Research Team

Meet our research team! If you are interested in joining our lab or collaborating on a project, please contact Colum MacKinnon to discuss possible opportunities.

Colum MacKinnon, PhD

Principal Investigator, Movement Disorders Laboratory

Professor, Department of Neurology

Colum MacKinnon received his PhD in Physiology from the University of Toronto and did postdoctoral training in neurophysiology and movement disorders at University College London. He was a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University for 10 years and is now Associate Professor of Neurology, Fellow in the Institute of Translational Neuroscience, and the Director of the Movement Disorders Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. This laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms contributing to impaired movement control in people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. The laboratory uses motion capture, neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to examine the cortical, subcortical and spinal mechanisms contributing to movement impairment. The Movement Disorders Laboratory is part of the University of Minnesota Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. In his spare time, Colum is an avid cyclist, nordic skier and aspiring Scottish highland bagpiper.

Josh De Kam, BA, CCRP

Research Coordinator

Josh has a diverse work experience which includes research coordination, human services, and management. He earned his B.A. in Psychology at Winona State University and continued his education at the Mayo School of Health Sciences. He specialized in Research Coordination, contributing to his Certification as a Clinical Research Professional through the Society of Clinical Research Associates. Josh’s research interests include practical aspects of improving people’s lives specifically within mental health. He is passionate about his role as a coordinator focusing on recruitment and project management. Josh is a proud father of 3 and a renaissance outdoorsman.

Sommer Amundsen Huffmaster, PhD

Assistant Professor

Sommer received her B.S in dance and engineering with a mechanical emphasis from Hope College, Holland, MI in 2007 and her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS in 2013. After a post-doc in the MDL, she stayed on as a research associate. Sommer's research interests include applying engineering principles to analyze human movement (biomechanics), and looking at how treatments can modify the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Sommer needs time outdoors, so in the winter she cross-country skis, and in the summer she hikes and paddles a kayak around a bit.

Kristin Garland, MA, OTR/L

Clinical Research Coordinator

Kristin received her B.A. in Communication Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College. After completing her M.A. in Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota in 2011, she spent a year in Norway conducting research with the Norwegian Olympic Committee as part of a Fulbright grant. Kristin’s passion for promoting the health and well-being of others led to her pursuing an M.A. in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine University. In her role as an Occupational Therapist, Kristin works one-on-one with patients to promote independence and engagement in meaningful activities using evidence-based practices. Kristin is passionate about promoting research to improve and strengthen best practices across the healthcare spectrum. Kristin is currently coordinating the SPARX3 exercise study for the lab. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, spending time in nature, and being physically active.

Callen Maupin, PT, DPT

PhD Student, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Callen is a rehab science PhD student researching neuronal control of postural axial musculature. As a physical therapist, he is interested in understanding how lesions in the cerebrum and basal ganglia lead to postural instability and axial rigidity with the goal of improving rehabilitation therapies and noninvasive brain stimulation technologies. Callen is originally from Nebraska and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney before moving to Minnesota to participate in the dual DPT/PhD program at the University of Minnesota. He enjoys playing all varieties of games from spikeball, tennis, and pickleball to Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Cribbage.

Emily Lecy, BA

PhD Student, Graduate Program in Neuroscience

Emily received her B.A. in biology and Spanish from St. Olaf College in 2019. She is currently a third year PhD student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Emily is interested in motor neuroscience, with a focus on neuromodulation. In her free time, Emily enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors with her dog

Students and Volunteers

Lesley Perg, PhD

Sofia Guedes

Raina Vance

Ellie Falkner

Lab Alumni

These people used to work in our lab, they are also very cool!

Maria Linn-Evans, PhD

Current position: Technical writer at Medtronic

Destiny Weaver, BS

Current position: Clinical Study Coordinator at University of Minnesota

Lilly Flynn, BS

Amanda Grothe, BS

Jae Woo Chung, PhD

Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at University of Delaware

Rebekah Summers, PT, DPT, PhD

Current position: Research Associate at University of Minnesota

Minwoo Kim

Current position: Undergraduate student at University of Minnesota

Abby Kohut-Jackson

Current position: Undergraduate student at University of Minnesota

Devin O'Connell, BS

Current position: Kinesiology PhD student at University of Minnesota

Matthew Petrucci, PhD

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University

Chiahao Lu, PhD

Current position: Research Associate at University of Minnesota

Hans Zander, MS

Current position: PhD Student at University of Michigan

Emily Roznowski, BS

Current position: Audiology student at University of Wisconsin

Krista Keranen, BS

Current position: Design Engineer in Bioprocessing at Colder Products Company, St Paul, MN

Rebecca Hendrickson, MS

Current position: Speech/Language therapist at early education center in North St. Paul - Maplewood - Oakdale school district

Elena Cattaneo, BS

Majors: Neuroscience and Italian

Katia Rozenflanz

Current position: Undergraduate student in Bioengineering at McGill University, Montreal

Jack Harvey, BS

Val Hatchlowski, BA

Lydia Zewdie