Alexander “Sasha” Rabchevsky
Ph.D. Associate Professor of Physiology, University of Kentucky
Sasha is currently an Associate Professor of Physiology at the University of Kentucky and a core faculty member of the Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC). Sasha is paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a motorcycle accident in 1985 which broke his thoracic vertebrae, rendering him a complete T5 paraplegic.
Based in Lexington, KY, since 1997, Sasha has been investigating experimental therapeutic approaches for spinal cord injury (SCI). Sasha conducts scientific research with the aim of developing clinical treatments to improve the quality of life for individuals already living with secondary complications of SCI, such as alleviating debilitating muscle spasticity and autonomic dysreflexia. Autonomic dysreflexia is a potentially life-threatening hypertensive syndrome after SCI at thoracic vertebra level T6 or higher, which Sasha – like many other people – experiences on a daily basis when triggered by painful sensations below the injury level.
Sasha got involved with No Barriers in 2007 when he was invited to the No Barriers Festival in Squaw Valley, CA, by Hugh Herr, Ph.D., a former member of the No Barriers Board of Directors. At the scientific meetings, while Hugh described his remarkable prosthetic limbs, Sasha described the experimental implantation of a functional electrical system (FES) of electrodes into his leg and back muscles, enabling him to stand and “walk” with the aid of a walker. In this context, Sasha also continually plays the role of experimental subject in the realm of scientific discovery.