Lumy Sawaki joined the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in April 2008 as the appointed Cardinal Hill Endowed Scholar in Stroke and Spinal Cord Rehabilitation.
She received her M.D. in 1991 from the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, where she also completed her medical residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation. She received her Ph.D. in clinical neurophysiology in 1999 from Kobe University in Japan. That same year, Dr. Sawaki came to the United States to complete a three-and-a-half-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with Dr. Leonardo Cohen, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In 2002, she became a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
She received a prestigious graduate research scholarship from the Ministry of Education of Japan in 1995 and was awarded the Presidential Award from the American Society of Neurorehabilitation in 2000. She went on to receive the Research Excellence Award from Wake Forest University in 2007.
Sawaki has a research foundation that focuses on stroke and spinal cord rehabilitation. She has received related grant awards from the American Heart Association, the Dana Foundation, and the NIH. She has a special interest in neuroplasticity and in the development of novel rehabilitative strategies to enhance functional motor recovery after stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Using techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, magnetoencephalography, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, her goal is to explore and refine pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to be applied in the clinical setting.
Dr. Sawaki is married to Ted, a musician, with whom she enjoys having joyful and inspiring discussions about the amazing affinity of the brain for learning to play musical instruments and for relearning motor skills after neurological injuries. She is also an active supporter of animal rights and has a chocolate lab, a Yorkshire terrier, and two twin calico cats.