Student Spotlight: Michael Sunshine

Published: May 18th, 2018

Category: Student Spotlight

Michael Sunshine is a second-year graduate student in the Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. program at the Unversity of Florida. Michael Sunshine is a second-year Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. student, and he is mentored by Dr. David Fuller.

What has been your experience in the Rehabilitation Science program?

The Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. program is a perfect fit for my research interests. I became interested in neuroengineering approaches for restoring function following spinal cord injury while I was a research scientist at the University of Washington. The Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. program has helped to focus that interest and frame it within a strong physiological framework.

What have you enjoyed most about the program?

The collaborative nature of the program has been wonderful. I attend the monthly Science and Social events sponsored by the Center for Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation which is a great opportunity to interact with senior scientist presenting their work as well as trainees from across the basic-clinical science spectrum. The Neurotech community on campus hosts monthly dinners which has also been a great opportunity to interact with a range of scientists from clinicians to engineers. The Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. program is really unique because it affords its students such a breadth of opportunities.

What are you currently researching?

This program has given me a unique and strong foundation in the field of rehabilitation – I am utilizing electrical spinal stimulation to improve recovery following spinal cord injury. My doctoral work focuses on the restoration of breathing in conditions that lead to impaired respiration such as drug overdose and spinal cord injury.

What awards have you received and what have you published or presented?

Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. Sunshine MD, Cho FS, Lockwood DR, Fechko AS, Kasten MR, Moritz CT. (2013). Cervical intraspinal microstimulation evokes robust forelimb movements before and after injury. J Neural Eng;10(3):036001
  2. Kasten MR, Sunshine MD, Secrist ES, Horner PJ, Moritz CT. (2013). Therapeutic intraspinal microstimulation improves forelimb function after cervical contusion injury. J Neural Eng;10(4):044001
  3. Mondello SE*, Sunshine MD*, Fischedick AE, Moritz CT, Horner PJ. (2015). A Cervical Hemi-Contusion Spinal Cord Injury Model for the Investigation of Novel Therapeutics Targeting Proximal and Distal Forelimb Functional Recovery. J Neurotrauma. *Equal Contribution
  4. Streeter KA, Sunshine MD, Patel SR, Posgai SS, Denholtz LE, Reier PJ, Fuller DD, Baekey DM. (2016). Coupling multi-electrode array recordings with silver labeling of recording sites to study cervical spinal network connectivity. J Neurophysiol
  5. Streeter KA*, Sunshine MD*, Patel SR, Reier PJ, Baekey DM, Fuller DD. (2017). Intermittent Hypoxia Enhances Connectivity of Mid-Cervical Spinal Interneurons. Journal of Neuroscience *Equal Contribution
  6. Nair J, Streeter KA, Turner SMF, Sunshine MD, Bolser DC, Fox EJ, Davenport PW, Fuller DD. (2017). Anatomy and Physiology of Phrenic Afferent Neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology
  7. Sunshine MD, Ganji CN, Reier PJ, Fuller DD, Moritz CT. (2018) Intraspinal microstimulation for respiratory muscle activation. Experimental Neurology.
  8. Mondello SE, Sunshine MD, Fischedick AE, Dreyer SJ, Horwitz GD, Anikeeva P, Horner PJ, Moritz CT. (2018) Optogenetic surface stimulation of the rat cervical spinal cord. Journal of Neurophysiology

Selected Abstracts

  1. Sunshine MD, Ganji CN, Reier PJ, Fuller DD, Moritz CT. (2016). Intraspinal activation of respiratory muscles depends on phase of respiratory cycle. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA Nov 12-Nov 16 2016.
  2. Sunshine MD, Ganji CN, Reier PJ, Moritz CT, Fuller DD. (2017) Intraspinal microstimulation induced respiratory phase resetting. Experimental Biology, Chicago, IL, April 22-26 2017.
  3. Sunshine MD, Streeter KA, Turner SM, Baekey DM, Fuller DD. (2017) Phrenic afferent stimulation in the adult rat. XIV Oxford Conference on Modelling and Control of Breathing, Oxford, UK, September 17-21 2017.
  4. Sunshine MD, Fuller, DD. (2018) A new method for automated and unbiased classification of respiratory-related electromyogram (EMG) and pressure waveforms in rats Experimental Biology, San Diego, CA, April 21-25 2018.
  5. Sunshine MD, Streeter KA, Gaire J, Turner SMF, Otto KJ, Fuller, DD. (2018) Cervical spinal cord injury in a transgenic mouse expressing fluorophores in neurons, microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes Experimental Biology, San Diego, CA, April 21-25 2018.