International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics
Frontiers of the Human-Machine Interface
June 28 - July 1, 2005
Andrew B. Schwartz Bio
Dr. Schwartz received his Ph.D. from the
Department of Physiology at the University of Minnesota in 1984. His
graduate program emphasized motor neurophysiology with a thesis that
examined the activity of the deep cerebellar nuclei during cat
locomotion. He was awarded the Bacanner Prize for this research. Dr.
Schwartz then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins
School of Medicine where he worked with Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, who
was developing the concept of directional tuning and population-based
movement representation. While there, Schwartz was instrumental in
developing the basis for three-dimensional trajectory representation in
the motor cortex.
In 1988, Dr. Schwartz began his
independent research career at the Barrow Neurological Institute in
Phoenix. There, he developed a paradigm to explore the continuous
cortical signals generated throughout volitional arm movements. This was
done using monkeys trained to draw shapes while recording single-cell
activity from their motor cortices. He found that these trajectories
were represented continuously in the cortical activity and contained
many of the kinematic invariants of natural movement.
Using this ability to capture a high
fidelity representation of movement intention from the motor cortex,
Schwartz teamed up with engineering colleagues at Arizona State
University to develop cortical neural prosthetics based on the ability
to record populations of single-cell activity with chronic electrode
arrays. The work has progressed to the point that monkeys can now use
these recorded signals to control motorized arm prostheses to reach out
grasp a piece of food and return it to the mouth.
Schwartz moved from the Barrow
Neurological Institute to the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego in
1995 and then to the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. In addition to
the prosthetics work, he has continued to utilize the neural trajectory
representation to better understand the transformation from intended to
actual movement using motor illusions in a virtual reality environment.
Presently he has identified cortical structures where there is a clear
dichotomy in the perceived and actual representation and is working to
identify the substrate for these differences.