Human Sensorimotor Laboratory

“The Human Sensorimotor Laboratory observes how the brain controls body movement and how these mechanisms change following injury, specifically stroke. Using neuroimaging techniques, we are able to study select areas of the brain that exhibit different behaviors in order to better understand the role of the brain in motor control. This research will assist individuals post-stroke recover the ability to use their limbs and ultimately improve their quality of life.”
Dr. Sean Meehan, Director and Assistant Professor of Movement Science

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Interested in joining the lab? Research opportunities are available for PhD, Master's and undergraduate students.

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Human Sensorimotor Laboratory

Contact

Address: 
CCRB 1250
401 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214
(734) 763-2790
(734) 936-1925

Director

Projects

Motor learning in the rehabilitation of stroke

Recovery of movement ability post-stroke relies upon the ability to “re-learn” previous skills.

In this National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded project we are investigating how different brain systems involved with learning interact to determine the extent of recovery post-stroke. Further we are assessing the effectiveness of a novel brain stimulation protocol, called transcranial magnetic stimulation, as an addition to stroke rehabilitation.

This project is an important step towards a higher quality of life post-stroke by enhancing functional independence.

For more information on our study or to get involved out our research please contact us at StrokeTMS@umich.edu.

Brain markers and brain plasticity post-strok

The ability to learn new or re-learn old skills following brain injury depends upon the brain’s ability to change itself, called “neural plasticity”. Non-invasive brain stimulation added to therapist guided rehabilitation is viewed as a promising way to increase plasticity. However, results have been mixed as some individuals demonstrate great responses while in other individuals the response is muted.

In this study we are investigating potential markers in stroke patients to enhance the benefits of non-invasive brain stimulation paired with traditional rehabilitation approaches. In particular, we are assessing the role of certain brain measures in determining individual outcomes. 

For more information on our study or to get involved out our research please contact us at hsl.kines@umich.edu

Cognition and motor cortex function across the lifespan

In a series of studies we are using transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate how the explicit strategies we employ during a movement shape the activity of motor cortex.

Skilled performance and learning depends upon the development of optimal strategies as well as movement forces and joint angles to undertake our desired strategies. Despite an abundance of behavioral we have very little understanding of how our strategies directly influence the motor cortex (where forces and joint angles are determined).

In particular, we are focusing upon how the allocation of attention and working memory shape the excitability and potential for motor cortex to re-organize. This work will provide models of brain function to explain behavioral phenomena like attention focus, “choking” and general motor decline with age.

For more information on our study or to get involved out our research please contact us at hsl.kines@umich.edu

Attention, Learning & Neuroplasticity

Learning new skills is associated with changes in neurophysiology. However, what we learn, how quickly we learn and how long we retain what we learn can all be impacted by what we are focused upon during practice. The purpose of this project is two fold: 1) to investigate how different cognitive factors such as attention and working memory influence our behavior during and following practice and 2) to investigate changes in neurophysiology when attention and working memory are focused upon different things during practice.