About – Progress in Clinical Motor Control I: Neurorehabilitation

Pond in the arboretum at Penn State

The field of neurorehabilitation includes contributions from scientists in basic science, engineering science, and clinical science, and this forum brings together top scholars from all three areas. Historically, it is common for scientists from each of these domains to share ideas with one another at domain-specific conferences, such as the Society for Neuroscience, the American Society for Neurorehabilitation, and the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. While some of these scientists may occasionally cross-over to another domain, it is rare for one conference to bring together all three domains. The first conference on Progress in Clinical Motor Control achieves this goal by integrating cutting edge findings across each domain and promote discussion and debate about how best to integrate this information into clinical neurorehabilitation.

The clinical domain is comprised of practitioners and scientist physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and neuropsychologists. The basic science domain is comprised of scholars in neuroscience, biomechanics, and psychology focused on understanding basic mechanisms of cognition and motor control that are impacted by central nervous system lesions. The engineering domain includes biomedical and mechanical engineers focused on developing human-brain-machine interfaces and devices to promote recovery in neurorehabilitation. Such devices and interfaces are rapidly impacting both clinical rehabilitation and rehabilitation science. Never has a single conference brought together such a distinguished group of top scientists in these three areas of neurorehabilitation related science and technology. The First conference on Progress in Clinical Motor Control: Neurorehabilitation focuses on the challenges of applying basic, clinical, and engineering approaches to improving the current and future potential for neurorehabilitation.

Tribute to Claude Ghez, MD

This conference will also feature a tribute to one of the most influential contemporary scientists in the Neurobiology of Motor Control, CLAUDE P.J. GHEZ, M.D. Over many decades, Dr. Ghez’s research has investigated the control of movements in animals and humans with specific neurological lesions. His laboratory continues to investigate the sensory mechanisms involved in the learning and control of movements in typical human subjects and patients with specific neurological disturbances. His current research is informed by his earlier findings that (1) even simple reaching movements involve separate control actions responsible for trajectory formation and stabilized final positions; and (2) that visual and proprioceptive sensory signals play different roles in ongoing feedback control and motor learning. Their current research focuses on two areas. (1) How interactions of motor and sensory impairments in hemiparesis due to stroke produce specific impairments in the learning and control of trajectory and stabilization of limb position. (2) The use of simple sonic information as well as musical material as a framework for encoding the rich multidimensional information constituting posture and movement to develop an ‘auditory kinesthesia’ training paradigm. Claude is well-known for his insightful and clever psychophysical paradigms that have helped to unravel the processes underlying motor control and learning. He has contributed to the development of many scientific careers in both basic and clinical science. We will have the chance to thank him for his excellent mentorship at an optional dinner-tribute held during the conference.

Organizing Committee

Chair: Robert L. Sainburg, PhD OTR
Professor of Kinesiology and Neurology, Director of Center of Movement Science and Technology, Penn State University

Julius P. Dewald, PhD, PT
Chair, Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Northwestern University

Mindy F. Levin, PhD, PT
Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University

Robert A. Scheidt, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Director Neuromotor Control Laboratory, Marquette University

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