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The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

Down to Earth (Episode 93)

Guest: Dimitry Sayenko

Today we are speaking with Dimitry Sayenko. Dimitry is an MD, PhD and an associate professor in Neuromodulation and Nuerosurgery at Houston Methodist Hospital, in Houston, Texas. Our conversation starts off with an exploration of Dimitry’s fascinating beginnings, studying muscle atrophy and bone density in the context of aerospace in both Russia and the U.S. We also talk about his current work studying transcutaneous electrical stimulation and end with a lively exchange of when new discoveries should be implemented in the population. It’s a great conversation that addresses the balance between a researcher’s drive for mechanism and safeguards against the burning desire of the community for functional recovery and risk assessment. 

As always, please share your thoughts with us via email at Thanks for listening! 

Listen on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud

Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bio

Dr. Dimitry Sayenko graduated in 1996 from the Russian State Medical University with an MD degree. Subsequently, from 1996 to 2006, he served as a researcher at the Institute for Biomedical Problems, the foremost Russian research institute specializing in biomedical aspects of manned spaceflights. In 2005, Dr. Sayenko earned his PhD in Aerospace Medicine, focusing on the impact of microgravity on postural control in cosmonauts and astronauts. Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Sayenko pursued postdoctoral training at the National Rehabilitation Center in Japan from 2006 to 2008, and later at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute in Canada from 2008 to 2012. During this period, he honed his expertise in the field of electrophysiology and motor control. From 2012 to 2014, Dr. Sayenko held a faculty appointment at the University of Louisville and the Frazier Rehab Institute, dedicating his efforts to investigating the mechanisms of neuromodulation induced by epidural spinal stimulation. In the subsequent years, from 2014 to 2018, Dr. Sayenko collaborated with Drs. Reggie Edgerton and Yury Gerasimenko at UCLA. During this period, he utilized spinal stimulation techniques in individuals with spinal cord injuries to facilitate the recovery of sensorimotor function in both upper and lower limbs, as well as to restore postural control during sitting and standing. Dr. Sayenko's current research, conducted at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, focuses on the mechanisms and effects of spinal neuromodulation in sensorimotor recovery after neurological disorders and injuries. His research encompasses conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. Notably, Dr. Sayenko has received grants from prestigious institutions, including the Creig H. Neilsen and Wings for Life Research Foundations. Additionally, he recently secured an NIH R01 grant to investigate the mechanisms of transcutaneous and epidural spinal stimulation, with the goal of promoting self-assisted standing in individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Recent Research

Dr. Sayenko is also enrolling participants for his NIH-funded R01 project! He is exploring the mechanisms and impacts of transcutaneous and epidural spinal stimulation on self-assisted standing post paralysis due to SCI. If you or someone you know is interested, feel free to reach out to Dr. Sayenko at or our fantastic research coordinator, Jenny Dinh

Information about this trial should be available on shortly!