David Fuller, PhD

Basic Science Mentor

Department of Physical Therapy
Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program
College of Public Health and Health Professions

Dr. Fuller is a Professor in the Dept. of Physical Therapy and Director of the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program. Dr. Fuller’s research program is aimed at understanding how neuroplasticity in the brain and spinal cord influences the control of breathing. The overall hypothesis driving the work in Dr. Fuller’s laboratory is that appropriate induction of neuroplasticity has the potential to improve respiratory muscle control in cases of injury or disease, thereby reducing dependence on mechanical ventilators and improving the quality of life for certain patients. Dr. Fuller’s laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach to explore the relationship between neural plasticity and breathing. Current projects focus on 1) mechanisms of spinal plasticity induced by rehabilitative training; 2) identifying strategies to improve respiratory motor recovery following spinal cord injury, and 3) using gene delivery to respiratory motoneurons as a tool for improving breathing in certain disease states. His laboratory is currently funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Neilsen Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense. He teaches the Neuroscience course in the Physical Therapy curriculum as well as Neuroplasticity: A Foundation for Rehabilitation in the RSD curriculum. Fuller Co-mentored former trainee Lara DeRusseau and mentored former trainees Brandon Dougherty, Elisa Gonzalez-Rothi and Luther Gill. He is the NMPT Program Co-Director and a member of the NMPT Internal Steering Committee.