Laura A. Prosser, PT, PhD is a Research Scientist in the Center for Rehabilitation at CHOP. She earned a PhD at Temple University and completed post-doctoral research training at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) prior to joining CHOP in 2011. She also provides consultative physical therapy services in the Cerebral Palsy and Neonatal Follow-up Clinics. Dr. Prosser’s research focuses on optimizing neurorehabilitation treatments and learning how rehabilitation can induce helpful structural brain changes (neuroplasticity) in children with neurological injury. This includes investigating the developmental trajectories of impaired movement in children with early brain injuries, developing and testing the efficacy of novel interventions, and investigating the interaction between neuromaturation and rehabilitation-induced neuroplasticity.
During pilot work at the NIH, she demonstrated that a novel intervention based on principles of neuroplasticity and typical infant motor learning has potential to alter the trajectory of motor development in infants and toddlers with cerebral palsy, which may lead to greater function throughout the lifespan. She plans to open a clinical trial at CHOP in 2013 to expand this work. Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of pediatric physical disability and her past work has included biomechanical investigations of early walking patterns and the efficacy of interventions targeted at improving muscle performance and walking function in this population. She is also currently studying the motor and neuroplastic responses to a novel asymmetrical gait training program in children with hemiplegia from prior stroke. This work is in collaboration with investigators in Neurology and uses transcranial magnetic stimulation to understand rehabilitation-induced changes in the cortical control of muscles. This work will also establish a genetic repository to begin to investigate genetic factors that mediate response to rehabilitation in children with neurological injury.
Dr. Prosser’s work has been recognized by the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the NIH Intramural program, and Temple University’s College of Health Professions. Since joining CHOP, she has established local and national collaborators, actively peer-reviews manuscripts for various journals, and serves on grant review panels for the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the American Physical Therapy Association and the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Dr. Prosser can be contacted at prosserl [at] email.chop.edu.