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Pablo Ariel Celnik, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Pablo Ariel Celnik, M.D.

Director, Center of Excellence in Stroke Treatment, Recovery and Rehabilitation

Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


Languages: English, Spanish

Expertise: Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Neurologic Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Stroke, Stroke Rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injury

Research Interests: Interventions to enhance motor recovery after stroke.; Neurophysiology and modulation of human motor learning.

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Appointment Phone: 443-997-5476

600 N. Wolfe Street
Meyer Building 1-163
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 443-923-2721
Fax: 443-923-2715

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Appointment Phone: 410-502-2272

4940 Eastern Avenue
AA Suite 1654
Baltimore, MD 21224 map
Phone: 410-550-5299
Fax: 410-550-1345


Dr. Pablo Celnik is director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and physiatrist-in-chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He serves as vice chair for research in the PM&R department, medical director of the outpatient neurorehabilitation program, and director of the Human Brain Physiology and Stimulation Laboratory. He is internationally-recognized for his expertise and research in neurologic rehabilitation, particularly with stroke and traumatic brain injury.

A native of Argentina, Dr. Celnik received his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in neurology in Argentina and a fellowship in neurological rehabilitation at the University of Maryland. He also earned two research fellowships in the lab of Dr. Mark Hallett, first, and Dr. Leonardo G. Cohen later on, both at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the year 2000, he entered the PM&R residency program at Johns Hopkins, where he was ultimately appointed chief resident. Since 2003, he has been part of the Johns Hopkins faculty in the PM&R, neurology and neuroscience departments.

Dr. Celnik has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. more


  • Director, Center of Excellence in Stroke Treatment, Recovery and Rehabilitation
  • Director, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Physiatrist-in-chief, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Lawrence Cardinal Shehan Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Vice Chair for Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Medical Director, Outpatient Neurorehabilitation Program
  • Director, Human Brain Physiology and Stimulation Laboratory
  • Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Centers & Institutes



  • MD, Universidad de Buenos Aires (1990)


  • Hospital Frances / Neurology (1994)
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2003)


  • Kernan Hospital (1996)
  • NIH - HCPS - NINDS / Volunteer (1996)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehab / Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (2004)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Celnik's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying motor learning and motor recovery after brain lesions, and on developing new strategies to enhance motor recovery after stroke.

The aim of his research to use this knowledge to develop and test new interventions to enhance motor function in healthy individuals and in patients with neurological damage. In this area, has published more than 60 manuscripts in highly regarded journals and books.

Dr. Celnik’s research has formed the foundational knowledge for the application of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, like transcranial magnetic and electric stimulation, to understand recovery after brain lesions, augment motor learning and design novel rehabilitation training interventions.

For his research, he was awarded the 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and other awards.


The Human Brain Physiology and Stimulation Laboratory is focused on studying the mechanisms underlying motor learning and developing interventions to modulate motor function in humans. The aim is to understand how does the central nervous system control and learn 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.

To accomplish these interests, we use different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), as well as functional MRI and behavioral tasks.

Lab Website: Human Brain Physiology and Stimulation Laboratory

Clinical Trials

Theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation and motor learning

Effects of excitation and inhibition of the temporo-parietal cortex via tDCS on reading performance in children with dyslexia

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

  1. Humbert IA, Christopherson H, Lokhande A, German R, Gonzalez-Fernandez M, Celnik P. "Human hyolaryngeal movements show adaptive motor learning during swallowing." Dysphagia. 2013 Jun;28(2):139-45. doi: 10.1007/s00455-012-9422-0. Epub 2012 Aug 29.
  2. Schlerf JE, Galea JM, Bastian AJ, Celnik PA. "Dynamic modulation of cerebellar excitability for abrupt, but not gradual, visuomotor adaptation." J Neurosci. 2012 Aug 22;32(34):11610-7. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1609-12.2012.
  3. 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.
  4. Hoyer EH, Celnik PA. "Understanding and enhancing motor recovery after stroke using transcranial magnetic stimulation." Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2011;29(6):395-409. doi: 10.3233/RNN-2011-0611.
  5. Cantarero G, Galea JM, Ajagbe L, Salas R, Willis J, Celnik P. "Disrupting the ventral premotor cortex interferes with the contribution of action observation to use-dependent plasticity." J Cogn Neurosci. 2011 Dec;23(12):3757-66. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00051. Epub 2011 May 12.
  6. Dissociating the Roles of the Cerebellum and Motor Cortex during Adaptive Learning: The Motor Cortex Retains What the Cerebellum Learns. Galea JM, Vazquez A, Pasricha N, Orban de Xivry JJ, Celnik P. Cereb Cortex. 2010 Dec 9. [Epub ahead of print]
  7. Reconnecting the dots after stroke. Celnik P, Hillis AE. Ann Neurol. 2009 Nov;66(5):570-1.
  8. Modulation of cerebellar excitability by polarity-specific noninvasive direct current stimulation. Galea JM, Jayaram G, Ajagbe L, Celnik P. J Neurosci. 2009 Jul 15;29(28):9115-22.
  9. Brain polarization enhances the formation and retention of motor memories. Galea JM, Celnik P. J Neurophysiol. 2009 Jul;102(1):294-301. Epub 2009 Apr 22.
  10. Effects of combined peripheral nerve stimulation and brain polarization on performance of a motor sequence task after chronic stroke. Celnik P, Paik NJ, Vandermeeren Y, Dimyan M, Cohen LG. Stroke. 2009 May;40(5):1764-71. Epub 2009 Mar 12.
  11. Facilitating skilled right hand motor function in older subjects by anodal polarization over the left primary motor cortex. Hummel FC, Heise K, Celnik P, Floel A, Gerloff C, Cohen LG. Neurobiol Aging. 2009 Feb 5. [Epub ahead of print]
  12. Return of memory and sleep efficiency following moderate to severe closed head injury. Makley MJ, Johnson-Greene L, Tarwater PM, Kreuz AJ, Spiro J, Rao V, Celnik PA. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009 May;23(4):320-6. Epub 2009 Jan 26.
  13. Noninvasive cortical stimulation enhances motor skill acquisition over multiple days through an effect on consolidation. Reis J, Schambra HM, Cohen LG, Buch ER, Fritsch B, Zarahn E, Celnik PA*, Krakauer JW. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 3;106(5):1590-5. Epub 2009 Jan 21. Note that Celnik shared the senior author role.
  14. Consensus: "Can tDCS and TMS enhance motor learning and memory formation?" Reis J, Robertson E, Krakauer JW, Rothwell J, Marshall L, Gerloff C, Wassermann E, Pascual-Leone A, Hummel F, Celnik PA, Classen J, Floel A, Ziemann U, Paulus W, Siebner HR, Born J, Cohen LG. Brain Stimulat. 2008 Oct;1(4):363-369.
  15. Prevalence of sleep disturbance in closed head injury patients in a rehabilitation unit. Makley MJ, English JB, Drubach DA, Kreuz AJ, Celnik PA, Tarwater PM. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2008 Jul-Aug;22(4):341-7.
  16. Effects of action observation on physical training after stroke. Celnik P, Webster B, Glasser DM, Cohen LG. Stroke. 2008 Jun;39(6):1814-20. Epub 2008 Apr 10.
  17. Concurrent action observation modulates practice-induced motor memory formation. Stefan K, Classen J, Celnik P, Cohen LG. Eur J Neurosci. 2008 Feb;27(3):730-8.
  18. Somatosensory stimulation enhances the effects of training functional hand tasks in patients with chronic stroke. Celnik P, Hummel F, Harris-Love M, Wolk R, Cohen LG. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Nov;88(11):1369-76.
  19. Intermanual Differences in movement-related interhemispheric inhibition. Duque J, Murase N, Celnik P, Hummel F, Harris-Love M, Mazzocchio R, Olivier E, Cohen LG.J Cogn Neurosci. 2007 Feb;19(2):204-13.
  20. Effects of brain polarization on reaction times and pinch force in chronic stroke. Hummel FC, Voller B, Celnik P, Floel A, Giraux P, Gerloff C, Cohen LG. BMC Neurosci. 2006 Nov 3;7:73.
  21. 16: Noninvasive brain stimulation in stroke rehabilitation. Webster BR, Celnik PA, Cohen LG. NeuroRx. 2006 Oct;3(4):474-81. Review.
  22. 17: Formation of a motor memory by action observation. Stefan K, Cohen LG, Duque J, Mazzocchio R, Celnik P, Sawaki L, Ungerleider L, Classen J. J Neurosci. 2005 Oct 12;25(41):9339-46.
  23. Encoding a motor memory in the older adult by action observation. Celnik P, Stefan K, Hummel F, Duque J, Classen J, Cohen LG. Neuroimage. 2006 Jan 15;29(2):677-84. Epub 2005 Aug 24.
  24. 19: Transcallosal inhibition in chronic subcortical stroke. Duque J, Hummel F, Celnik P, Murase N, Mazzocchio R, Cohen LG. Neuroimage. 2005 Dec;28(4):940-6. Epub 2005 Aug 9.
  25. Dopaminergic influences on formation of a motor memory. Flel A, Breitenstein C, Hummel F, Celnik P, Gingert C, Sawaki L, Knecht S, Cohen LG. Ann Neurol. 2005 Jul;58(1):121-30.
  26. Effects of non-invasive cortical stimulation on skilled motor function in chronic stroke. Hummel F, Celnik P, Giraux P, Floel A, Wu WH, Gerloff C, Cohen LG. Brain. 2005 Mar;128(Pt 3):490-9. Epub 2005 Jan 5.
  27. Modulation of motor function and cortical plasticity in health and disease. Celnik PA, Cohen LG. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2004;22(3-5):261-8. Review.
  28. Motor cortex excitability in patients with cerebellar degeneration. Liepert J, Hallett M, Samii A, Oddo D, Celnik P, Cohen LG, Wassermann EM. Clin Neurophysiol. 2000 Jul;111(7):1157-64.
  29. Cutaneomotor integration in humans is somatotopically organized at various levels of the nervous system and is task dependent. Classen J, Steinfelder B, Liepert J, Stefan K, Celnik P, Cohen LG, Hess A, Kunesch E, Chen R, Benecke R, Hallett M. Exp Brain Res. 2000 Jan;130(1):48-59.
  30. Period of susceptibility for cross-modal plasticity in the blind. Cohen LG, Weeks RA, Sadato N, Celnik P, Ishii K, Hallett M. Ann Neurol. 1999 Apr;45(4):451-60.
  31. Functional relevance of cross-modal plasticity in blind humans. Cohen LG, Celnik P, Pascual-Leone A, Corwell B, Falz L, Dambrosia J, Honda M, Sadato N, Gerloff C, Catal MD, Hallett M. Nature. 1997 Sep 11;389(6647):180-3.
  32. Depression of motor cortex excitability by low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation. Chen R, Classen J, Gerloff C, Celnik P, Wassermann EM, Hallett M, Cohen LG. Neurology. 1997 May;48(5):1398-403.
  33. Syncope and seizure-like activity secondary to acute herpes zoster infection of the trigeminal nerve. Bonamico L, Celnik P. Cephalalgia. 1995 Jun;15(3):241-2.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Neuroscience Graduate Program

Courses and Syllabi

  • Chronic Disease Prevention
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Non-invasive methodologies to study the cerebellum
    Johns Hopkins Neuroscience Undergraduate Program
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
    Stroke Neurology Fellowship Didactic Series, Johns Hopkins

Activities & Honors


  • Carolyn Braddom Ritzier Research Award, Association of Academic Physiatrists
  • ASNR Outstanding Neurorehabilitation Clinician Scientist Award, 2010
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2009
  • Young Academician Award, Association of Academic Physiatrists, 2007
  • Program for Academic Leadership, Association of Academic Physiatrists
  • Best Paper Presentation Award, American Society of Neurorehabilitation, 2006
  • Clinician Scientist Award, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2006
  • Dennis W. Jahnigen Career Development Scholars Awards, American Geriatric Society, 2006
  • Women’s Board Of The Johns Hopkins Hospital Grant, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2006
  • Best Paper Presentation Award, Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting, 2005
  • Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program (RMSTP), Association of Academic Physiatrists, 2003
  • ERF New Investigator Award, Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2003
  • Fellows Award for Research Excellence, National Institute of Health, 1997


  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Association of Academic Physiatrists
  • Neural Control of Movement Society
  • Society for Neuroscience

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Advisory Board, Rehabilitation Medicine Training Program, Association of Academic Physiatrists
  • Research Committee Member, Association of Academic Physiatrists

Videos & Media

Dr. Pablo Celnik | Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Video Game Used To Help Chronic Stroke Patients Learn Motor Skills | Medical Design Technology (October 2016)

Could immediate use of training help brains heal after a stroke? | PodMed Podcast (November 2016)

Pushing Neurorehabilitation to its Limits | Restore (Summer 2016)

Want to learn a new skill? faster? Change up your practice sessions | Johns Hopkins Medicine (January 2016)


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