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  • PhD Studentship Available

    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