Instructor of Neurology
Weill Cornell Medical College
Lecturer, Intensive Course in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Harvard Medical School
My research interest is to understand neural plasticity and its clinical implications in relation to the human motor systems. Plasticity is a broad phenomenon comprising both positive and negative features. For example, plasticity encompasses neural development and learning and recovery of function following neural damage, but also can be a maladaptive response to injury or disease, such as in forms of dystonia and chronic pain. My goal is to improve understanding of the mechanisms of plasticity from a systems level in humans, in order to manipulate them, by suppressing or enhancing them, to gain clinical benefits for patients affected by neurological disorders.
My main interest is to study the recovery of motor function after injury to the central nervous system, focusing on the corticospinal system. After injury the preserved corticospinal connections are highly activity-dependent and can be strengthened with activity-based therapies (motor training) or neuromodulatory interventions (transcranial magnetic or direct current brain stimulation). My aim is to investigate the role of controlled motor activity, and non-invasive stimulation techniques, in promoting corticospinal plasticity, and its relation with motor recovery. I use a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological techniques to address those questions.
My ultimate career goal is to develop novel and individualized rehabilitation strategies to promote motor recovery and improve quality of life of patients with disabilities.
University of the Basque Country, Spain
Resident, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Bellvitge University Hospital. Barcelona, Spain
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Intensive Course.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. Boston, MA
Clinical Neurophysiology and Non-invasive Brain Stimulation.
Non-invasive Brain Stimulation and Human Motor Control Laboratory, Burke Medical Research Institute. White Plains, NY
Elder J, Cortes M, Rykman A, Hill J, Karuppagounder S, Edwards D, Ratan RR (2013). The Epigenetics of Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation: From Polycomb to Histone Deacetylases. Neurotherapeutics. 10(4):808-16.
Edwards D, Cortes M, Thickbroom G, Rykman A, Pascual-Leone A, Volpe B. (2013). Preserved corticospinal conduction without voluntary movement after spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord.
Cortes M, Elder J, RykmanA, Murray L, Avedissian M, Stampas A, Thickbroom GW, Pascual-Leone A, Krebs I, Josep Valls-Sole J, Edwards DJ. (2013). Improved motor performance in chronic spinal cord injury following upper-limb robotic training. NeuroRehabilitation.
Edwards D, Cortes M, Datta A, Minhas P, Wassermann EM, Bikson M. (2013). Physiological and modeling evidence for focal transcranial electrical brain stimulation in humans: A basis for high-definition tDCS. Neuroimage. 2013 Jul 1;74C:266-275. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.01.042. Epub 2013 Jan 28. PMID: 23370061
Conesa L, Costa Ú, Morales E, Edwards DJ, Cortes M, León D, Bernabeu M, Medina J. (2012). An observational report of intensive robotic and manual gait training in sub-acute stroke. J Neuroeng Rehabil; 9:13. doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-9-13. PMCID: PMC3305481
Cortes M, Black-Schaffer RM, Edwards DJ. (2012). Transcranial magnetic stimulation as an investigative tool for motor dysfunction and recovery in stroke: an overview for neurorehabilitation clinicians. Neuromodulation; 15(4):316-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1403.2012.00459.x. PMID: 22624621.
Benito-Penalva J, Edwards DJ, Opisso E, Cortes M, Lopez-Blazquez R, Murillo N, Costa U, Tormos JM, Vidal-Samsó J, Valls-Solé J; European Multicenter Study about Human Spinal Cord Injury Study Group, Medina J. (2011). Gait training in human spinal cord injury using electromechanical systems: effect of device type and patient characteristics. Arch Phys Med Rehabil; 93(3):404-12. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.08.028. PMID: 22209475
Cortes M, Thickbroom GW, Valls-Sole J, Pascual-Leone A, Edwards DJ. (2011). Spinal associative stimulation: a non-invasive stimulation paradigm to modulate spinal excitability. Clin Neurophysiol; 122(11):2254-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2011.02.038. PMCID: PMC3538079.
National Institutes of Health
Title: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Robotic Motor Training in Chronic Stroke.
Dates of project: 12/01/2011 – 11/30/2016.
Role: Research fellow.
Goals: The major goal of this project is to evaluate whether multiple sessions of combined tDCS and robotic upper limb training in chronic hemiplegia, leads to a sustained clinical improvement in motor function.
National Institutes of Health
Title: Non-invasive stimulation for improving motor function in spinal cord injury.
Dates of project: 07/01/2013 – 06/30/15.
Goals: Our hypothesis is that spinal excitability will be raised following SAS in chronic traumatic incomplete SCI patients and that this will be associated with improved motor performance.