You are here


Dagmar Sternad

Interdisciplinary with, Biology
Affiliated Faculty, Bioengineering
503 Richards Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


Dagmar Sternad received the BS in Movement Science and Linguistics from the Technical University of Munich and the PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Connecticut. From 1995 until 2008, she was Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in Kinesiology and Integrative Biosciences. At Northeastern, she holds an interdisciplinary appointment in the departments of Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics. Her research in computational neuroscience and motor control focuses on learning and control of sensorimotor coordination in humans, both in healthy and neurologically impaired individuals. This work spans behavioral experiments with mathematical models of control and nonlinear dynamics, bridging biology with engineering and physics. The results are documented in over 80 publications in scientific journals and several books. The research has been continuously supported by grants from the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation and Office of Naval Research.

The central interest of research in the Action Lab is the control and coordination of goal-directed human behavior. Adopting a systems-level approach we aim to reveal the organizational principles of the nervous system in interaction with the mechanical system of the body and the environment. Our research strategy intertwines behavioral experiments on human subjects with theoretical work using mathematical models of movement generation. The theoretical approach views the actor in the environment as a dynamical system, which is high-dimensional and nonlinear. Our experimental research focuses on single- and multi- joint human movements including upper limb manipulation tasks and locomotion examined in virtual environments. We have extended these experimental paradigms to study the elderly and patients with neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Research & Scholarship Interests

Human movement control, motor learning and adaptation, rehabilitation, dynamic modeling, stability, noise and control, rhythmic movements and coupled oscillator models
Affiliated With

Department Research Areas

College Research Initiatives

Selected Publications

  • D. Sternad, K.P. Körding "Carrot or Stick in Motor Learning", Nature Neuroscience, 18(4), 2015, 480-481
  • M.E. Huber, D. Sternad "Implicit Guidance to Stable Performance in a Rhythmic Perceptual-motor Skill", Experimental Brain Research, 233(6), 2015, 1783-1799 
  • M.E. Huber, A.E. Seitchik, A. Brown, D. Sternad, S.G. Harkins "The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Performance of a Rhythmic Motor Skill", American Psychological Association, 41(2), 2015, 525-541 
  • S.-W. Park, D. Sternad "Robust Retention of Individual Sensorimotor Skill After Self-Guided Practice", Journal of Neurophysiology, 2015 
  • D. Sternad, M.E. Huber, N. Kuznetsov "Acquisition of Novel and Complex Motor Skills: Stable Solutions Where Intrinsic Noise Matters Less", Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 826, 2014, 101-124 
  • B. Nasseroleslami, C.J. Hasson, D. Sternad "Rhythmic Manipulation of Objects with Complex Dynamics: Predictability Over Chaos", PLoS Computational Biology, 10(10), 2014, e1003900 
  • M.O. Abe, D. Sternad "Directionality in Distribution and Temporal Structure of Variability in Skill Acquisition", Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,
    7(225), 2013
See Google Scholar Profile for all publications »

Related News

September 29, 2016

COS/ECE Professor Dagmar Sternad was awarded a $500K collaborative NSF grant to research "Towards Robots with Human Dexterity".

September 9, 2015

COS & ECE Professor Dagmar Sternad was awarded a $171K NSF EAGER grant for "Challenging the Cognitive-Control Divide". Abstract Source: NSF This EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory...

June 29, 2015

ECE Professor Dagmar Sternad received the Best Paper award at the International Conference for Virtual Rehabilitation (ICVR) 2015.

Related Events