Communication Neuroscience Laboratories
Steven Barlow Corwin Moore Professor
Ph.D., Speech Physiology, University of Wisconsin, 1984
M.S., Speech-Hearing Sciences, University of Wisconsin, 1980
B.S., Speech Pathology, University of Wisconsin, 1976
Steven Barlow joined the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders in 2014 as the Corwin Moore Professor after working at the University of Kansas for more than 13 years. He served as chair of the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders from July 2021 through December 2022.
His research is collaborative in nature and focuses on the neurobiology of somatosensory and motor systems in premature infants. Steven developed the NTrainer System, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008, and uses its innovative pulsed cutaneous stimulation during critical periods of development to facilitate oral feeding skills, overall brain development and long-term behavioral and learning outcomes.
Most recently, Steven was awarded a $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He will use the grant funding to lead a five-year, multi-site study that will examine 180 preterm infants born between 24-27 weeks at neonatal intensive care units at CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln, Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. This new study will be the first of its kind to explore the ability of the NTrainer’s stimulation to trigger positive genetic changes as related to six target genes in the infants.
A variant of Steven's NTrainer therapy approach using dynamic somatosensory fields is now being tested as an agent of brain plasticity in adults who have sustained cerebrovascular stroke. New study lines at UNL will focus on neural encoding of velocity and direction of saltatory somatosensory inputs using a new medical device developed in the Steven's lab, known as the TAC-Cell Array or ‘Galileo’. The main objectives are to improve neurodiagnostics and neurotherapeutics to improve the well-being of the affected individual across the lifespan, including improved speech and swallowing motor control, and when involved, rehabilitate sensorimotor control of distal extremities (hand, object manipulation).
Areas of Expertise:
Neurobiology of preterm infant, feeding, gene expression
Experience- and activity-dependent plasticity across the lifespan
Somatosensory and motor physiology
Medical device neurotherapeutics