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01-25-2008, 10:44 PM
PhD StudentShip Available
Penn State University
Movement Neuroscience Laboratory/Biomechanics Laboratory
Departments of Kinesiology, Neurology, and Bioengineering

Description of Environment, Project, and Studentship:

Our research program is focused on discerning the neural mechanisms
underlying control of reaching movements in humans. We currently
employ two primary models to explore the organization of reaching
movements: Motor Lateralization in Healthy Subjects and stroke. We
explore control mechanisms through both empirical studies and, to a
lesser extent, through the use of simulations. We currently have 4
experimental set-ups that employ a virtual reality environment
designed and programmed by Dr. Sainburg. One of our systems is
interfaced with an MIT MANUS robotic manipulandum, which allows the
application of programmed forces during movements. All set-ups are
equipped with 3-D multiple segment motion tracking and surface EMG

We are currently expanding our projects to explore how basic control
and learning mechanisms might interact with recovery in stroke. We
have developed a laboratory in the Clinical Neurology Department on
our Medical Campus, and have an active collaboration with Kathleen
Haaland at the New Mexico VA, where we have been examining stroke
patients. I have a professional background and strong interest in
medical rehabilitation, and many of our projects have implications for
rehabilitation science. Our current focus is related to understanding
the movement deficits that occur on the same side of the body as the
stroke, referred to as ipsilesional motor deficits. These deficits
result from the contributions of ipsilateral hemisphere to motor
control, and thus provide a unique opportunity to examine the
contribution of each hemisphere to control of movement. Our laboratory
is currently supported by NIH, and receives partial support through
the Veteranís Administration and the Pennsylvania State Department of

Applicants should be committed to obtaining a PhD in the areas of
Motor Control, Biomechanics, Neuroscience, or Bioengineering. A
current masters degree is not required, but is encouraged. Stipend and
Tuition is included in the studentship. State College is a high
quality, low cost area to live, rendering even a graduate stipend very


The Penn State Department of Kinesiology houses a world class program
in Biomechanics and Motor Control, and provides an intellectually
stimulating and scientifically fertile environment in which to learn.
Several excellent seminars in Neuroscience, Biomechanics and Motor
Control, and Bioengineering attract prominent scientists from around
the globe. We often have international visiting scientists, and have
frequent scientific and social interactions between and within
laboratories. Our laboratory has interactions and occasional
collaborations with the laboratories of Mark Latash, Dagmar Sternad,
David Rosenbaum, Karl Newell, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Steve Piazza,
Jinger Gottshall, David Good, among many others. We also have a great
time in less formal, social get-togethers to celebrate and discuss

If you are interested in applying, please send me an email explaining
your interest and background and contact information.

Robert L. Sainburg, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Neurology
Graduate Programs in Bioengineering and Neuroscience
Co-Director Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Huck Institutes
of Life Sciences
Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802
Tel.: (814)-865-7938//Fax: (814)-8634755