Motor control is concerned with issues of control and coordination of such fundamental motor activities as posture, locomotion, multi-joint reaching movement, and prehension.
Specific themes of research currently include: The neural mechanisms underlying coordination and control of movements in young healthy individuals, the role of biomechanical factors for motor control, changes in motor control throughout the lifespan, the contributions and integration of specific sensory modalities in motor control and coordination, and mechanisms of motor dysfunction and recovery following neurological disease and stroke. These research programs emphasize both basic and applied elements within the area of production of voluntary movements.
This program allows considerable flexibility in designing the course of study. Students may enroll in any courses offered in the department as well as in independent study courses designed to promote research involvement in a topic of their particular interest. Graduate students are involved in research under the direction of a faculty member of the Motor Control area. Collaborative research and educational arrangements are also available with a wide range of faculty in other departments of the University. Graduate studies in Motor Control at Penn State have gained national and international recognition through the research and other professional activities of the faculty.
The faculty in the Motor Control area have well-equipped laboratories to conduct their particular lines of research. These include systems for recording the kinematics of human movement, reaction forces during postural and movement tasks, electrophysiological setups for recording electromyographic and electroencephalographic signals, virtual reality systems, robotic systems for applying forces and force fields during motor adaptation and learning, and a variety of other custom instruments for studying movement control, posture, reactions to perturbations, and motor dysfunction and recovery following neurological diseases and stroke. Some faculty have laboratory facilities on both the University Park campus and the Hershey Medical Campus, in order to address clinical conditions.
Learn more about the faculty members who mentor Motor Control graduate students at Penn State:
- Mark L. Latash, Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology
- Robert Sainburg, Professor of Kinesiology and Neurology
Additional faculty who have an interest in this area:
- William E. Buckley, Professor of Exercise and Sport Science and Health Education
- Jonathan B. Dingwell, Professor of Kinesiology
- Robert B. Eckhardt, Professor of Developmental Genetics and Evolutionary Morphology
- Stephen J. Piazza, Professor of Kinesiology
- Semyon M. Slobounov, Professor of Kinesiology