Due to closure of TCNL, gifts to the TCNL Fund at the UW Foundation are no longer being accepted. Information below is being provided for reference purposes only. Thank you for your gifts!
Information for Donors
Research at TCNL is inherently paradigm-shifting and challenging to support. Private support is an essential part of our strategy to acquire pilot data preceding application for significant grant funding. Like many laboratories, our ability to conduct research in any particular area is dependent on our ability to fund it. We therefore established the TCNL Fund, administered by the University of Wisconsin Foundation.
Our goal is to transform the generous support we receive into a more promising future for neurological and sensory disorders. We aim to enhance the rehabilitation process by making the neuroplastic changes that occur during therapy more substantial and efficient; to enable new therapies for conditions with no, or few options; and to transfer the site of rehabilitation from the clinic to the home.
The TCNL is an interdisciplinary academic center studying the theory and clinical application of neuroplasticity for sensory substitution and neuromodulation, using non-invasive methods to stimulate the nerves responsible for tactile (touch) perception. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to reorganize its operation in response to new information sources, new functional needs, or new communication pathways.
TCNL focuses on two primary kinds of research and development. One is the use of touch to substitute or augment information for applications such as loss of vision, balance, hearing, and situational awareness. A familiar example is Braille for reading by a person who is blind; TCNL R&D expands the technological means of substituting one sense for another.
The second thrust of TCNL R&D is external tactile stimulation coupled with behavioral methods to intentionally change and regulate the internal electrochemical environment of the brain, called neuromodulation. Practical application of noninvasive neuromodulation may significantly improve and sustain functional brain rehabilitation for recovery from a host of neurological disorders, including trauma/stroke, degenerative (Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis), developmental (autism, dyspraxia), aging (Alzheimer's, falls), and potentially mood and behavior (depression, ADD).
The TCNL fund supports the general operations of our lab: salaries, scholarships, professorships, research, equipment, travel, symposia, workshops and other functions as they directly relate to the TCNL. The lab resides within the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Please note that as a research lab and not a clinic or health care facility, TCNL does not and cannot charge for participation in research studies. The purpose of our studies is to better understand new treatment methods, not deliver health care. Study participants may or may not realize any benefit from participation, and may be exposed to risks associated with experimental methods. Knowledge acquired from such participation helps TCNL to advance the state of the art in neurorehabilitation and bring hope for those with presently intractable conditions. TCNL devices are not available except as part of experimental protocols approved by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Health Sciences Institutional Review Board.
The Paul Bach-y-Rita Memorial Fund
The UW Foundation also established an annual fund in honor of TCNL founder Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita. This is separate from the TCNL Fund. The purpose of the Paul Bach-y-Rita Memorial Fund is to honor a pioneering neuroscientist who pushed back the boundaries of contemporary scientific thought regarding adult brain plasticity.