Research Interests
Educational Background



College of Health & Human Services



Ray de Leon


Kinesiology and Nutritional Science


Office:  ASCL 115
Phone:  (323) 343-4855


As a Kinesiology professor at Cal State LA, I am dedicated to 1) preparing our students to advance toward  health-related careers and 2) providing opportunities for students to perform basic and clinical research in my laboratory.  I believe in hands-on, service learning, and I teach classes that give students valuable experience in working with individuals with special exercise needs. 

My research focuses on gait retraining after spinal-cord injury (Spinal Plasticity Laboratory) and on the effects of exercise for individuals with spinal cord injury (Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Research)I started the Mobility Gym at Cal State LA (Mobility Gym), an exercise facility that was established on the CSULA campus for people with physical impairments.




I have been studying spinal cord plasticity following injury for over 20 years. In particular, I have examined the effect of robotic-assisted treadmill training in a rodent model of spinal cord injury. My laboratory is recognized as a pioneer in this field and our studies have combined a number of different techniques including biochemical, electrophysiological, kinematic and bioengineering approaches. Our findings have had important implications on how gait rehabilitation is currently performed in humans with spinal cord injury. As a PI at Cal State LA, I have been dedicated to training students and have provided funded research opportunities to over 50 undergraduates and graduate students in my laboratory. I have been awarded grants from funding sources including the NIH (1R01NS055911), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of Education and various private foundations interested in spinal cord injury research. I am currently active as a grant reviewer (i.e. Clinical Neuroplasticity and Neurotransmitters NIH Study Section, the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development and private foundations).



Hodgson, J.A., Roy, R.R., de Leon, R., Dobkin, B., Edgerton, V.R. Can the mammalian lumbar spinal cord learn a motor task? Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 26:1491-1497, 1994.

de Leon, R.D., Hodgson, J.A., Roy, R.R. and Edgerton, V.R. Locomotor capacity attributable to step training versus spontaneous recovery following spinalization in cats. J. Neurophysiol. 79:1329-1340, 1998.

de Leon RD, Hodgson JA, Roy RR, Edgerton V.R. Hindlimb locomotor and postural training modulates glycinergic inhibition in the spinal cord of the adult spinal cat. J Neurophysiol. 82:359-369, 1999.

de Leon, R.D., Roy, R.R., Edgerton, V.R. Is the recovery of stepping following spinal cord injury mediated by modifying existing neural pathways or by generating new pathways? Physical Therapy 81:1904-1911, 2001.

Edgerton, V.R., de Leon, R.D., Harkema, S.J., Hodgson, J.A., London, N., Reinkensmeyer, D.J., Roy, R.R., Talmadge, R.J., Tillakaratne, N.J., Timoszyk, W. and Tobin, A. Retraining the injured spinal cord. J. Physiol. (London) 533: 15-22 (2001).

Tillakaratne NJK, De Leon RD, Hoang T, Roy R, Edgerton VR, and Tobin AJ. Use-dependent modulation of inhibitory capacity in the feline lumbar spinal cord. J. Neurosci. 22: 3130-3143, 2002.

Ray D. de Leon, Marc D. Kubasak, Patricia E. Phelps, Wojciech K. Timoszyk, David J. Reinkensmeyer, Roland R. Roy and V. Reggie Edgerton. Using Robotics to Teach the Spinal Cord to Walk. Brain Research Reviews, 40:267-273, 2002.

de Leon RD, Acosta CN. Effect of robotic-assisted treadmill training and chronic quipazine treatment on hindlimb stepping in spinally transected rats. J Neurotrauma. 2006, 23(7):1147-63.

Cha J, Heng C, Reinkensmeyer DJ, Roy RR, Edgerton VR, de Leon RD Locomotor ability in spinal rats is dependent on the amount of activity imposed on the hindlimbs during treadmill training. Journal of Neurotrauma 24(6):1000-12, 2007.

Heng C, de Leon RD. The rodent lumbar spinal cord learns to correct errors in hindlimb coordination caused by viscous force perturbations during stepping. Journal of Neuroscience 27(32):8558-62, 2007.

Heng C, de Leon RD. Exp Neurol. Treadmill training enhances the recovery of normal stepping patterns in spinal cord contused rats. 216(1):139-47, 2009.

Windyanne Khristy, Noore J. Ali, Arlene B. Bravo, Ray de Leon, Roland R. Roy, Hui Zhong, Nik J. L. London, V. Reggie Edgerton and Niranjala J.K. Tillakaratne. Changes in GABAA receptor subunit gamma2 in extensor and flexor motoneurons and astrocytes after spinal cord transection and motor training. Brain Res. 2009 1273:9-17.

Lee C, Won D, Cantoria MJ, Hamlin M, de Leon RD. Robotic assistance that encourages the generation of stepping rather than fully assisting movements is best for learning to step in spinally contused rats. J Neurophysiol. 2011 105(6):2764-71.

de Leon R, See PA, Chow CH. Differential effects of low versus high amounts of weight supported treadmill training in spinal rats. J Neurotrauma. 2011 28(6):1021-33.



University of California, Los Angeles, Brain Research Institute, Physiological Science Dept, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1998-2001

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, Ph.D. degree in Physiological Science, 1998

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, B.S. degree in Kinesiology, 1990


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