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Changfeng Tai, PhD

Associate Professor of Urology and Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh

Changfeng Tai received his Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from the Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, in 1992. After his postdoctoral training in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, he joined the Department of Pharmacology as a faculty member. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include neuromodulation to restore urinary bladder functions after spinal cord injury, model analysis of nerve stimulation, and neurophysiology and pharmacology of the lower urinary tract. Dr. Tai’s research is funded by NIH, DOD, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Medtronic Inc., and Ethicon Inc., a Johnson and Johnson Company.

Dr. Tai has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and served as a member of study sections for NIH, DOD, and VA. Dr. Tai is a senior member of IEEE and a member of Society for Neuroscience.


Research Interests

Design and development of new neural prosthetic devices to restore urinary functions in neurological disorder conditions.

Special interests are focused on the control of both bladder and sphincter using electrical nerve stimulation. One of the goals for this research project is to restore the functions for urine storage and elimination after spinal cord injury.

Two urological problems need to be solved in people with spinal cord injury:

  1. How to inhibit the bladder over-activity during urine storage to prevent the frequent incontinence.
  2. How to inhibit the tonic contractions of urethral sphincter during voiding to completely eliminate urine.

Modeling analysis of electrical nerve stimulation.

This project is aimed at understanding the mechanisms and biophysics of nerve response to extra-cellular electrical stimulation. It is focused on how to design the stimulation electrodes and stimulation waveforms to either excite or block the nerves using electrical current. Modeling and computer simulations are extensively used in this project to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the axonal response to electrical stimulation. The results from this project could significantly improve the design of neural prosthetic devices to restore functions after neurological disorders.

Understanding the neurophysiology and neuropharmacology of the lower urinary tract.