Cleveland, OH,
08:43 AM

MetroHealth and Case Western Reserve University Receive $28.2 Million to Treat Paralysis

The MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation Research and Case Western Reserve University recently have been awarded over $28 million in federal grants for the treatment of paralysis.

The four grants, totaling $28.2 million, were all received in the third quarter of 2022 and include funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop and evaluate various technologies used in the treatment of paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and/or stroke. 

The largest of the four grants is $12.5 million from NIH awarded to Kevin Kilgore, PhD, staff scientist in the MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation Research (MCRR) and the Departments of Orthopedics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). The grant is for a three-year project to create the first open-source modular network of active implantable devices for use in pre-clinical and early feasibility human research and to provide ongoing support for this technology through a vibrant, sustainable community of users. Dr. Kilgore is Professor of Orthopedics and PM&R at the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine.

Dr. Kilgore is the contact Principal Investigator (PI) on the project. Brian Smith, BSc (Hons), Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at CWRU, and Cindy Chestek, PhD, Department of BME at the University of Michigan, are Multi-PIs.             

The other three grants are:

  • $9.5 million from NIH awarded to Anthony DiMarco, MD, Staff Scientist in MCRR and the Department of PM&R, for a five-year project to develop a system to restore effective cough in spinal cord injury. Dr. DiMarco is Professor of PM&R at CWRU.
  • $3.1 million from NIH awarded to Nathan Makowski, PhD, Staff Scientist MCRR and the Department of PM&R, for a five-year project to develop a system to restore the ability to walk after a stroke. Dr. Makowski is Assistant Professor of PM&R at CWRU.
  • $3.06 million from the DoD to Kim Anderson, PhD, and Robert Hoey, PhD, Staff Scientists in MCRR and the Department of PM&R, for a four-year research program to study a technique to restore bowel function in patients with spinal cord injuries. Dr. Anderson is Professor of PM&R at CWRU.

“The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Rehabilitation Institute are points of enormous pride for MetroHealth. The work being done here is changing the lives of people who live with paralysis,” said MetroHealth President & CEO Airica Steed, Ed.D., MBA, RN, CSSMBB, FACHE, IASSC. “The awarding of these grants to our scientists is evidence of the groundbreaking research they do.”

The grants further raise the stature of MetroHealth’s Department of PM&R and Rehabilitation Institute, which U.S. News and World Report has ranked No. 1 in Ohio and No. 24 in the nation for the rehabilitation care of the most complex patients, such as stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.

The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical research ranked the Department of PM&R No. 2 in the nation in NIH funding among PM&R departments in U.S. medical schools. This ranking was based on 2021 data and does not include the newly awarded grants. The 2022 ranking will be released in February of 2023. MCRR presently has more than $70 million in grants from federal, state and foundation sources.

“Our vision is to be the system of choice for comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation in Northeast Ohio, especially for the most complex neurological and musculoskeletal conditions,” said John Chae, MD, Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs and Chair of PM&R at The MetroHealth System, and Professor and Chair of PM&R and Professor of BME at CWRU. “The MetroHealth System will be nationally and internationally recognized for outstanding clinical rehabilitation, premier rehabilitation training programs and world-class rehabilitation research.”

The Department of PM&R at The MetroHealth System and CWRU is housed at the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute. The Institute recently moved to new, state-of-the-art clinical, research and education space at MetroHealth’s Old Brooklyn Health Center Campus.

About The MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit