Michael Sunshine, PhD, recently received the 2021 Outstanding Manuscript Award for outstanding basic science paper.
Dr. Sunshine is a recent graduate of the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program, and his paper “Restoration of breathing after opioid overdose and spinal cord injury using temporal interference stimulation” contained work completed during his PhD thesis.
The paper was published in Communications Biology and has been accessed more than 1200 times since it was published in January. The paper was also featured in a news release and the UF McKnight Brain Institute website.
The study found that that a novel form of electrical stimulation, known as “temporal interference,” was very effective at stimulating breathing. This stimulation approach allows electrical signals to penetrate deep into tissue to activate neurons at a distance from the stimulating electrodes. Dr. Sunshine showed that the method could prevent fatal apnea after opioid overdose and could activate the paralyzed diaphragm after spinal cord injury.
Dr. Sunshine designed the experiments, coded the software, built new pieces of equipment, collected all the data, and wrote the manuscript, Dr. David Fuller explained, who was his PhD mentor. Then, to better understand how electrical current flows through the spinal cord, Dr. Sunshine coordinated with a team from Switzerland to assist with the advanced mathematical modeling techniques.
As a rehabilitation Science PhD student, Dr. Sunshine was funded by the NIH T32 Neuromuscular Plasticity Training Program and also received an F31 Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.