Robert L. Sainburg, PhD, OTR/L

Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Distinguished Chair in Kinesiology and Neurology

    • Burrows Street, 29 Recreation Building

      16802 University Park

    • 500 University Drive, C2852 Biomedical Research Building

      17033-0859 Hershey, PA

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    1991 …2024

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research interests

    Dr. Robert Sainburg is a professor of Kinesiology and Neurology at Penn State and director of the Center for Movement Science and Technology (C-MOST) in the Huck Institute of Life Sciences. He manages two laboratories, the Movement Neuroscience laboratory at Penn State in the Department of Kinesiology at University Park, and the Neurorehabilitation Research Laboratory at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, in the Department of Neurology.

    His research program is fundamentally translational, focusing on understanding basic neural mechanisms that underlie control, coordination, adaptation and learning of voluntary movements in humans. A major theme of his research has been neural lateralization for motor control. His research in patient populations addresses the functional neuroanatomy underlying lateralized processes of motor control, and the deficits that occur due to neuronal damage to the associated structures.

    Dr. Sainburg’s research has led to a model of neural lateralization that attributes different aspects of control to each hemisphere, such that each hemisphere contributes unique control mechanisms to both sides of the body. This bi-hemispheric model of motor control has been able to predict hemisphere-specific deficits in both arms of unilaterally lesioned stroke patients. Most importantly, this work has led to a mechanistic understanding of non-paretic arm (ipsilesional) motor deficits in stroke patients. His current research along with collaborator Carolee Winstein, PT, PhD, at USC is exploring occupational therapy and physical therapy based clinical intervention that uses virtual reality and real-world training to ameliorate these deficits and improve functional independence in stroke patients.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Neurobiology, Post Doctoral Fellowship, Claude Ghez, Claude Ghez, Columbia University


    Neurobiology , PhD, Rutgers University


    Physiology/Neurobiology, MS, Rutgers University


    Occupational Therapy, BS, New York University

    Aug 30 1980Aug 30 1984


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