Amy J. Bastian, Ph.D.

Headshot of Amy J. Bastian
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Research Interests

Childhood motor development; Damage to the central nervous system; Motor learning defects; Cerebellar motor disorders; Stroke more


Dr. Amy Bastian is a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is a neuroscientist and physical therapist who studies the neural control of human movement. She has a special interest in stroke, cerebellar motor disorders and childhood motor development. Dr. Bastian is director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

Her team is currently studying how new movements are "learned," and investigating the course of movement recovery following different types of brain damage.

Dr. Bastian received her undergraduate degree in physical therapy at the University of Oklahoma. She earned her Ph.D. in movement science at Washington University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Washington University. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Bastian was an assistant professor in physical therapy in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the Washington University School of Medicine.

She serves on the Leadership Program for Women Faculty for the Office of Women in Science and Medicine and is part of the research team at the Johns Hopkins Ataxia Center. more


  • Professor of Neuroscience
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • B.S.; University of Oklahoma (Oklahoma) (1990)
  • Ph.D.; Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri) (1995)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Bastian's research focuses on the mechanisms of human movement disorders. Movement disorders commonly occur following neurological damage. Her laboratory studies the movements of adults and children who have damage or disease of the central nervous system. She and her team are interested in understanding the mechanisms of different types of movement disorders, as well as how and why different treatments improve movement. They are actively studying how new movements are "learned" and what the course of movement recovery following different types brain damage is.

Much of their work has focused on understanding how damage to the cerebellum causes movement incoordination or "ataxia." Their research suggests that one important role of the cerebellum is to adjust the motor output controlling a given part of the body to compensate for mechanical effects caused by movement of other body parts (interaction torques). Dr. Bastian's current studies of people with cerebellar damage are aimed at understanding the mechanisms of walking ataxia and motor learning deficits, and are beginning studies of impairments in motor "prediction." They are also studying locomotor disorders in people with stroke, as well as visuomotor control and learning in children with autism.


Dr. Bastian's lab interacts with neurologists, physical therapists, biomedical engineers and neuroscientists. Her team employs several techniques to quantify movement, including: 3-dimensional tracking and reconstruction of movement kinematics; recordings of muscle activity; force plate recordings; and calculation of joint forces and torques.

They also use novel devices to test learning, including a split-belt treadmill and simple computer generated virtual environments. These techniques allow them to make very precise measurements of many different types of movements, including walking, reaching, leg movements, hand movements and standing balance. This also makes it possible to detect very small changes in movement performance over time or with treatment.

Lab Website: Motion Analysis Lab

Selected Publications

Jayaram G, Tang B, Pallegadda R, Vasudevan EV, Celnik P, Bastian A. "Modulating locomotor adaptation with cerebellar stimulation." J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jun;107(11):2950-7. doi: 10.1152/jn.00645.2011. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Bhanpuri NH, Okamura AM, Bastian AJ. "Active force perception depends on cerebellar function." J Neurophysiol. 2012 Mar;107(6):1612-20. doi: 10.1152/jn.00983.2011. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Torres-Oviedo G, Bastian AJ. "Natural error patterns enable transfer of motor learning to novel contexts." J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jan;107(1):346-56. doi: 10.1152/jn.00570.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Malone LA, Vasudevan EV, Bastian AJ. "Motor adaptation training for faster relearning." J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):15136-43. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1367-11.2011.

Bastian AJ. "Moving, sensing and learning with cerebellar damage." Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011 Aug;21(4):596-601. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2011.06.007. Epub 2011 Jul 5. Review.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Neuroscience Graduate Program

Activities & Honors

Professional Activities

  • Leadership Program for Women Faculty, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Writing Study Ties Autism To Motor-Skill Problems, NPR, November 11, 2009

Patient Ratings & Comments

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