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Karen Minassian
Ap.Prof. DI Dr.techn. Karen Minassian

Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering

ORCID: 0000-0003-4197-6141
T +43 1 40400 19720


Locomotion; Spinal Cord; Spinal Cord Injuries; Spinal Cord Stimulation

Research interests

My main interest is understanding neural control of movement with a focus on the intrinsic properties of the locomotor circuits of the human lumbar spinal cord. Methods applied include computer modelling, neurostimulation technologies, and electrophysiological and neurophysiological assessments. My research has paved the way for the recent high profile studies of epidural spinal cord stimulation to restore walking after paralysis. In parallel, I have developed the non-invasive method of transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation that can be used as a neuromodulation tool as well as for human neurophysiological studies. Recently I coordinated a first-in-man clinical study employing next-generation implantable epidural stimulation technologies and currently I work on novel combinatorial approaches complementing neurostimulation with pharmacological neuromodulation in humans.

Selected publications

  1. Rowald, A. et al. (2022) ‘Activity-dependent spinal cord neuromodulation rapidly restores trunk and leg motor functions after complete paralysis’, Nature Medicine, 28(2), pp. 260–271. Available at:
  2. Wagner, F.B. et al. (2018) ‘Targeted neurotechnology restores walking in humans with spinal cord injury’, Nature, 563(7729), pp. 65–71. Available at:
  3. Formento, E. et al. (2018) ‘Electrical spinal cord stimulation must preserve proprioception to enable locomotion in humans with spinal cord injury’, Nature Neuroscience, 21(12), pp. 1728–1741. Available at:
  4. Minassian, K. et al. (2017) ‘The Human Central Pattern Generator for Locomotion: Does It Exist and Contribute to Walking?’, The Neuroscientist, 23(6), pp. 649–663. Available at:
  5. Danner, S.M. et al. (2015) ‘Human spinal locomotor control is based on flexibly organized burst generators’, Brain, 138(3), pp. 577–588. Available at: