About Elisa Gonzalez-Rothi
Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and an investigator in the Breathing Research and Therapeutics Center and the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida. She directs the Neuroscience course in the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum. The fundamental objective of Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi’s research program is the development of effective therapies to treat respiratory and motor deficits following incomplete cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Her work aims to advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying plasticity within neural networks, particularly as it applies to breathing and upper extremity motor function. Her current research portfolio focuses on therapies designed to harness endogenous neuroplasticity, including traditional rehabilitation approaches and mild intermittent hypoxia. She is also investigating the impact of high-dose, chronic intermittent hypoxia, similar to that experienced by individuals with sleep disordered breathing, on expression of respiratory motor plasticity and recovery of breathing after chronic cervical spinal cord injury. Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi has expertise in characterizing anatomical substrates of defined neural circuits including identification and characterization of interneurons contributing to both respiratory and upper limb motor function. In addition, she has extensive experience with experimental models of spinal cord injury, characterizing the extent and time course of anatomical, physiological, and functional plasticity that occurs both spontaneously and induced via therapeutic intervention. She is uniquely suited to conduct basic science research in the field of spinal cord injury, as her clinical background as a physical therapist working with individuals with acute SCI in a neurologic ICU setting has shaped her research portfolio and enabled her to bring a unique perspective to her pre-clinical work.
- Intermittent hypoxia
- Respiratory physiology
- Sleep apnea
- Spinal cord injury rehabilitation