Ronald James Cotton, MD, PhD

R. James Cotton, MD, PhD

Lab Director, Regenstein Foundation Center for Bionic Medicine

About Me

R. James Cotton, MD, PhD, is an electrical engineer, neuroscientist and physiatrist.

Dr. Cotton’s lab works at the intersection of artificial intelligence, wearable sensors, computer vision, causal and biomechanical modeling, and novel technologies to more precisely monitor and improve rehabilitation outcomes. In particular, his team focuses on methods that can be easily translated and disseminated at scale into the clinic or real world. 

Dr. Cotton has developed a wearable sensor and smartphone-based platform as well as a multicamera markerless motion capture system — both of which make it easy to acquire precise measurements of movement in clinical settings. Currently, he is testing gamified electromyographic biofeedback using electromyography acquired from wearable sensors to improve muscle activation after spinal cord injury (SCI). With the goal of facilitating greater precision in rehabilitation interventions, he is leading video- and sensor-based gait analysis from data acquired using a smartphone.

In addition to his work at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Dr. Cotton is an Assistant Professor in the Northwestern University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). He completed his residency in PM&R at Northwestern’s McGaw Medical Center at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Prior, he obtained an MD-PhD in systems neuroscience from Baylor College of Medicine and, before that, a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Rice University.



Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 E. Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Regenstein Foundation Center for Bionic Medicine

Our vision is to develop, evaluate, and translate transformative technology to advance human ability

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