Dagmar Sternad

Professor of Biology, Electrical & Computer Engineering Email: d.sternad@neu.edu Phone: 617.373.5093


Ph.D., University of Connecticut
M.S., University of Connecticut
B.Sc., Technical University of Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany

Area(s) of Expertise

Motor Control and Neuroscience

Research Interests

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 when generating functional perceptually guided movements? 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, Prof. Sternad’s research agenda focuses on single- and multi- joint human movements in perceptually specified tasks. Her lab pursues 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, Prof. Sternad’s lab has extended these experimental paradigms to neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and the elderly.

Lab Website

Curriculum Vitae




503 Richards Hall

Honors student named Goldwater Scholar

Julia Ebert, a third-​​year behav­ioral neu­ro­science major, has been awarded a pres­ti­gious Barry M. Gold­water Schol­ar­ship.

The Risk of Carrying a Cup of Coffee

Object manipulation or tool use is almost a uniquely human trait, said Dagmar Sternad, director of Northeastern’s Action Lab, a research group interested in movement coordination. “Not only does it require certain cognitive abilities but also distinct motor abilities.” Simply moving