Dr Samit Chakrabarty

PhD (Cantab)
Lecturer in Neuroscience
School of Biomedical Sciences

Background: A systems neurophysiologist, studying plasticity and interaction between the spinal circuits and their modulators - the sensory inputs from periphery and descending inputs from brain. PhD - University of Cambridge; Postdoc - Columbia University, NYC; Spinal Cord Research Centre, Winnipeg, Canada; Visiting Associate Professor - Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen; Research Associate Professor - Columbia University, NYC

Contact: Garstang G5.55b, +44(0) 113 34 34256, email address for  

You can read more about Dr Chakrabarty's interests here:

Research Interests

Neurophysiology of Motor control

Motor action and role of spinal interneurones

A motor act is successful when an organism evades a predator, catches a prey, plays the violin or hurls insults. Motor action is only possible when the spinal motor effectors or motoneurones are active. To actively adjust their output depending on the need during a task, requires that these motoneurones are modulated, from moment to moment, either by feedback from the periphery or feedforward commands from the higher brain structures.

These regulatory inputs and their effect on the motoeneurones is what we study in my group, for both walking and reaching in humans and in animal models of developmental disorders and ageing. The ultimate goal is to decipher the underlying operating principles, which can then be used to better the therapies and interventions towards restoring motor control in people suffering from movement disorders.


Current Projects

Modulation of spinal motor output by inputs from brain and periphery. Examining the role of changing interactions between excitatory and inhibitory pospulatins of neurons within the spinal cord and its effects on segmental motor output.

Previously, we have shown that changing neuron counts and phenotypes in the spinal cord affects the motor output from the spinal segment during development. We are examining if this is true in disease states and ageing.

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH exploring new diagnostic tools for neurologists and undertsanding neurological dysfunctions like Cerebral Palsy (http://www.fbs-wp.leeds.ac.uk/cpres/)

MATHEMATICAL MODELS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS. We are using the data generated from our biological experiments and developing a stochastic model. This allows to examine likely interactions between populations leading to changing motor outputs which are then verified experimentally.

APPLICATIONS. We work with Engineers to develop better smarter prosthetic devices and micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) electrodes to facilitate recording and stimulation towards the same.


Dr Paul Steenson (Electronics Engineering) - Development of new devices and tools for biomedical and clinical use

Dr Ronaldo Ichiyama (FBS)- Spinal cord injury models and rehabilitation in animal models

Dr Marc de Kamps (Computing) - Mathematical modelling of the mammalian motor system

Dr Sarah Astill (FBS) - Spinal cord injury models and rehabilitation in people

Dr Jongrae Kim (Mechanical Engineering) - Mathematical optimisations

Dr Richard Mead (University of Sheffield) - Mice models of Motor dysfunction

Dr Kevin Power (Memorial Univeristy) - Motor synergies and dysfunction and rehabilitation

Dr Rory O'Connor (Medicine) - Motor dysfunction and rehabilitation in people

Dr Preeti Raghavan (New York University) - Motor dysfunction and rehabilitation in people

Our research is supported by the BBSRC, the International foundation for research in paraplegia, International Spinal Research Trust, Craig Nielsen Foundation and The Royal Society.


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Systematic analysis of the neuronal architecture of the spinal cord and brain related to motor control, application towards development of neuroprosthetics. Techniques: Systems neurophysiology, Immunohistochemistry, Mathematical modelling

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • 1. Reflex reorganisation during development, post injury and ageing
  • 2. Spinal cord injury and restoration of voluntary control
  • 3. Development of smarter neuroprosthetics
  • 4. Development of more efficient multichannel recording and stimulating devices

See also:

Modules taught

BIOL5294M - MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal
BIOL5392M - Bioscience MSc Research Project
BMSC1210/SPSC1222 - Biology of the Mind/Neuroscience for Exercise Science
BMSC1213 - Basic Laboratory and Scientific Skills 2
BMSC2118 - Neurobiology
BMSC2118/2123 - Neurobiology and Sensorty and Motor Neuroscience
BMSC2120 - Scientific Skills
BMSC2231 - Topics in Neuroscience
BMSC3126/43/44/45/46 A - ATU - Integrative biomedical sciences
BMSC3140 - Advanced Scientific Skills
BMSC3301 - Research Project in Biomedical Sciences
BMSC5301M - Advanced Research Topics
SPSC3125 - Motor Control and Neurorehabilitation

Centre membership: Neuroscience Research at Leeds (NeuR@L)

Group Leader Dr Samit Chakrabarty  (Lecturer in Neuroscience)

Neurophysiology of Motor control 


Thomas Richards (Primary supervisor) 60% FTE
Piyanee Sriya (Primary supervisor) 60% FTE
Gareth York (Primary supervisor) 60% FTE
Christine Addington (Co-supervisor) 30% FTE
Antonio Capozio (Co-supervisor) 40% FTE
Richard Dickson (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Kevin Lichtensteiger (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Kun Qian (Co-supervisor) 33% FTE

Almond NM, Chakrabarty S A review of cerebral palsy - aetiology, current understanding and treatment: A call for action In Horizons in Neuroscience Research, 2017
View abstract

Smith CC, Paton JFR, Chakrabarty S, Ichiyama RM Descending systems direct development of key spinal motor circuits Journal of Neuroscience 37 6372-6387, 2017
View abstract

Shevtsova NA, Hamade K, Chakrabarty S, Markin SN, Prilutsky BI, Rybak IA Modeling the Organization of Spinal Cord Neural Circuits Controlling Two-Joint Muscles, 2016

Lewis DI, Byrne A, Choppin C, Davies D, Watkins C, Chakrabarty S, McBurney S, Volz V, Wilshaw S Creating Xerte e-learning resources: An easy to use student guide, 2015

Friel KM, Williams PTJA, Serradj N, Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Activity-Based Therapies for Repair of the Corticospinal System Injured during Development. Front Neurol 5 229-, 2014
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Friel KM, Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Pathophysiological mechanisms of impaired limb use and repair strategies for motor systems after unilateral injury of the developing brain Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 55 27-31, 2013
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Tan AM, Chakrabarty S, Kimura H, Martin JH Selective Corticospinal Tract Injury in the Rat Induces Primary Afferent Fiber Sprouting in the Spinal Cord and Hyperreflexia JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE 32 12896-12908, 2012

Friel K, Chakrabarty S, Kuo HC, Martin J Using motor behavior during an early critical period to restore skilled limb movement after damage to the corticospinal system during development Journal of Neuroscience 32 9265-9276, 2012
View abstract

Bauknight WM, Chakrabarty S, Hwang BY, Malone HR, Joshi S, Bruce JN, Connolly ES, Winfree CJ, Cunningham MG, Martin JH, Haque R Convection enhanced drug delivery of BDNF through a microcannula in a rodent model to strengthen connectivity of a peripheral motor nerve bridge model to bypass spinal cord injury JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE 19 563-569, 2012

Martin JH, Chakrabarty S, Friel KM Harnessing activity-dependent plasticity to repair the damaged corticospinal tract in an animal model of cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol 53 Suppl 4 9-13, 2011
View abstract

Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Co-development of proprioceptive afferents and the corticospinal tract within the cervical spinal cord. Eur J Neurosci 34 682-694, 2011
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Chakrabarty S, Martin J Postnatal refinement of proprioceptive afferents in the cat cervical spinal cord EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE 33 1656-1666, 2011

Martin JH, Friel KM, Salimi I, Chakrabarty S Corticospinal Development In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 2010
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Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Postnatal development of a segmental switch enables corticospinal tract transmission to spinal forelimb motor circuits. J Neurosci 30 2277-2288, 2010
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Martin JH, Friel KM, Chakrabarty S, Salimi I Harnessing activity-dependent plasticity in the developing corticospinal system to restore motor function after perinatal brain injury Technology and Disability 22 167-177, 2010
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Chakrabarty S, Shulman B, Martin JH Activity-dependent codevelopment of the corticospinal system and target interneurons in the cervical spinal cord. J Neurosci 29 8816-8827, 2009
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Chakrabarty S, Friel KM, Martin JH Activity-dependent plasticity improves M1 motor representation and corticospinal tract connectivity. J Neurophysiol 101 1283-1293, 2009
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Aggelopoulos NC, Chakrabarty S, Edgley SA Presynaptic control of transmission through group II muscle afferents in the midlumbar and sacral segments of the spinal cord is independent of corticospinal control Experimental Brain Research 187 61-70, 2008
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Campos LW, Chakrabarty S, Haque R, Martin JH Regenerating motor bridge axons refine connections and synapse on lumbar motoneurons to bypass chronic spinal cord injury. J Comp Neurol 506 838-850, 2008
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Brus-Ramer M, Carmel JB, Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Electrical stimulation of spared corticospinal axons augments connections with ipsilateral spinal motor circuits after injury. J Neurosci 27 13793-13801, 2007
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Martin JH, Friel KM, Salimi I, Chakrabarty S Activity- and use-dependent plasticity of the developing corticospinal system. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 31 1125-1135, 2007
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Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Motor but not sensory representation in motor cortex depends on postsynaptic activity during development and in maturity. J Neurophysiol 94 3192-3198, 2005
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Chakrabarty S, Martin JH Postnatal development of the motor representation in primary motor cortex. J Neurophysiol 84 2582-2594, 2000
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Aggelopoulos NC, Chakrabarty S, Edgley SA Evoked excitability changes at the terminals of midlumbar premotor interneurons in the cat spinal cord. J Neurosci 17 1512-1518, 1997
View abstract


Richards T, Sriya P, Astill S, Chakrabarty S Shared neural input between muscles activated during shoulder abduction and adduction