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. 


Action Lab News

  • Meghan Huber spends a six-month-long research internship at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany, starting July 2014

  • Dagmar spends six months of her sabbatical leave at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany, starting June 2014

  • Dagmar received the 50th annual Robert D. Klein University Lecturer Award and gave a public lecture, 
"The wonder of human movement: How the brain controls the body." April 8, 2014.
  • Dena Guo and Julia Cowenhoven received a Provost Research Award for their undergraduate research in the Action Lab, Spring 2014.

  • Meghan Huber won the Best Student Poster Award for her research on “Development of a low-cost, adaptive, clinician-friendly virtual rehabilitation system”. Presented at the International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, Philadelphia, PA, August 26-29

  • Se-Woong Park successfully defended his PhD dissertation on “Acquisition and retention of asymmetric bimanual skills: Behavioral correlates of neuroplasticity”, September 4, 2013

  • Julia Ebert received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most competitive national awards for undergraduate students, September 2013

  • Se-Woong Park was placed as the first runner-up at the Northeastern University Annual Graduate Research Exhibition, RISE, and received an "honorable mention" at Biology Graduate Colloquium 2014