Lumy Sawaki, M.D., Ph.D., Program Director

Associate Professor
Cardinal Hill Endowed Research Chair in Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Faculty Associate, Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC), University of Kentucky
Joint appointment Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 323-6226
Fax: (859) 323-1123

Lumy Sawaki joined the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in April 2008 as the appointed Cardinal Hill Endowed Chair in Stroke and Spinal Cord Rehabilitation.

She received her M.D. in 1991 from the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, where she also completed her medical residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation. She received her Ph.D. in clinical neurophysiology in 1999 from Kobe University in Japan. That same year, Dr. Sawaki came to the United States to complete a three-and-a-half year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2002, she became a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

She received a prestigious graduate research scholarship from the Ministry of Education of Japan in 1995 and was awarded the Presidential Award from the American Society of Neurorehabilitation in 2000. She went on to receive the Research Excellence Award from Wake Forest University in 2007. She served as Scientific Merit Review Board Member for the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2003 to 2010, who granted her the Distinguished Service Award for Rehabilitation Research and Development in 2010. In 2011, she was awarded the “Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence, Passion, Inspiration and Unfailing Leadership” by the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is a member of an international consortium called the “Walk Again Project.” This project unites the Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Kentucky with researchers from other esteemed institutions, including Duke University (USA), Association for Assistance of Disabled Children (Brazil), the International Neuroscience Network Foundation, Technical University of Munich (Germany), BIA (France), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), the University of California-Davis (USA), and the Edmond & Lily Safra International Neuroscience Institute of Natal (Brazil). She also serves as a charter member of the NIH Acute Neural Injury and Epilepsy Study Section.

Sawaki has a research foundation that focuses on stroke and spinal cord rehabilitation. She has received related grant awards from the American Heart Association, the Dana Foundation, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Department of Education and the NIH. She has a special interest in neuroplasticity and in the development of novel rehabilitative strategies to enhance functional motor recovery after stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Using techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, her goal is to explore and refine pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to be applied in the clinical setting.

Dr. Sawaki is married to Ted, a musician, with whom she enjoys having joyful and inspiring discussions about the amazing affinity of the brain for learning to play musical instruments and for relearning motor skills after neurological injuries. She is also an active supporter of animal rights and has a blue heeler mix, an elderly toy poodle, and a calico cat.

Elizabeth Powell, MS

Biomedical Engineer
Phone: (859) 323-6889
Fax: (859) 323-1123

Elizabeth Powell holds a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and a master's degree, also in Biomedical Engineering, from the University of Kentucky. Her master's research dealt with the development of a brain-machine interface that can detect an individual's intent to move to assist in rehabilitation following spinal cord injury or stroke. She joined the Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury Research Lab in October 2013 after finishing her master's degree.

In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys exercising, gardening, baking, and relaxing with her husband and yellow lab.

Kendall Harrison

Research Assistant

Phone: (859) 323-6889 
Fax: (859) 323-1123

Teresa Griffee

Administrative Research Assistant, Sr. 
Phone: (859) 323-3013
Fax: (859) 323-1123

Teresa Griffee joined the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in October, 2008.  She joined the Stroke and Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Program as Dr. Sawaki’s administrative assistant in November, 2008, bringing over 25 years of experience as an administrative assistant to the department.

Teresa is married and has one son.  She enjoys volunteer work at her church, singing, photography, going to movies and camping.  


Warren Alilain, PhD, Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, University of Kentucky

Babak Bazrgari, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, University of Kentucky

Melba Custer, PhD, Occupational Therapy, Spalding University

Fan Gao, PhD, Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky

Cassandra Ginn, OTD, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University

Amanda Glueck, PhD, Neurology, University of Kentucky

Larry B Goldstein, MD, Neurology, University of Kentucky

Yang Jiang, PhD, Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky

Ai-Ling Lin, PhD, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky

L Creed Pettigrew, MD, MPH, Neurology, University of Kentucky

David K Powell, PhD, Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky

Camille Skubik-Peplaski, PhD, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University

Sridhar Sunderam, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, University of Kentucky

Linda Van Eldik, PhD, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky

Philip M Westgate, PhD, Biostatistics, University of Kentucky