Bokkyu Kim, PT, PhD
Brain Structural Plasticity
Motor Control and Motor Learning
ASSOCIATIONS / MEMBERSHIPS
My research aims to expand our understanding of the brain-behavior relationship. However, my research is not just solving our scientific curiosity regarding the brain, but also contributing to improving the efficacy of physical therapy interventions for individuals with neurologic disorders, such as stroke. My research focuses on bedside-to-home translational research to provide direct evidence of physical therapy intervention for people with sensorimotor deficits due to neurological disorders.
Project 1. The brain-behavior relationship in motor learning
My research includes functional and structural neuroimaging studies to advance our knowledge of the brain-behavior relationship. Specifically, I conduct motor learning studies with non-disabled adults and stroke survivors to determine how motor skill practice induces brain structural and functional changes that are associated with motor learning in both non-disabled adults and individuals after stroke. I investigate experience-dependent neuroplasticity using functional and structural neuroimaging methods and also neurophysiological assessments. In detail, I utilize graph theory-based brain network analysis to investigate how brain structural and functional connectivity changes are associated with motor skill learning. I also use neurophysiological assessment, such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate how brain functional connectivity will affect improvement in motor behavior after an intensive upper extremity motor skill training in non-disabled adults and stroke survivors. This research will unravel brain-behavior relationship to enhance motor skill learning in non-disabled adults and individuals with neurologic disorders.
Project 2. Development of an accurate prognosis of post-stroke sensorimotor recovery
My research aims to develop a robust and accurate predictive model for post-stroke sensorimotor recovery using clinical outcome scores and neurological biomarkers derived from neuroimaging assessments. It is estimated that direct and indirect costs of stroke healthcare in 2030 will be about $ 70 billion dollars. Best way to reducing the stroke healthcare costs is to develop an accurate prognosis of sensorimotor recovery after stroke. Improving prognosis of sensorimotor recovery will help therapists to set realistic and achievable rehabilitation goals and to choose the most optimal therapeutic approach for each post-stroke individual. Thus, my research will contribute to reducing costs of stroke healthcare. Prognosis research project is about the development of multimodal prediction model for functional recovery after stroke. For this research project, I will utilize stroke neuroimaging data depositories. There are several stroke neuroimaging data depositories that I can access to more than a thousand of stroke structural/functional neuroimaging data and clinical outcome measures. These data depositories allow me to perform meta-analysis study to develop an accurate prediction model for functional recovery after stroke. Using large stroke neuroimaging and clinical outcome data, I will be able to develop a more accurate multimodal prediction model using machine learning-based multivariate modeling approaches. Results from this meta-analysis study will be used for developing new hypotheses and writing extramural research grants.
Project 3. Determine neural mechanisms underlying post-stroke sensorimotor recovery
My research also aims to expand our understanding of neural mechanisms underlying post-stroke recovery. It is important to understand underlying neural mechanisms of sensorimotor recovery after stroke. Advance in neuroimaging and neurophysiological assessments of stroke brain pathology allow us to utilize stroke brain biomarker to determine the brain-behavior relationship. A better understanding of the brain-behavior relationship using the brain biomarker will allow us to develop more effective physical therapy interventions.
Project 4. Develop a better physical therapy intervention for improving sensorimotor recovery after stroke
The purpose of my research is to develop a better physical therapy intervention for stroke survivors to maximize their sensorimotor recovery potential. I perform research to develop a motor learning principle-based new telerehabilitation intervention for post-stroke motor recovery using cutting-edge wearable mobile sensors and other technology. Current literature of stroke rehabilitation has argued that motor recovery in stroke survivors is learning new motor skills with their residual capability. Thus, therapeutic interventions to improve motor function after stroke should be based on motor learning principles. Previous studies found that amount of practice, engagement, motivation, and current motor capability are crucial factors that should be considered to develop new rehabilitation intervention. Further, I develop a non-invasive neuromodulation intervention to enhance experience-dependent neuroplasticity after the motor skill training. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or direct current stimulation (tDCS) can be used in this research, and I examine which stimulation parameters produces most effective enhancement of motor skill learning in stroke survivors with given clinical and neurological profiles. These intervention studies will improve the efficacy of stroke rehabilitation.