Research: Cognitive Motor Neuroscience

The Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Laboratory, composed of 9 faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students, focuses on behavioral, neural, mechanical, and higher-level mechanisms underlying the selection, planning, learning, initiation, and execution of movement. Using an interdisciplinary approach, these processes are studied from infancy to the end of the lifespan, and in health and disease. Research programs in the laboratory include adaptive sensorimotor control and integration, exercise psychophysiology, perceptual motor development, movement disorders, computational motor neuroscience, smart neuroprosthetics, and neuromechanics. Our research programs are funded by National Institute(s) of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Army Research Office (ARO), and other industrial companies. The Laboratory also has a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement in place with the Army Research Laboratory (Human Research and Engineering Directorate) located at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, MD.

Click here to download the Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Brochure.

Faculty Research Interests:

Clark, Jane

Professor and Dean, Kinesiology / Office of the Dean

email website

(301) 405-2438
2242 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Developmental Motor Control, Motor Development, Movement Disorders

Research Summary : Jane E. Clark was appointed dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health on July 1, 2012. She is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and previously served as chair of that department for ten years. Her work focuses on understanding the development of movement control and coordination in motor skills. Using a dynamic systems approach, Dr. Clark and her colleagues have demonstrated that the newly walking infants limbs, like those of the adult walker, act like coupled nonlinear limit cycle oscillators at both the intralimb and interlimb levels of coordination. Her current research examines the role of sensory information in the development of upright posture and locomotion in infants.

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Gentili, Rodolphe

Research Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

email

(301) 405-2490
2144 E SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Computational Motor Neuroscience, Motor Control, Motor Learning, Neural Modeling

Research Summary : Dr. Gentili's research focuses on the investigation of functional non-invasive brain biomarkers, which assess the level of cognitive-motor performance and learning when humans interact with new dynamics or kinematics tools. Another aspect of his research is to develop bio-inspired control systems able to learn to manipulate anthropomorphic robot limbs (arm/finger), while at the same time incorporating the main biomechanical features of human movement. These two research fields contribute to the development of next generation smart prosthetics.

 

Hatfield, Bradley

Professor & Chair, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2485
2351 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Aging, Exercise Psychophysiology, Exercise and Genomics, Sport Psychology

Research Summary : Dr. Hatfield and his research team investigate exercise and sport psychology issues from a cognitive neuroscience or biological psychology perspective. Their research focuses on 1) health-related issues such as the effect of exercise on the aging brain and the protective effects of physical activity on brain processes that underlie memory and executive function. An important question is whether the neurobiological benefits of exercise are more prominent in those individuals who are genetically at risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The research team also addresses 2) issues related to human performance in order to understand critical brain processes underlying superior cognitive-motor performance, how emotion alters the brain and the quality of performance, and the management of stress in high-performance individuals such as competitive athletes and specialized military personnel.

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Hwang, Sung Jae

Post Doc, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2574
2241 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Biomechanics, Motor Control, Movement Disorders

Introduction : My research focuses on multisensory integration and characterizing dynamic human postural control by multiple input stimuli. This research can provide the most effective methods to discern the integration of sensory information by the central nervous system.

Lab Affiliations :

Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Lab (COGMO Lab)

Affiliations :

Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program (NACS)

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Jeka, John J.

Professor Emeritus, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2512
2357 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Computational Motor Neuroscience, Motor Control, Movement Disorders, Sensorimotor Integration

Research Summary : Dr. Jeka studies how the brain combines sensory information about the environment and one's own body movement to better understand patient populations with neurological disease and injury that lead to balance problems.

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Kiemel, Tim

Research Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2488
2339 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Computational Motor Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Motor Control, Sensorimotor Integration

Introduction : My research focuses on the neural control of movement. The behaviors I study include walking and the postural control of standing in humans and swimming in lampreys. My emphasis is on system-level models that illuminate key aspects of neural control and the use of empirical data to develop and test such models.

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Kwon, Hyun Joon

Post Doc, Kinesiology

Research Focus : Biomechanics

 

Miller, Ross

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2495
2134A SPH Building

Research Focus : Biomechanics

Research Summary : Dr. Miller's research centers on how the neural, muscular, and skeletal systems interact to produce locomotion in health and pathology.

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Oliveira, Marcio

Assistant Dean for Educational Innovation, Office of the Dean

email website

(301) 405-2454
2242-C SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Motor Control, Motor Development, Movement Disorders

Research Summary : Dr. Oliveira's research seeks to characterize the developmental process of finger force control that aims to understand changes in the neuromechanical variables as motor control develops.

 

Shim, Jae Kun

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2492
0110F SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Biomechanics

Research Summary : Our research is currently focused on biomechanics and motor control of (1) hand and digits and (2) persons with lower extremity amputations as well as their applications to medicine, rehabilitation, and ergonomics. We are especially interested in understanding the CNS control mechanism for motor redundancy, developments of motor functions in typically developing children as well as children with developmental coordination disorder, developmental changes and intervention & adaptation of motor functions in elderly persons and the persons with neurological/genetic disorders or stroke, and physiological and biomechanical risk and interventions of persons with lower extremity amputations. We use techniques of biomechanics, motor control, neurophysiology, and exercise physiology: kinematic analysis using motion capture systems, kinetic/dynamic analysis, neuromuscular training, TMS, EMG, MEG, MRI, optic fiber Bragg grading (FBG) force sensors, 6-D kinetic pen, cardiovascular exercise, neuromuscular training, epidemiology, etc.

Lab Affiliations :

Neuromechanics Laboratory (NML)

Affiliations :

Fischell Department of BIoengineering Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science (UM Medical School)

 

Smith, J Carson

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-0344
2146 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Aging, Exercise Intervention, Exercise Psychophysiology, Physical Activity Intervention

Research Summary : Dr. Smith is focused on understanding how exercise and physical activity affect human brain function and mental health. Dr. Smith's investigations use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to examine brain function in people at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Smith, his team of investigators, and collaborators are interested in the potential efficacy for exercise to affect brain function and memory in healthy older adults at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease, as well as in patients diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). The ultimate goal is to provide evidence for exercise to delay conversion to Alzheimer's disease and protect against age-related cognitive decline. In addition, Dr. Smith examines how acute and chronic exercise or physical activity may alter emotional reactivity, attention allocation, and cognitive function among patients with anxiety and/or depressive mood disorders. Visit http://www.exerciseforbrainhealth.com/ for more info.

Lab Affiliations :

Exercise for Brain Health Laboratory

Affiliations :

Maryland Neuroimaging Center; Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program; Women's Health Initiative Study

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Vacante , Dennis F.

Instructor, Adjunct Faculty, Kinesiology

email website

301-864-7589

Research Focus : Motor Development

Research Summary : Dennis Vacante, NBCT/CAPE is a National Board Certified Teacher/Certified in Adapted Physical Education. He is also a Regional Itinerant Liaison for Adapted Physical Education for Prince George's County Public School system. He has taught Adapted Physical Education for 38 years. He worked 28 years teaching elementary students who have orthopedic impairments. He presently works with high school students who have intellectual disabilities and with elementary students who have autism spectrum disorders. Besides teaching "Motor Development and Fitness for Individuals with Disabilities" (KNES-333) Dennis is the coordinator of the Children's Developmental Clinic which services 75-85 children with various disabilities in the areas of motor development, language, social skills, and reading. Students interested in volunteering for the clinic which runs each Saturday morning in the School of Public Health Building can find more information on our website: http://www.sph.umd.edu/KNES/cdc/ The Children's Developmental Clinic will begin fall training in the matted gym (ground floor of School of Public Health Bldg.) at 8:30 am on Saturday, September 6, 2014 (casual dress for participation in lively fun activities). Clinic will run for 11 consecutive Saturday mornings through November 15th inclusive. Clinician volunteers will gain experiential knowledge, learning how to work with children with disabilities. Students can also receive college credit for this service/study experience by taking KNES-389E. Every clinician receives a free tee shirt and a certificate verifying volunteer service hours. Most of all, each volunteer will experience the satisfaction of helping a child who has special needs.

 

Zimmerman, Jo

Instructor, Kinesiology

email

301.405.2498
2316 SPH Building

Research Focus : Aging, Exercise Psychophysiology, Exercise and Genomics, Sport Psychology

Research Summary : Jo Zimmerman is an instructor in the Department of Kinesiology. She earned her undergraduate and master's degrees from George Mason University, and has held the ACSM Health Fitness Specialist certification since 1996. Jo has been working in the health and fitness industry for nearly 20 years and teaching for over 14 years. UMD courses vary by semester, but may include KNES 157N/O, KNES 161N, KNES 200, KNES 350, KNES 332, and KNES 497.