Brain Injury Discovery Themes Pilot Grant 2018-2019: “Impact of Virtual Reality on Adherence to Mindfulness Practices: A Proof-of Concept Randomized Controlled Trial”. Purpose is to develop and test VR biofeedback for autonomic nervous system regulation. PI: Bockbrader. Co-I’s: S. Melsop, R. Prakesh, L. Worthen-Chaudhari     $25,000
  5. R. L. Harvey, D. Edwards, K. Dunning, F. Fregni, J. Stein, J. Laine, F. Vox, A. Durand-Sanchez, M. Bockbrader, L. B. Goldstein, G. E. Francisco, C. L. Kinney, C. Y. Liu, on behalf of the NICHE Trial Investigators. Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial of Navigated Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Motor Recovery in Stroke: The NICHE Trial. Stroke, Sept 2018, 49(9):2138-46. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.020607 PMID 30354990

Clinical Education and Training Interests: Dr. Bockbrader is Director of research for the OSU PM&R residency training program. She has championed training and use of neuromodulation in the clinical setting and also established the PM&R musculoskeletal ultrasound training program at her institution.

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (US) education: Dr. Bockbrader serves as lead PM&R physician in an interdisciplinary musculoskeletal US Community of Practice at Ohio State, whose goal is to develop educational material for medical student, resident and faculty training. Her group has conducted educational research (1-3), developed curricula and competency Milestones (1) for the PM&R residency program, led conference workshops, and published teaching materials (4).

  1. M. Bockbrader*, R. Thompson, D. P. Way, S. C. Colachis, I. J. Siddiqui, J. Luz, J. Borg-Stein, K. O’Connor, M. J. Kohler, D. P. Bahner*. “Towards a consensus for neuromuscular ultrasound education in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: A national poll of residency directors” Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Apr. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001195. PMID 30985303 [Epub ahead of print]
  2. B. J. Walrod*, L. C. Boucher, M. J. Conroy, K. L. McKamey, C. A. Hartz, D. P. Way, M. A. Jonesco, S. Albrechta, M. Bockbrader, D. P. Bahner*. “Beyond bones: Ultrasound-enhanced instruction of soft-tissue musculoskeletal structures for first-year medical students” J Ultrasound Med. 2018 Dec 18. doi: 10.1002/jum.14894. PMID 30561028 [Epub ahead of print]
  3. B. Walrod*, A. Schroeder, M. Conroy, L. Boucher, M. Bockbrader, D. Way, D. Bahner. “Does ultrasound-enhanced instruction of musculoskeletal anatomy improve physical examination skills of first-year medical students?” J Ultrasound Med. 2018 Jan;37(1):225-32. 2017 [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1002/jum.14322 PMID 28795411
  4. D. P. Bahner*, J. M. Blickendorf, M. Bockbrader, E. Adkins, A. Vira, C. Boulger, A. R. Panchal. “Language of Transducer Manipulation: Codifying Terms for Effective Teaching” J Ultrasound Med. 2016 Jan;35(1):183-8. doi:10.7863/ultra.15.02036. PMID 26679204
  5. I. J Siddiqui, J. Luz, J. Borg-Stein, K. O’Connor, M. Bockbrader, H. Rainey, D. Way, S. Colachis, D. P. Bahner*, M. J. Kohler*. “The Current State of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Education in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Programs” PM R. 2016 Jul;8(7):660-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.11.010. PMID 26690020