Movement Disorders Laboratory

University of Minnesota, Department of Neurology

Our Mission

The mission of the Movement Disorders Laboratory is to gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms causing movement problems in people with neurological disorders and to translate this knowledge to the development of novel therapies and interventions to improve movement function, mobility, and quality of life.

The Movement Disorders Laboratory uses a variety of non-invasive neurophysiological techniques (high-resolution EEG, TMS, tDCS, startle) to probe the cortical, subcortical, and spinal mechanisms contributing to movement impairment. In collaboration with colleagues at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), we also use brain imaging methods to examine the changes in brain anatomy and connectivity associated with movement disorders. These methods are combined with quantitative measures of movement (3D-kinematics, kinetics and multi-channel electromyography) that provide an objective quantitative assessment of movement performance.

Our present research focus is to examine the mechanisms contributing to the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. We are able to quantify impairments in steady-state gait, gait initiation, rigidity, bradykinesia, tremor, repetitive movements, and speech. The laboratory is currently examining the relationship between postural instability, freezing of gait, and sleep disorders in people with Parkinson's disease (funded by NIH grant RO1 NS088679) and the mechanisms and pathways mediating the improvement or worsening of motor function with deep brain stimulation of the globus pallidus (NIH Udall P50 NS098573) or subthalamic nucleus (NIH RO1 NS085188, PI Noam Harel). We are also developing novel methods to examine and test the function of descending brainstem pathways in the control of posture, balance and gait (Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Fund) and working with industry to develop mobile devices to monitor, assess and provide movement cues to facilitate gait in people with Parkinson's disease (NIH SBIR R43, AG057263). The laboratory is part of the UMN Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Research to advance the basic understanding and therapeutic efficacy of deep brain stimulation technology.

If you are interested in getting involved with research at the University, please see our Volunteer for Research page for more information.

Our Location

Our research lab is located on the 5th floor of the 717 Delaware Building at the University of Minnesota. Parking is available for participants on the north side of the building.