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Gabriela Lucila Cantarero, Ph.D.

Headshot of Gabriela Lucila Cantarero
  • Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Electrodiagnostic Medicine (EMG), Movement Disorders, Neurologic Rehabilitation, Stroke Rehabilitation, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) more

Research Interests

Motor control; Motor learning and retention; Traumatic brain injury; Brain machine interface more


Dr. Cantarero is a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She also co-directs the noninvasive brain stimulation program that pairs different forms of brain stimulation techniques with rehabilitation to treat a variety of neurological conditions and movement disorders. 

Dr. Cantarero's current work focuses on athletes who have sustained repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries. She uses techniques such as motion tracking, EMG analysis and noninvasive brain stimulation. 

She also serves as a co-mentor for a postdoctoral research fellow studying neuroimaging and neuromodulation in pediatric acquired brain injury. In this role, Dr. Cantarero oversees the neuromodulation aspect of the research project and aids in understanding of the use and application of noninvasive brain stimulation in rehabilitation. more


  • Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Departments / Divisions



  • Ph.D.; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (2013)
  • B.S.; Northwestern University (Illinois) (2006)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Cantarero's research aims to (a) understand the mechanisms of human motor learning in both healthy individuals and those that suffer from damage to the central nervous system, and (b) learn how to optimize motor learning and recovery. She studies neurophysiological mechanisms and neuroplasticity of motor learning and motor learning deficits in repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries.


The Human Brain Physiology and Stimulation Lab is focused on studying the mechanisms underlying motor learning and developing interventions to modulate motor function in humans. The aim is to understand how the central nervous system controls and learns to perform motor actions in healthy individuals and in patients with neurological diseases such as stroke. Using this knowledge, the ultimate goal is to develop strategies to enhance motor function in neurological patients.

Lab Website: Human Brain Physiology and Stimulation Laboratory

Technology Expertise Keywords

Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Transcranial direct current stimulation; Electromyography; Kinematic analyses

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Cantarero G, Spampinato D, Reis J, Ajagbe L, Thompson T, Kulkarni K, Celnik P. Cerebellar direct current stimulation enhances on-line motor skill acquisition through an effect on accuracy. J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 18;35(7):3285-90. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2885-14.2015. PMID: 25698763 

Yau JM, Jalinous R, Cantarero GL, Desmond JE. Static field influences on transcranial magnetic stimulation: considerations for TMS in the scanner environment. Brain Stimul. 2014 May-Jun;7(3):388-93. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Feb 20. PMID: 24656916

Salas RE, Galea JM, Gamaldo AA, Gamaldo CE, Allen RP, Smith MT, Cantarero G, Lam BD, Celnik PA. Increased use-dependent plasticity in chronic insomnia. Sleep. 2014 Mar 1;37(3):535-44. doi: 10.5665/sleep.3492. PMID: 24587576

Cantarero G, Lloyd A, Celnik P. Reversal of long-term potentiation-like plasticity processes after motor learning disrupts skill retention. J Neurosci. 2013 Jul 31;33(31):12862-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1399-13.2013. PMID: 23904621

Cantarero G, Tang B, O'Malley R, Salas R, Celnik P. Motor learning interference is proportional to occlusion of LTP-like plasticity. J Neurosci. 2013 Mar 13;33(11):4634-41. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4706-12.2013. PMID: 23486938

Activities & Honors


  • Military Operational Medicine Research Program (MOMRP) Grant
  • Neural Control of Movement Scholarship Program, 2011
  • William and Mary Rescher Award, 2008
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), 2008


  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society for the Neural Control of Movement

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Man With Quadriplegia Controls Prosthetic Arms With His Mind | Medscape (December 2020)

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