Arthur M. Sherwood P.E., Ph.D.
International Society for Restorative Neurology
Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine
Following completion of his doctorate in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 1970, Dr. Sherwood joined the faculty at Texas A&M University, where he helped establish the Bioengineering Program. He moved to the Texas Medical Center in 1975 to develop the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR). He became Director of Research for the Restorative Neurology Program at Baylor upon its founding in 1987. In 1997, he became Director of the Center of Excellence on Healthy Aging with Disabilities at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. He developed a set of laboratories for quantitative studies of motor function, and carried out a series of studies in veterans after spinal cord injury, stroke and Parkinson’s disease, including several key studies on supported treadmill ambulation training. Dr. Sherwood’s seminal work on quantification of the quality of voluntary control, as the capstone of 30 years’ laboratory studies, is poised to provide key objective data for the imminent curative spinal cord injury trials.
Building on his experience in the research community, Dr. Sherwood assumed his post as Science and Technology Advisor to the Director of NIDRR in October 2002, holding that post through December, 2011. In his role at NIDRR, Dr. Sherwood was able to play a significant role in guiding the disability research agenda on a national level. He led strategic planning for NIDRR and was heavily invested in establishing new approaches to program evaluation, with an initial focus on the NIDRR Model Systems program. Dr. Sherwood has published over 60 articles, 20 book chapters and has more than 140 research presentations.
Since retiring from the federal government, Dr. Sherwood has focused his attention on developing the International Society for Restorative Neurology (ISRN), a new professional organization devoted to furthering the principles and practice of restorative neurology, in his role as Executive Director (www.RestorativeNeurology.org).
Since beginning his professional career, Dr. Sherwood has been on a trajectory of expanding vision. His initial research dealt with specifics of reflex function in individuals after stroke and spinal cord injury, to understand the features of motor control unique to each individual. This study led to a study of spasticity in a group of patients that ultimately led to the development of new electrophysiological and questionnaire instruments to quantify spasticity and its impact. Dr. Sherwood then developed a research center at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and expanded his vision to other groups of patients, including Parkinson’s disease. His role at NIDRR has further led him to appreciate the fact that the patient-centric approach that recognizes the unique characteristics of each individual extends to all aspects of that individual’s interactions with their environment, including recognition of their needs for assistive technology or supports necessary for employment and full participation in the community.