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Vedantam Laboratory

Vedantam Laboratory

About the Vedantam Laboratory

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Aditya Vedantam, researchers at the Vedantam Laboratory seek to improve the lives of people suffering from spinal cord dysfunction—performing clinical and translational research to improve our understanding of spinal cord disease states and enhance recovery of neurological function.
Vedantam Lab members discussing FEM modeling of discs in Hub for Collaborstive Medicine
Examples of computational modeling of the cervical spine

Research Overview

In its efforts to improve our understanding of spinal cord pathology and enhanced recovery of function, the Vedantam Lab performs clinical and translational research for spinal cord disease states such as degenerative cervical myelopathy and spinal cord injury. The Lab is investigating the pathophysiology of degenerative cervical myelopathy through imaging, finite element modeling and quantitative functional assessments. The Lab is also working on implementing novel training paradigms to restore hand function after cervical spine surgery for cervical myelopathy.

Finite Element Modeling of the Cervical Spinal Cord in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Finite Element Models of Cervical Spine (x3) and disk (x1)The Vedantam Lab is actively involved in developing finite element models of the cervical spinal cord for evaluation of DCM. Our group is one of the first to develop a patient-specific finite element model of the cervical spine and spinal cord for DCM using a pre-surgical MRI. Our approach incorporates patient-specific geometries and morphology, which influence spinal cord stress and strain during neck motion. By simulating surgical interventions on these models, we can now predict changes in spinal cord biomechanics after a particular surgical intervention for DCM. Our actively funded work is aimed at determining if spinal cord biomechanics are linked to microstructural spinal cord injury and neurological function.

Image:  Finite element models of cervical spine

Representative Publications

Spinal cord stress after anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion: results from a patient-specific finite element model

Implementing a Novel Virtual Reality Training Program for Hand Dexterity in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Subjects with DCM often have fine motor dysfunction in their hands, which significantly impairs their ability to perform activities of daily living. The Vedantam Lab is investigating the utility of a virtual reality training paradigm to rehabilitate hand function after surgery for DCM. A single-arm trial for virtual reality hand training in DCM is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Brian Schmit at Marquette University and Dr. Derek Kamper at University of North Carolina/NC State University. This actively funded study uses a virtual musical keyboard and an instrumented glove to train hand dexterity in subjects with DCM who have had surgery within a year. We are also investigating neuroplasticity (changes in brain activation) by using event-related EEG before and after training.

Advanced Multi-parametric Imaging of the Spinal Cord in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy Imaging

MCW has pioneered work in advanced spinal cord MR imaging. The Vedantam Lab, in collaboration with other investigators, is using multi-parametric MR imaging of the cervical spinal cord to improve the assessment of pre- and post-surgical spinal cord integrity in DCM. By combining advanced MRI with quantitative functional assessments, we are defining a set of MRI imaging biomarkers for DCM. We are working on the creation of a clinically useful set of MR sequences that can enhance diagnosis and prognosis for DCM.

Image:  Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of cervical spinal cord

Representative Publications


Funding for the Vedantam Lab is provided by: 

Principal Investigator

Aditya Vedantam, MDDr. Aditya Vedantam, assistant professor of neurosurgery and Principal Investigator of the Vedantam Laboratory, attended medical school at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, India, and then spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he studied advanced MRI techniques to evaluate spinal cord disease. He completed his neurosurgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, followed by a fellowship in Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Surgery at the University of Miami in Florida. Dr. Vedantam then returned to Milwaukee to continue to pursue his research interests, which include the use of novel MRI techniques and tools to improve care for patients with spinal disorders. He has performed extensive research in the field of spine MRI and has won national and institutional awards for his work. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. His goal is to use his research efforts in the laboratory to enhance the lives of patients in the clinic.

Learn more about Dr. Vedantam

Investigative Collaborators

The Vedantam Laboratory works closely with collaborators from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the University of North Carolina specializing in neurosurgery, neurology, neurophysiology, imaging, biostatistics, biomechanics and biomedical engineering. 


Anjishnu Banerjee, PhD

Associate Professor, Biostatistics


Matthew D. Budde, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery


Derek Kamper, PhD

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering


Kajana Satkunendrarajah, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery; Physiology


Priyanka Shah-Basak, PhD

Assistant Professor


Narayan Yoganandan, PhD

Professor & Chair of Biomechanics, Department of Neurosurgery; Orthopaedic Surgery; Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering

Current Lab Members

Current members of the Vedantam Laboratory include Principal Investigator Dr. Aditya Vedantam, as well as graduate students and professional research staff specializing in neurosurgery, neurotrauma, biomedical engineering and degenerative cervical myelopathy.


Aditya Vedantam, MD

Associate Professor; Director, Minimally Invasive Surgery; Director, Center for Cervical Myelopathy; Adjunct Faculty in Biomedical Engineering, Radiology, and Orthopedics


Jasmin Bowers

Clinical Research Coordinator I


Robyn Furger, MA, CCRC

Clinical Research Coordinator, Brain Injury Research Program


Balaji Harinathan

Graduate Student


Viprav Raju, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow


Caroline Treis

Clinical Research Coordinator I

Undergraduate Researchers

Ali Warraich
Stephen Scripp, BS

Recent Publications

Get Involved with the Vedantam Lab

The Vedantam Laboratory is dedicated to engaging current researchers and creating opportunities for the next generation of neuroscientists and biomedical engineers. 

Graduate Education

Researchers seeking graduate-level educational opportunities at the intersection of Neurosurgery and Neural Bioengineering are invited to explore opportunities in the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, as well as the Neuroscience Doctoral Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  

Biomedical Engineering Graduate Studies

Neuroscience Doctoral Program

Student Research

Undergraduate and high school students interested in gaining research experience in neuroscience and biomedical engineering labs are invited to explore undergraduate research opportunities supported by the Zablocki VA Medical Center Laboratories. 

Student Research Opportunities at ZVAMC Labs



The Vedantam Laboratory is always on the lookout for individuals with an interest in spinal cord dysfunction, degenerative cervical myelopathy and the restoration of neurological function. 

For general questions regarding open opportunities, contact Dr. Aditya Vedantam.