Research Medical »


Susan Harkema, PhD


Core Manager:

Yukishia Austin

Core Personnel:

Erin Brinks, CSW
Social Worker

Tiffanie Shelburne, CPT
Research Phlebotomist

Heather Hye, RN
Clinical Research Nurse

Lynn Robbins, RN
Clinical Research Nurse

Kristen Johnson, BSN, RN
Clinical Research Nurse

Provides medical oversight for all surgical procedures and post-operative care during epidural stimulation and activity-based interventions.

Oversees the management (e.g., chain of custody) and processing of blood, urine and tissues samples specifically regarding compliance for Internal Review Board (IRB) and FDA regulatory requirements.

Supports medical procedures during the following research assessments:

Physical Therapist (PT) Evaluations which include:

  • The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) examination: This assessment is used to score the motor and sensory impairment and severity of a spinal cord injury. The ASIA International Standards Committee defines and updates the ISNCSCI to reflect current evidence.
  • The NeuroRecovery Scale (NRS) Evaluation: developed and refined by clinicians and scientists in the Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network (NRN) and is based on normal, pre-injury performance criteria. This is a very different and complementary way of staging neurological impairment and addresses the unique nature of each individual SCI with a focus on clinically relevant outcome measures.

Blood Draws (Phlebotomy)

Urine Collection

Bladder Biopsies

Muscle Biopsies