Milap Sandhu, PT, PhD

Milap Sandhu, PT, PhD

Research Scientist II, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University

About Me

Dr. Milap Sandhu is a Research Scientist II at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Sandhu's research agenda centers around promoting functional independence in individuals with neurological deficits. His work broadly focuses on identifying and validating plasticity-inducing therapies that can enhance sensorimotor recovery, with a specific emphasis on translational research at the intersection of neuroplasticity and rehabilitation in individuals with spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis. The goal of his research is to conduct mechanistic studies in neuroplasticity, with an eye towards translating them into effective clinical interventions via randomized clinical trials. This undertaking involves collaborations with other investigators at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Northwestern University, and other top institutions across the nation.

Dr. Sandhu has received grant support from numerous organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. His extensive publications cover a wide range of topics related to neuroplasticity and rehabilitation in both humans and animal models.

Dr. Sandhu obtained his BS in Physical Therapy from Guru Nanak Dev University in India, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Florida, Gainesville.


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie, Floor 21C

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Training



    2004 - 2010
    Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program, University of Florida
    1998 - 2003
    Physical Therapy, India


    2014 - 2016
    Postdoctoral Fellow - Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (Now Shirley Ryan AbilityLab)
    2011 - 2014
    Postdoctoral Associate - Respiratory Rehabilitation, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida

Recent Publications

Efficacy and time course of acute intermittent hypoxia effects in the upper extremities of people with cervical spinal cord injury.
Sandhu MS, Perez MA, Oudega M, Mitchell GS, Rymer WZ
Experimental neurology
doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2021.113722
Prednisolone Pretreatment Enhances Intermittent Hypoxia-Induced Plasticity in Persons With Chronic Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury.
Sandhu MS, Gray E, Kocherginsky M, Jayaraman A, Mitchell GS, Rymer WZ
Neurorehabilitation and neural repair
doi: 10.1177/1545968319872992

Honors & Awards

  • 40 Under 40 - Chicago Scientists
    This award honors scientists making significant strides in translational research, and recognizes 40 scientists under 40 in Chicagoland, 2019
  • Switzer Research Fellowship Award
    National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, 2015
  • Outstanding Research Award
    College of Health Professions Research Day, University of Florida, 2009, 2010

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Spinal Cord Injury Association
    2019 - Present
  • Member, American Physical Therapy Association
    2016 - Present
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience
    2006 - Present

Research Interests

  • Neuroplasticity and Motor Control
  • Clinical Trials in Neurorehabilitation Interventions
  • Acute Intermittent Hypoxia-induced Neuromodulation

Single Motor Unit Laboratory

We record electrical activity from single motor units as well as muscle during voluntary and reflex contractions in patients with neurological disorders.

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