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Chet Moritz

CJ and Elizabeth Hwang Endowed Professor
M450 ECE
Campus Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-221-2842
Research Web Page: Restorative Technologies Laboratory


Chet Moritz received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, followed by post-doctoral training at the University of Colorado. A second post-doc at the University of Washington began his interest in brain-computer interfaces and neural devices to treat paralysis. He is now the Hwang Endowed Professor in the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, with joint appointments in Rehabilitation Medicine and Physiology & Biophysics. He was named an Allen Distinguished Investigator and appointed to the Christopher & Dana Reeve International Consortium on Spinal Cord Repair. Chet serves as the Co-Director for the Center for Neurotechnology, a former NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC). Chet directs the Restorative Technologies Laboratory (RTL) which focuses on developing technologies to symptoms of spinal cord injury, stroke and cerebral palsy. Current research in the lab includes multiple studies of stimulation to restore hand function for people with spinal cord injury and stroke,improve walking for children with cerebral palsy, and optogenetic stimulation to guide neuroplasticity and recovery in the injured spinal cord of animals.

Awards and Honors

2020-             Weill Neurohub Investigator, 2020, Weill Neurohub at UCSF, Berkeley and U. Washington

2018-             Cherng Jia and Elizabeth Yun Hwang Endowed Professorship of Spinal Cord Injury Research

2015-2018     Member, International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

2013-2018     Allen Distinguished Investigator

2012              DARPA Young Faculty Award

2009              National Institutes of Health (NIH) EUREKA Award recipient

2009              American Heart & Stroke Association Scientist Development Grant recipient

2008              Manuscript selected as one of top scientific advances by editors of Nature

Research Projects

Transcutaneous spinal stimulation to improve function after spinal cord injury

Transcutaneous electrical stimulation is a novel, non-invasive strategy to modulate spinal circuitry. Utilization of a unique waveform permits high-current electrical stimulation to reach spinal networks over the skin without causing discomfort. We are testing the immediate and lasting effects of this potentially break-through treatment for restoring upper extremity function in people with chronic spinal cord injury. More information and videos here.

We are currently enrolling for studies using this technology, including:

  • A study using closed-loop stimulation to reduce spasticity sponsored by the DoD CDMRP
  • A study to improve walking function and bladder/bowel management sponsored by Wings for Life
  • A study to improve walking function using an exoskeleton and spinal stimulation

Spinal stimulation to improve walking for children with cerebral palsy

We are testing the ability of non-invasive spinal stimulation to reduce spasticity and improve walking function for children with cerebral palsy. This is a collaboration with Dr. Kat Steele (Mechanical Engineering), and Dr. Kristie Bjornson (Seattle Children's). The study is supported by a grant from Seattle Childrens Hospital and the Walter Stolov Research Fund.

Optogenetic stimulation to improve forelimb function after spinal cord injury

We are exploring the mechanisms by which optogenetic and electrical stimulation improve recovery after spinal cord injury. In collaboration with Polina Anikeeva (MIT) and Julia Kaltschmidt (Stanford), we are transducing spinal cord neurons with light-sensitive channels to provide optical activation of specific cell types. We are also comparing recovery observed when activating neurons via optogenetics compared to axons via electrical stimulation. This work is funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01.

Closed Loop brain stimulation to improve hand function after stroke

In collaboration with Jeff Ojemann and Jeffrey Herron (UW), we are testing a closed-loop brain stimulation system to restore function after stroke. Animal studies by our collaborators Drs. Fetz and Perlmutter (UW) demonstrated proof of concept for this approach, which was confirmed by acute human studies performed by Drs. Ojemann and Rao (UW). This work is supported by an NIH BRAIN UG3/UH3 award.

Recent Publications

Mondello, S. E., Young, L., Dang, V., Fischedick, A. E., Tolley, N.M., Wang, T., Bravo, M.A., Lee, D., Tucker, B., Knoernschild, M., Pedigo, D. B., Horner, P. J., Moritz, C. T. (2023) Optogenetic spinal stimulation promotes new axonal growth and skilled forelimb recovery in rats with sub-chronic cervical spinal cord injury. Journal of Neural Engineering, 2023 Sep 12;20(5):056005. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/acec13. [Link]

Samejima, S., Caskey, C.D., Inanici, F., Shrivastv, S., Brighton, L. N., Pradarelli, J., Martinez, V., Steele, K.M., Saigal, R., Moritz, C.T., (2022) Multisite transcutaneous spinal stimulation for walking and autonomic recovery in motor-incomplete tetraplegia: a case series. Physical Therapy 102 (1). [Link]

Samejima, S., Khorasani, A., Ranganathan, V., Nakahara, J., Tolley, N.M., Boissenin, A., Shalchyan, V., Reza Daliri, M., Smith, J.R., Moritz, C.T. (2021) Brain-Computer-Spinal Interface Restores Upper Limb Function after Spinal Cord Injury.  IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering (TNSRE) 29: 1233-42. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2021.3090269. [Link]

Inanici, F. Brighton, L.N., Samejima S., Hofstetter, C.P., Moritz, C.T. (2021) Transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation restores hand and arm function after spinal cord injury. IEEE TNSRE. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2021.3049133 Online. [Link]

Mondello, S. E., Pedigo, D. B., Sunshine M. D., Fischedick, A. E., Horner, P. J., Moritz, C. T. (2021) A micro-LED implant and technique for optogenetic stimulation of the rat spinal cord. Experimental Neurology, Vol 335, 113480. [Link]

Sunshine, M.J., Ganji, C., Fuller, D., Moritz, C.T. (2020) Respiratory resetting elicited by single pulse spinal stimulation. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology. 274:103339 [Link]

Lansdell B., Milovanovic I., Mellema C., Fetz E. E., Fairhall A. L., Moritz C.T. (2020) Reconfiguring motor circuits for a joint manual and BCI task. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering (TNSRE). 28(1):248-257 DOI: 10.1109/TNSRE.2019.2944347. [Link]

Bjanes, D.A. & Moritz, C.T. (2019) A Robust Encoding Scheme for Delivering Artificial Sensory Information via Direct Brain Stimulation, IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. 27 (10) 1994-2004. DOI: 10.1109/TNSRE.2019.2936739. [Link]

Moritz, C.T. (2018) Now is the critical time for Engineered Neuroplasticity. Invited Perspective for special issue on Spinal Cord injury. Neurotherapeutics. DOI: 10.1007/s13311-018-0637-0. PMID: 29948920. Open Access download: [ Link ]

Inanici, F., Samejima, S., Gad, P., Edgerton, V.R., Hofstetter, C., Moritz, C.T. (2018) Transcutaneous electrical spinal stimulation promotes long-term recovery of upper extremity functions in chronic tetraplegia: a case study. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering (TNSRE). 26(6) 1272-1278. PMID: 29877852 [Link]

Mondello, S.E., Sunshine M.D., Fischedick A.E., Dreyer S., Horwitz, G.D., Anikeeva, P., Horner P.J. Moritz C.T. (2018) Optogenetic surface stimulation of the rat cervical spinal cord. Journal of Neurophysiology. 120:795-811 [Link]

Bjanes, D.A. & Moritz, C.T. (2018) Automated Center-out Rodent Behavioral Trainer (ACRoBaT), a fully automated device for training rats to perform a center out task. .Behavioural Brain Research. 356: 115-121: PMID: 29196193. [Link]

Kasten M.R., Sunshine M.D., Secrist E., Horner P.J., Moritz C.T. (2013) Therapeutic intraspinal stimulation improves forelimb function after cervical contusion injury. Journal of Neural Engineering. 10 044001. PMCID: PMC3748939. [Link]

Moritz, C.T., Perlmutter, S.I., Fetz, E.E. (2008) Direct control of paralyzed muscles by cortical neurons. Nature, 456, 639-642. [Link]


Current Students

2021-present  Padideh Yazdan-Shahmorad (Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD program - co-mentored with Greg Horwitz)

2020-present  Richard Henderson (Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program)

2019-present  Charlotte Caskey (Mechanical Engineering PhD program – co-mentored with Kat Steele)

2022-present Adrià Robert Gonzalez PT OT (Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program)

Completed Students

2011-2012      Elena Donoso-Brown, OT, PhD (Rehabilitation Sciences, co-mentor with Sally McCoy) 

2011-2014      Charlie Matlack, PhD (Electrical Engineering, co-mentor with Howard Chizeck)

2012-2017      Aiva Ievins, PhD (Neurobiology & Behavior; co-mentor with Phil Horner)

2012-2015      Torey Gilberston, PhD (Rehabilitation Sciences, co-mentor with Sally McCoy)

2014-2018      David Bjånes, PhD (Electrical Engineering)

2015-2019      Fatma Inanici, MD, PhD (Rehabilitation Sciences)

2016-2020     Soshi Samejima, DPT, PhD (Rehabilitation Sciences)

2020-2023 Madison Bravo MS (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

2019-2023  Siddhi Shrivastav, PT, PhD (Rehabilitation Sciences)

Links to media coverage of our work