Colin Franz Headshot

Colin Franz MD, PhD

Position Physician-Scientist

Board Certifications: Neuromuscular Medicine, Electrodiagnostic Medicine, and Physiatry
Practicing since 2012
Joined staff in 2018
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Telephone Number


About Me

About Me

Dr. Colin Franz is a physician-scientist with fellowship training and board certifications in neuromuscular medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. He serves as the director of the electrodiagnostic laboratory at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab hospital, as well as a staff physician in the Lois Insolia ALS clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Franz has a strong interest in complex peripheral nerve injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, diaphragm muscle dysfunction, neuromuscular ultrasound, and activity-based treatments for neural restoration. His laboratory team takes a highly technology-oriented approach to personalize rehabilitation medicine, drawing inspiration from the patients under their care. The current studies in Dr. Franz's research encompass a wide range of topics, including transient (resorbable) implanted devices for delivering therapeutics directly to regenerating axons, as well as the generation of human neurons from patient-derived pluripotent stem cells to isolate and understand how individual genetic differences impact neurotrauma outcomes and regenerative capacity. Dr. Franz's research receives support from esteemed organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Neuromuscular Foundation, National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Belle Carnell Regenerative Neurorehabilitation fund.


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Training



    1998 - 2002
    Dalhousie University, BS (Honours) in Kinesiology
    2002 - 2007
    Dalhousie University, PhD in Anatomy and Neuroscience
    2009 - 2012
    University of Calgary, MD


    2012 - 2017
    Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University


    2017 - 2018
    Neuromuscular Medicine, The Ken & Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University

Honors & Awards

  • Foundation for PM&R - Richard S. Materson ERF New Investigator Research Award
    "Neurotrauma in a Dish" - An induced pluripotent stem cell-based assay to determine patient specific factors affecting rehabilitation outcomes, 2018
  • Helen Cooper Resident, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
    Recognition of the physical medicine and rehabilitation resident who made the greatest contribution to teaching., 2016
  • Lydia Sikora Memorial Award, University of Calgary
    Recognition of the medical student who made the most outstanding contribution to research., 2011


  • Society for Neuroscience
    Member, 2003
  • Peripheral Nerve Society
    Member, 2011
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Member, 2012
  • American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine
    Member and Research Committee, 2017

Regenerative Neurorehabilitation Laboratory

This lab uses a combination of molecular, biochemical, and electrophysiological assays to study axon regeneration and motor neuron disease with a priority on human preclinical models such as iPSC-neurons.

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