Carolynn Patten

All movements –as simple as blinking one’s eyes to as complex as signing one’s name and walking—involve the production and control of muscular force by the nervous system. While biomechanical demands vary across motor tasks, the nervous system responds to regulate force production in a task dependent manner. Dr. Patten’s research focuses on understanding these neural mechanisms of force production; how they are affected by aging and neurological disorders such as stroke, spinal cord injury or Parkinson’s Disease; how the nervous system adapts –to intrinsic physiological conditions (aging, neurologic conditions), acute challenges or training paradigms (i.e., practice, motor learning or rehabilitation) with the overriding goal of understanding the capacity for motor recovery in adults following central nervous system damage. Because this is a broad, multi-factorial problem affecting over 5.2 million persons in the U.S. annually, this line of inquiry holds significant potential to impact the efficacy and efficiency of neurorehabilitation. Her translational neuroscience research program uses a combination of techniques including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), neurophysiological methods (EMG, motor unit recordings, reflex probes), neuroimaging and human performance to perform studies in humans. As a result, her research crosses disciplines including motor control, physiology, biomechanics, clinical medicine, and bioengineering.

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