My research interests range from the study of disease states associated with neurological injury to the development of assistive technologies (AT) as an effective means of ameliorating functional caused by disability. Visit the lab website link for more information about our research.
A summary of current research projects with relevent published research articles include:

  • Oxidative Stress
  • Assistive Technology
  • Physiological Telemonitoring
  • STEM Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities
  • 3-D Visualization of SCI and TBI
  • Oxidative stress caused by the production of free radicals and free radical byproducts is a major pathological event during secondary injury following central nervous system (CNS) trauma. New approaches and therapeutic targets are needed to ameliorate spinal cord and brain damage. We are investigating ascending-descending (A-D) myelomalacia in dogs as a unique model for studying oxidative stress. We have shown that oxidative stress is exacerbated during the progression of A-D myelomalacia following spinal cord damage.

    a. Hamann, K., Nehrt, G., Ouyung, H., Duerstock, B., Shi, R. (2008) Hydralazine Inhibits Compression and Acrolein-Mediated Injuries in Ex Vivo Spinal Cord. J Neurochem 104(3): 708-718.
    b. Park, J., Zheng, L., Marquis, A., Walls, M., Duerstock, B., Pond, A., Vega Alvarez, S., He, W., Ouyang, Z., Shi, R. (2014) Neuroprotective role of hydralazine in rat spinal cord injury attenuation of acrolein-mediated damage, J Neurochem, 129(2), 339-349.
    c. Marquis, A., Packer, R.A., Borgens, R.B., Duerstock, B.S. (2015) “Increase in Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Dogs with Ascending-Descending Myelomalacia Following Spinal Cord Injury”, J Neurol Sci, 353(1), 63-69.

  • Assistive Technology allows persons with disabilities (PWDs) to be more independent and effective when performing daily living, educational, and occupational activities. Using human-centered design principles ensure that AT prescribed for individuals with disabilities are useful and not abandoned.

    1. Gesture recognition provide a physical form of human-computer interaction (HCI) that has benefits for unencumbered control and rehabilitative therapy. Unfortunately, gesture interfaces are typically designed for individuals that are able-bodied. We have created a software engine to systematically convert standard gesture lexicons into gestures that are usable by individuals with upper extremity mobility impairments (UEMIs) based on the intrinsic movement behaviors related to their disability. This gesture interface has been shown to be effective for controlling assistive robots and navigational tasks. Our gesture translation engine has tremendous potential to provide adaptive rehabilitation therapy for persons due to SCIs, TBIs, stroke, cerebral palsy, and other neuromuscular disorders.

    a. Jiang, H., Wachs, J.P., Duerstock, B.S. (2013) An Optimized Real-Time Hands Gesture Recognition Based Interface for Individuals with Upper-Level Spinal Cord Injuries. J Real-Time Image Processing, 1-14.
    b. Jiang, H., Duerstock, B.S., Wachs, J.P. (2014) A Machine Vision-Based Gestural Interface for People with Upper Extremity Physical Impairments. IEEE Trans on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems, 44(5), 630-641.
    c. Jiang, H., Hsu, C.-H., Duerstock, B.S., Wachs, J.P. “Determining Natural and Accessible Gestures using Uncontrolled Manifold and Cybernetics”, In Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Hamburg, Germany, Sep 28-Oct 2, 2015.

    2. Assistive robotics has the potential to assist persons with disabilities. However for robots to be effective, improvements are needed for more natural HTI, object recognition, personal identification, autonomous navigation, and smart decision-making. Persons with mobility impairments could benefit greatly from assistive robots but lack the mobility to perform sophisticated control. a. Jiang, H., Wachs, J.P., Duerstock, B.S. (2014) Integrated Vision-Based System for Efficient, Semi-Automated Control of a Robotic Manipulator. Intl J Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics, 7(3), 253-266.
    b. Chen, K., Tang, S., Jiang, H., Wachs, J.P., Duerstock, B.S. "Practical Implications for the Design of Mobile Assistive Robots for Quadriplegics Using a Service Dog Model", In Proc. of IROS 2014 Workshop on Assistive Robotics for Individuals with Disabilities: HRI Issues and Beyond, Sept. 14, 2014.
    c. Jiang, H., Zhang, T., Wachs, J., Duerstock, B.S. Enhanced Control of a Wheelchair-Mounted Robotic Manipulator Using 3-D Vision and Multimodal Interaction. Computer Vision and Image Understanding (accepted)

    3. Persons with visual impairments lack the ability to process visual information, which is pervasive in media, technology operation, and scientific data. Attempts to substitute this information with other sensory modalities, such as tactile, auditory, and haptics, have great potential. However, decision-making strategies must be determined for the most efficient and less cognitively fatiguing approaches to mapping alternative sensory modalities to the different visual features.

    a. Zhang, T., Williams, G.J., Duerstock, B.S., Wachs, J.P. “Multimodal approach to image perception of histology for the blind or visually impaired”, In Proc. of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC2014), Oct. 5-8, 2014.
    b. Williams, G.J., Gonzales, A., Lo, A., Nolan, J., Grimmer, J., Marquis, A., Duerstock, H., Mendrysa, S., Duerstock, B.S. “Accessible Micropipetting and Cell Culturing Tools for Researchers Who are Blind or Visually Impaired”, In Proc. of Annual Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America Conference 2014, June 11-15, 2014.
    c. Williams, G.J., Zhang, T., Lo., A., Gonzales, A., Baluch, D.P., Duerstock, B.S. “3D Printing Tactile Graphics for the Blind: Application to Histology”, In Proc. of Annual Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America Conference 2014, June 11-15, 2014.

  • Physiological telemonitoring provides ubiquitous emergency oversight and self-training to prevent secondary medical complications for those with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Rehospitalization after acute medical intervention is commonplace among those with newly diagnosed long-term medical conditions. Determining what physiological indicators represent a potentially dangerous medical event for an individual can vary greatly even among persons with similar medical conditions.

    Suresh, S., Duerstock, H., Duerstock, B.S. “Skin Resistance as a Physiological Indicator for Quadriplegics with Spinal Cord Injuries During Activities of Daily Living”, In Proceedings of the International Conference for Smart Health 2015 (ICSH 2015), Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Nov. 17-18, 2015.

  • Many areas in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics (STEM) higher education and research are historically inaccessible to students with physical disabilities due to the practical or ‘hands-on’ tradition of teaching these subjects. Practical learning is important for understanding science information as well as learning how to operate typical scientific instruments.
    The Institute for Accessible Science (IAS) [Link]was established to explore the different high-impact initiatives to assist students and scientists with disabilities to actively participate in STEM educational and vocational activities. In order to successfully attain adequate STEM learning experiences, students with disabilities need to be able to perform research procedures and operate scientific equipment as independently as possible.
    An accessible, research-level light microscope, called AccessScope, [Link] was developed to be operable by users with mobility and visual impairments allowing them the ability to explore histology and conduct research as their able-bodied classmates.

    a. Duerstock, B.S. (2006) Accessible Microscopy Workstation for Students and Scientists with Mobility Impairments. Assist Technol 18: 34-45.
    b. Mansoor, A., Ahmed, W., Samarapungavan, A., Cirillo, J., Schwarte, D., Robinson, J.P., Duerstock, B.S. (2010) AccessScope Project: Accessible Light Microscope for Users with Upper Limb Mobility or Visual Impairments. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol 5(2): 143-152.
    c. Ranchal, R., Taber-Doughty, T., Guo, Y., Bain, K., Martin, H., Robinson, J.P., Duerstock, B.S. (2013) Using Speech Recognition for Real-Time Captioning and Lecture Transcription in the Classroom. IEEE Trans on Learning Technologies 6(4): 299-311.
    d. Duerstock, B.S., Hilliard, L., Dunston, P., Takahashi, G., Mankey, C., McGlothlin, J. (2014) 3D Simulation of an Accessible Biomedical Lab. J Technology & Persons with Disabilities, 1, 220-229.

  • Three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction of serial histological sections provides unparalleled visualization and quantification of enatomical structures, particularly when interrogating occult features of interest. Web page The pathobiology of spinal cord injury characterized by central hemorrhagic necrosis is difficult to perceive due to its centralized location primarily residing within the gray matter with subpial sparing of the white matter.
    We develop 3-D reconstructions of injured spinal cords and brains from serial tissue sections that have been prepared through conventional brightfield histology, immunohistochemistry, or from fluorescent labeled tissue sections. We are also able to calculate volume and surface area measurements from 3-D reconstructions that were as accurate as stereological and other 3-D estimation techniques.

    a. Duerstock, B.S., Bajaj, C.L., Pascucci, V., Schikore, D., Lin, K., Borgens, R.B. (2000) Advances in Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of the Experimental Spinal Cord Injury. Comput Med Imag Grap 24(6): 389-406.
    b. Duerstock, B.S. and Borgens, R.B. (2002) Three-Dimensional Morphometry of Spinal Cord Injury Following Polyethylene Glycol Treatment. J Exp Biol 205(1): 13-24.
    c. Duerstock, B.S., Bajaj, C.L., Borgens, R.B. (2003) A Comparative Study of the Quantitative Accuracy of Three-Dimensional Reconstructions of Spinal Cord from Serial Histological Sections. J Microsc 210(Pt 2): 138-148.
    d. Duerstock, B.S. (2004) Double Labeling Serial Sections to Enhance Three-Dimensional Imaging of Injured Spinal Cord. J Neurosci Methods 134(1): 101-107.

  • Acknowledgments
    I thank the following institutions for their generous support of these projects.
    Intel Corporation
    National Institutes of Health
    National Science Foundation
    Olympus Inc.
    State of Indiana