Motor Recovery Research Laboratory

Our hands allow us to perform delicate tasks like picking flowers without crushing them, stringing beads without scattering them, and drinking gracefully from a wine glass without breaking it or spilling its contents. We also use our hands to greet, comfort and caress – they connect us with people we care about. Life without the function of our hands is almost unimaginable.

How can our hands do so much? How do the various parts of our brain talk to each other to facilitate these actions? And after injury or paralysis, how can we restore function in hands?

Our lab studies the mechanisms of impairment and recovery of hand function after brain injury such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and brachial plexus injuries in order to develop strategies to restore the physical, cognitive and emotive aspects of hand function.

We use a range of techniques including three-dimensional motion tracking, finger joint motion sensing, video analysis of movement, electromyography recordings, autonomic recordings and transcranial direct current stimulation to analyze movement coordination, muscle activity patterns, cardiovascular reactivity and cognitive functioning.


NIH/ NICHD 1R01HD071978-01A1 (Raghavan)
Strategies for recovery of dexterity post-stroke

The goal of this project is to refine and test the alternate hand training protocol for recovery of grasp post stroke.

This study is open for enrollment. Contact: 212-263-0344.
View the study flyer

NYU CTSI and Grammy Foundation (Raghavan)
Multi-modal strategy to enhance functional recovery and reduce disparity post stroke.   
Music therapy for enriched rehabilitation post stroke

This project will test the efficacy and underlying mechanisms of an enriched environment that integrates music therapy and occupational therapy, through group music-making, to enhance upper limb recovery in underserved minority groups.

This study is open for enrollment. Contact: 212-263-0344.

Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Raghavan)
Relationship between attention and emotional regulation post-TBI: Probing neural circuitry with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

The goal of this project is to understand the relationship between attention and emotional function after brain injury and to investigate the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation in enhancing emotional regulation post-TBI.

This study is open for enrollment. Contact: 212-263-0344
View the study flyer

Simultaneous Bimanual Training to Improve Motor Function Post-Stroke

The goal of this project is to examine if simultaneous bimanual training of the affected and unaffected movements using specially designed devices can help in the recovery of muscle function in the arm/hand after a stroke.

This study is open for enrollment. Contact: 212-263-0344.


  • Effect of auditory constraints on motor performance depends on stage of recovery post-stroke
    Aluru, Viswanath; Lu, Ying; Leung, Alan; Verghese, Joe; Raghavan, Preeti
    Frontiers in Neurology, 2014. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00106.

  • From Historic to Contemporary: Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Collaborative Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation
    Guerrero, Nina; Turry, Aaln; Geller, Daneil; Raghavan, Preeti
    Music Therapy Perspectives, 2014. doi: 10.1093/mtp/miu014

  • The effects of emotionally charged auditory stimulation on gait performance in the elderly: a preliminary study
    Rizzo, John-Ross; Raghavan, Preeti; McCrery, J R; Oh-Park, Mooyeon; Verghese, Joe
    Archives of physical medicine & rehabilitation, 2014.

  • Peripheral Mechanisms Contributing to Spasticity and Implications for Treatment
    Stecco, Antonio; Stecco, Carla; Raghavan, Preeti.
    Current Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports, 2014. doi: 10.1007/s40141-014-0052-3.
  • Autonomic mechanisms of emotional reactivity and regulation.
    Uy, Catherine C; Jeffery, Iain A; Wilson, Matthew; Aluru, Viswanath; Madan, Anita; Lu, Ying; Raghavan, Preeti.
    Psychology 2013; 4 (8):669-675. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.48095
  • Motor dual-task effect on gait and task of upper limbs in older adults under specific task prioritization: pilot study
    Oh-Park, Mooyeon; Holtzer, Roee; Mahoney, Jeannette; Wang, Cuiling; Raghavan, Preeti; Verghese, Joe
    Aging Clin Exp Res. 2013 Apr;25(1):99-106. doi: 10.1007/s40520-013-0014-0. PMID:23740639
  • Stroke survivors talk while doing: Development of a therapeutic framework for continued rehabilitation of hand function post stroke
    Sabini, Rosanna C; Dijkers, Marcel P J M; Raghavan, Preeti
    J Hand Ther. 2013 Apr-Jun;26(2):124-30; quiz 131. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2012.08.002. PMID: 23073514
  • Compensatory motor control after stroke: an alternative joint strategy for object-dependent shaping of hand posture
    Raghavan, Preeti; Santello, Marco; Gordon, Andrew M; Krakauer, John W
    J Neurophysiol. 2010 Jun;103(6):3034-43. doi: 10.1152/jn.00936.2009. PMID: 20457866
  • The nature of hand motor impairment after stroke and its treatment
    Raghavan, Preeti
    Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2007 Jun;9(3):221-8. PMID:17601386
  • Impaired anticipatory control of fingertip forces in patients with a pure motor or sensorimotor lacunar syndrome
    Raghavan, Preeti; Krakauer, John W; Gordon, Andrew M
    Brain. 2006 Jun;129(Pt 6):1415-25. Epub 2006 Apr 5. PMID:16597653
  • Patterns of impairment in digit independence after subcortical stroke
    Raghavan, Preeti; Petra, Electra; Krakauer, John W; Gordon, Andrew M
    J Neurophysiol. 2006 Jan;95(1):369-78. Epub 2005 Oct 5. PMID: 16207778

Lab members

Preeti Raghavan
Director, Motor Recovery Research Laboratory

Our lab studies neurophysiology and neuroplasticity related to motor control and behavior. We focus on hand motor control and plasticity after brain injury to restore flexible hand function.

I am a board-certified physician in Rehabilitation Medicine and received research training at Columbia University, New York through the NIH-funded Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program.


Daniel Geller
Rehabilitation Research Clinical Specialist

I am interested in stroke rehabilitation, more specifically motor recovery of the upper extremity and hand for functional use. In the lab, I work on all the projects; however, my focus is on a combined music therapy and occupational therapy study, and our Botox study. I also have an interest in robotics, virtual reality, and mirror therapy as different treatment approaches for post-stoke patients.

Education: Ed.D (Doctoral Candidate) in Movement Science with specialization in Occupational therapy: Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. M.S: Occupational Therapy, Columbia University, New York MPH: Public Health, Columbia University

Research Interests: Stroke Rehabilitation, Motor Learning, Cognitive and Perceptual Rehabilitation


Viswanath Aluru
Assistant Research Scientist

Motor performance and cognition have usually been studied separately. I am interested in the association between deficits in motor and cognitive functions, and in exploring the relationship between improvement in cognitive skills and translation to better motor performance after stroke or neurological injury in order to develop novel technologies to integrate the two systems.
Education: M.D: Dr. N.T.R. University of Health Sciences, India

Research Interests: Motor and Cognitive Neurorehabilitation, Assistive and Neurorehabilitation technology, Holistic approaches to Neurorehabilitation, Global Health research in Neurorehabilitation.



Zena Moore
Research Coordinator

My role as a Research Coordinator is to build and maintain a relationship with research participants that creates trust and strong collaboration with the researchers.

Education: M.S. candidate in Clinical Research Administration, The George Washington University. B.A: Dual major in Political Science and Children Studies, CUNY Brooklyn College, New York.

Research Interests: Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury


Seda Bilaloglu
Research Associate

I am interested neural signal processing. I investigate the neural mechanisms underlying interhemispheric transfer of information in the brain and its therapeutic implications for stroke recovery. To do this, I process and analyze EMG and fingertip force data from stroke patients using variety of methods and am involved in instrumentation for new devices.

Education: M.S: Biomedical Engineering with specialization in Bioinstrumentation, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, New York University, New York. B.S: Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Bilkent University, Turkey.

Research Interests: Biomedical signal processing and instrumentation, stroke rehabilitation, motor learning


John-Ross (JR) Rizzo
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine

I am a newly appointed assistant professor in Rehabilitation Medicine. I am interested in exploring the intricacies of eye-hand coordination. I want to understand the reciprocal relationship between oculomotor and manual motor control in healthy individuals and those with acquired brain injury. We use video-based eye trackers and infrared motion capture systems to obtain objective information on both effectors.

Education: PMR Residency: Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine. MD: New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. B.S.: Neuroscience, New York University.

Research Interests: Low vision rehabilitation, visuomotor integration, concussion, medical technology


Aaron Beattie
Database Analyst

I have worked at Rusk for 20+ years and have been involved in numerous rehabilitation research projects.  My area of interest is the use of computers and programing to support, facilitate, and enhance all aspects of the research process from device interfacing and data gathering, to data storage, analysis and presentation.

Education: BS: Computer Science, CUNY Queens College, New York.

Research Interests: Rehabilitation medicine


Peter Thai
Research Associate

Education: B.S. Chemistry, New York University, New York; B.E. Chemical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey.

Research Interests: Stroke and recovery, disease and injury affecting the musculoskeletal system, clinical research in rehabilitation and technology to improve motor function.


Qiang Lin
International joint PhD student from Sun Yat Sen University, Guanzhou, China.

I am interested in exploring the brain’s neural plasticity to facilitate motor recovery. I use fMRI to investigate functional reorganization in the brain after virtual reality therapy or bimanual therapy for upper limbs. I am also interested in the mechanisms underlying the effects of acupuncture on diseases of the nervous system and in pain relief.

Education: PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The First Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China and Rusk Rehabilitation, New York University, New York, USA. MD: Traditional Chinese and Western Integrative Medicine with specialization in Geriatric Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

Research Interests: Stroke rehabilitation, motor recovery, acupuncture


David Rhee
Medical Student, New York University School of Medicine

I find the biomechanics underlying human movement absolutely enchanting. In the Motor Recovery Lab, I am researching various strategies to facilitate motor relearning in post-stroke patients. I work with both EMG and kinematic data from basic hand/wrist movements.

Education: Currently a student in the 3-YR MD Program (Dept. of Rehab. Med.) at NYU School of Medicine. B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University.


Current Research Interns:

Alvin Tang
Joanne Reisch
Mike Aaronson

Contact information

Motor Recovery Research Laboratory
Rusk Rehabilitation
NYU Ambulatory care center
240 E 38th Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Ph: 212-263-0344