Buford 825x990Overview

Professor and Director, Physical Therapy Division

516 Atwell Hall
453 W. 10th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Phone: (614) 292-1520
Fax: (614) 292-5921

Email: john.buford@osumc.edu

Primary Professional Areas of Interest

  • Neurophysiology
  • Motor Control
  • Biomechanics

Research Focus

I have two major areas of interest in research.  The first is basic neurophysiology of the motor control systems in the brain, specifically the corticospinal and reticulospinal systems and how they interact for the control of reaching.  The reticulospinal system, which originates from the brainstem, can be considered the original system for brain control of movement, especially automatic movements like walking and posture.  But in higher primates like monkeys and humans beings, this system has also evolved to play an important role in the control of voluntary movements like reaching.  Understanding how the reticulospinal system works together with the corticospinal system for the control of reaching in normal and pathological states of the nervous system is the major focus of my laboratory.  This has important implications for understanding the neurological systems that contribute to recovery of arm function after stroke, where the corticospinal system is impaired and there is increased reliance on brainstem systems.

My second line of work can be described as contributing to studies relevant to physical therapy where my expertise in biomechanics and neurophysiology can be helpful.  These collaborative interactions have covered subjects ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to low back pain and spinal cord injury.  In studies such as this led by my colleagues, I have been able to bring in expertise in experimental methods for neurophysiological and biomechanical analyses to contribute to the effort of a scientific team.

Recent Publications

Ortiz-Rosario A, Adelli H, and Buford JA  MUSIC-Expected maximization gaussian mixture methodology for clustering and detection of task-related neuronal firing rates.  Behavioural Brain Research 317: 226-236, 2016.

Herbert W., Powell K, Buford JA.  Evidence for a role of the reticulospinal system in recovery of skilled reaching after cortical stroke: initial results from a model of ischemic cortical injury.  Exp. Brain Res. 233 (11): 3231-3251, 2015

Hirschauer T and Buford JA.  Bilateral force transients in the upper limbs evoked by single-pulse microstimulation in the pontomedullary reticular formation.  J. Neurophysiol. 113 (7): 2592-2604, 2015.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Neuroscience for Rehabilitation
  • Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy
  • Careers in Physical Therapy

Major Awards

  • Excellence in Neurologic Research, Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, 2006
  • Margaret Kohli Outstanding Alumni Award in Physical Therapy, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2016
  • School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Excellence in Research Award, 2004
  • School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Excellence in Teaching Award, 2006
  • School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Excellence in Service Award, 2016


  • 1984: B.S. Physical Therapy, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • 1991: PhD. Kinesiology, University of California – Los Angeles
  • 1993: Post-doctoral Fellowship, University of Washington – Seattle

My Research Links