Faculty Directory
Matthew Tresch

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Chair of Biomedical Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech E322
Evanston, IL 60208-3107

Email Matthew Tresch


Biomedical Engineering

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Ph.D. Neuroscience, MIT, Cambridge, MA

B.A. Psychology, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

Research Interests

We examine the neural control of movement, focusing on the role of spinal circuitry. We use an interdisciplinary approach in this research, using a combination of behavioral, biomechanical, and neurophysiological techniques. Our current research examines the neural control of internal joint variables, evaluating the hypothesis that the nervous system actively regulates the stresses and strains within joints in order to minimize injury. We examine this issue using biomechanics, characterizing how muscles affect the stresses and strains within joints; using behavioral studies, characterizing how the CNS adapts kinematics and muscle activations to compensate for alterations in joint structures; and using electrophysiological studies, examining the neural systems involved in regulating joint stresses and strains.

We are also developing neuroprostheses for restoring functional movements following spinal cord injury. This is collaborative work with Dr. Lee Miller. Previous work from his lab has shown the potential of cortically controlled FES: using cortical predictions of muscle activation to drive stimulation of paralyzed muscles, thereby restoring natural control of a paralyzed animals’ own limb. We are developing these procedures in a rodent model, examining whether this approach can be used to restore the hindlimb movements underlying locomotion in animals paralyzed by spinal cord injury.

Selected Publications

  • Bornstein, Bavat; Konstantin, Nitzan; Alessandro, Cristiano; Tresch, Matthew C.; Zelzer, Elazar, More than movement, Current Opinion in Physiology 20:77-89 (2021).
  • Thaweerattanasinp, Theeradej; Birch, Derin; Jiang, Mingchen C.; Tresch, Matthew C.; Bennett, David J.; Heckman, Charles J.; Tysseling, Vicki M., Bursting interneurons in the deep dorsal horn develop increased excitability and sensitivity to serotonin after chronic spinal injury, Journal of neurophysiology 123(5):1657-1670 (2020).
  • Alessandro, Cristiano; Barroso, Filipe O.; Prashara, Adarsh; Tentler, David P.; Yeh, Hsin Yun; Tresch, Matthew C., Coordination amongst quadriceps muscles suggests neural regulation of internal joint stresses, not simplification of task performance, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117(14):8135-8142 (2020).
  • Barroso, Filipe O.; Alessandro, Cristiano; Tresch, Matthew C., Adaptation of muscle activation after patellar loading demonstrates neural control of joint variables, Scientific reports 9(1) (2019).
  • Barroso, Filipe O.; Yoder, Bryan; Tentler, David; Wallner, Josephine J.; Kinkhabwala, Amina A.; Jantz, Maria K.; Flint, Robert D.; Tostado, Pablo M.; Pei, Evonne; Satish, Ambika D.R.; Brodnick, Sarah K.; Suminski, Aaron J.; Williams, Justin C.; Miller, Lee E.; Tresch, Matthew C., Decoding neural activity to predict rat locomotion using intracortical and epidural arrays, Journal of Neural Engineering 16(3) (2019).