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                                              David J. Bennett, PhD 


                                                                      Phone 1 (780) 492-1516




Dr. David Bennett is a neuroscientist and engineer with a wide ranging carrier including: developing some of the first autonomous robot systems at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (in the 1980s), formulating mathematical models of sensory feedback control in human and animal  limb movement (early 1990s), showing that sodium and calcium channels in motoneurons cause muscle spasms after spinal cord injury (SCI; mid 1990  to early 2000s), discovering that serotonergic and noradrenergic receptors are essential to the fundamental ability of motoneurons to fire action potentials repetitively and that constitutive receptor activity underlies recovery of residual motor function after SCI (2000s), providing the first evidence that capillary pericytes in the spinal cord exhibit contractions that regulate blood flow, and that these lead to vasospasms that limit oxygenation after spinal cord injury (2010s), discovering that the inhibitory transmitter GABA is paradoxically excitatory to sodium channels in sensory axons, leading to exaggerated sensory transmission after SCI  (2020s), and discovering a spinal neuron that is fundamental to maintaining limb posture, which can be activated optogenetically to restore the  ability to stand after SCI (2020s). Dr. Bennett has been a Full Professor at the University of Alberta since 2004, where he previously held positions as Associate Professor and Assistant Professor since 1996, each as an Alberta Heritage Foundation Research Scholar. Prior to this, he obtained an Electrical Engineering degree from McGill University, obtained his PhD in Neuroscience at MIT, and served as a Post Doctoral fellow at MIT, University of Alberta and University of Copenhagen. In his spare time Dr. Bennett is always active, working on anything that is out of the ordinary.

Scientific Career
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2004- present: Professor, Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta

2001- 2004: Associate Professor, Centre for Neuroscience, Rehab. Medicine, Univ. of Alberta

1996-2001: Assistant Professor, Division of Neuroscience, Rehab. Medicine, Univ. of Alberta

1996-2023: Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta

1994-1995: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Copenhagen, with Dr. H. Hultborn

1992-1994: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, with Drs. R.B. Stein and A. Prochazka

1990-1992: Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with Drs. E. Bizzi

1985-1990 PhD (Neuroscience), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with Dr. J.M. Hollerbach

1980-1984 BEng (Honours Electrical Engineering), McGill University.



To see a list of selected publications click here.



Ongoing grants from CIHR and NIH (1996 - present).

Previous grants from CFI (1998-9, 2004-8), NSERC (1997-01), VA (2004-8), and AHFMR (1996).

Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research (CIHR, NeuroScience Canada), 2009.

Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Scientist Award, Canada, 2006-11

Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research (CIHR, NeuroScience Canada), 2004.

AHFMR Senior Scholar, Alberta, Canada, 2001-2006

AHFMR Scholar, Alberta, Canada, 1996-2001

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