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Reza Shadmehr, M.S., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Reza Shadmehr, M.S., Ph.D.

Co-Director, Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Program

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: How the brain controls movements

Background

Dr. Reza Shadmehr is a professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on understanding how the human brain perceives the world, how it learns and how it controls our movements. Dr. Shadmehr also serves as co-director of the Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Shadmehr received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Gonzaga University. He earned a master’s degree in biomedical engineering and a Ph.D. in computer science (robotics) from the University of Southern California. Dr. Shadmehr completed the McDonnell-Pew post-doctoral fellowship at MIT and joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1995.

He has many published works including two books, The Computational Neurobiology of Reaching and Pointing and Biological Learning and Control. Dr. Shadmehr also has two patents filed.

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Titles

  • Co-Director, Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Program
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Education

Degrees

  • B.S., Gonzaga Univ - Spokane (Washington) (1985)
  • M.S., University of Southern California (California) (1987)
  • Ph.D., University of Southern California (California) (1991)

Additional Training

  • McDonell-Pew Postdoctoral, MIT (Cambridge, MA) (1994)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

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.

Lab

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.

Lab Website: Laboratory for Computational Motor Control

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Salimpour Y, Shadmehr R. "Motor costs and the coordination of the two arms." J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 29;34(5):1806-18. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3095-13.2014.

Herzfeld DJ, Shadmehr R. "Motor variability is not noise, but grist for the learning mill." Nat Neurosci. 2014 Feb;17(2):149-50. doi: 10.1038/nn.3633. No abstract available.

Choi JE, Vaswani PA, Shadmehr R. "Vigor of movements and the cost of time in decision making." J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 22;34(4):1212-23. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2798-13.2014.

Herzfeld DJ, Shadmehr R. "Cerebellum estimates the sensory state of the body." Trends Cogn Sci. 2014 Feb;18(2):66-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.10.015.

Vaswani PA, Shadmehr R. "Decay of motor memories in the absence of error." J Neurosci. 2013 May 1;33(18):7700-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0124-13.2013.

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • Reza Shadmehr: The cerebellum and adaptive control of movements
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqHzYGpfnLc&feature=youtu.be
  • Reza Shadmehr: Impulsivity and vigor of movements
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfcwyuY9HBM&feature=youtu.be
  • Brain Night-The Cost of Time in Motor Control
    http://webcast.jhu.edu/Mediasite/Play/21c5f0d65a7440a3b5d53bbf724b8b74
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