Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience
Dr. Shadmehr’s research seeks to understand movement control in humans. His approach stresses a close integration of the viewpoints from robotics and control theory with neuroscience to provide a unique perspective on the nature of the biological computations that underlie the control of movements. His ultimate goal is to use the language of mathematics to describe how the various parts of the brain contribute to control of movement in humans.
The Shadmehr Lab (Laboratory for Computational Motor Control) uses mathematics, robotics and brain imaging to precisely quantify the function of the cerebellum during voluntary movements. The lab has developed specialized equipment to examine movements of the arm and the eyes. The aim of the work is to not only better understand the basic function of the cerebellum, but to help cerebellar patients recover some of the lost function through focused training of the remaining, healthy portions of the brain.
Their work focuses on understanding how the human brain perceives the world, how it learns and how it controls our movements. They study actions of healthy people, as well as people with neurological disorders and look for regularities and use mathematics to ask about the origins of these regularities. Their approach is non-invasive, aiming to never harm and the tools used include robotics, brain stimulation and neuroimaging.
The Shadmehr Lab approach stresses a close integration of viewpoints from robotics and control theory with neuroscience. They are driven to understand the nature of the biological computations that underlie the control of movements and couple this effort with brain imaging studies and the study of motor disorders in patient populations in order to discover the functional anatomy of the control system and the cause of neurological motor disorders.