The major goal of the studies performed in the lab is to explore and understand characteristics of motor behavior in individuals with lesion or disease of the central nervous system and to develop strategies that will improve motor outcomes. Under this framework studies are focused in motor learning and in recovery following a stroke. Mechanisms that modulate the activity of areas within the motor network, and the interaction between motor, sensory and limbic systems are studied using behavioral (motor performance) as well as physiological (such as functional MRI, EMG and metabolic measurements) measures.

Previous projects

  • Characterization of changes in brain structures and functionality following ischemic stroke by functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging.
  • High-level gait disorder: associations with specific white matter changes observed on advanced diffusion imaging.
  • The effect of electrical sensory stimulation on grip strength in young able-bodied individuals.
  • The effect of motor imagery combines with goal-relevant and positive emotional cues on gait of individuals post-stroke.
  • The exercise responses of individual post-stroke to video gaming and typical motor activities. (This study was funded by a grant from the American Heart Association)

Current projects

  • Emotional context of motor imagery of walking and its association with the quality of the imagery.
  • The effect of interval between practice sessions on the learning of a new viso-motor task.
  • Performance in complex life situations by the elderly: Effect of changes in cognitive, locomotor and metabolic processes.
  • The effect of motor and -frontal cortical activation on experimental pain perception: a translational study from laboratory setup to "real-life" approach.
  • Development of a practical model for the integration of motor learning principles in physical therapy.