Dagmar Sternad

   Departments of Biology, Electrical & Computer Engineering,
   and Physics

Northeastern University
134 Mugar Life Science Building

360 Huntington Avenue

Boston, MA 02115

Phone : 617.373.5093

e-mail : dagmar@neu.edu

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The central interest of research in the Action Lab is the control and coordination of goal-directed human behavior. What organizational principles are at work in movement coordination? What perceptual information is used to coordinate the complex neuromuscular structure? The theoretical framework that pervades our studies interprets the actor in the environment as a dynamical system, which is high-dimensional, nonlinear, and capable of producing coordinated and adaptive behavior. More specifically, our research agenda focuses on single- and multi- joint human movements in perceptually specified tasks. We pursue a three-pronged research strategy consisting of: (1) an empirical component with behavioral experiments on human subjects, (2) theoretical work which develops mathematical models for movement generation on the basis of coupled dynamical systems, and (3) brain imaging studies that investigate the cerebral activity accompanying movement. More recently, we have extended these experimental paradigms to neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and split-brain patients, and the elderly.




Selected Recent Publications:

  1. Park, S., Dijkstra, T.M.H., & Sternad, D. (2013). Learning to never forget - time scales and specificity of long-term memory of a motor skill. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 7:111, doi: 10.3389/fncom.2013.00111.

  2. Sternad,D., Abe, M.O., Hu, X., & Muller, H. (2011). Neuromotor noise, error tolerance and velocity- dependent costs in skilled performance. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(9), e1002159. 

  3. Sternad, D., Park, S., Muller, H., & Hogan, N. (2010). Coordinate dependence of variability analysis. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(4), e1000751. 

  4. Ronsse, R., Wei, K., & Sternad, D. (2010). Optimal control of a hybrid rhythmic-discrete task: the bouncing ball revised. Journal of Neurophysiology, 103, 2482-2493. 

  5. Raftery, A. Cusumano, J., & Sternad, D. (2008). Chaotic frequency scaling in a coupled oscillator model for free rhythmic actions. Neural Computation, 20, 205-226. 

  6. Wei, K., Dijkstra, T. M. H., & Sternad, D. (2007). Passive stability and active control in a rhythmic task. Journal of Neurophysiology, 98, 5, 2633-2646. 

  7. Schaal S., Sternad D., Osu R. & Kawato M. (2004). Rhythmic arm movements are not discrete. 
    Nature Neuroscience 7,10, 1136-1143.