Dr. Susan Brown is an associate professor of Movement Science and director of the Motor Control Laboratory at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. Prior to her time at U-M, Dr. Brown was a research associate at the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. She completed her PhD in Physiology there, as well.
Dr. Brown studies motor coordination across the lifespan and in neurological disorder conditions, such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease. She has a particular interest in linking theoretical motor control approaches and clinical research in the area of neurological rehabilitation. Dr. Brown directs an active research laboratory that provides research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. Based on research demonstrating that Parkinson's patients could improve their walking ability if visual or auditory cues accompanied their movement, Dr. Brown is examining whether sensory cueing may facilitate upper limb performance and postural control in older individuals and people with Parkinson's disease. She collaborates with Dr. Edward Hurvitz in U-M's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to assess the effectiveness of intensive training on upper limb performance in children with spasticity. Besides evaluating different therapeutic strategies, these studies will provide rehabilitation specialists with much needed quantitative assessment methods currently unavailable in clinical settings. Dr. Brown's research interests also include age-related changes in hand function and force control. More recently she has initiated a collaborative project with Dr. Daniel Monyeki, University of the North (South Africa) where they are examining the effects of malnutrition on motor coordination in children and adolescents.
Dr. Brown's research projects have received $12 million in grant funding from organizations like the National Parkinson Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association. She is also a grant reviewer at Blue Cross Blue Shield and a committee member of the International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies. An established expert in motor control and coordination, Dr. Brown has been invited to numerous conferences and symposiums to talk about her work. Her memberships include those in the Society for Neuroscience, the International Movement Disorders Society, and the Gerontological Society in America.
Dr. Brown has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Experimental Brain Research, the Journal of Neurophysiology, and the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. She has also been on the editorial board of the Motor Control Journal.
Since coming to U-M in 1992, Dr. Brown has taught numerous courses in Movement Science at the undergraduate and graduate level. A popular instructor, she received the School of Kinesiology's Excellence in Teaching Award multiple times, and was twice nominated for the university-wide Golden Apple Award. In 2001 the U-M Office of the Provost honored her with a Thurnau Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Areas of Interest
Motor coordination and rehabilitation in aging, stroke, and cerebral palsy populations.