Tara L. McIsaac
Ph.D. 2006 Neuroscience –
Neurophysiology and Motor Learning Laboratory
I am interested in the principles involved in movement skill acquisition that are applicable to individuals with movement disorders and people recovering from neurological injury. Significant research has informed us of optimal training techniques to enhance motor learning in healthy individuals. However, much less is understood about the unique requirements in learning or re-learning movements after neurological injury such as stroke, or in individuals living with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson disease. My research focuses on factors of attention and instruction that impact the learning of everyday more complex ‘dual-task’ movement skills like driving a car or walking while carrying a cup of coffee. To explore these issues we use neurophysiological measurements of muscle activity (EMG), movement patterns (kinematics) and forces (kinetics). This information will help in developing new approaches to therapeutic interventions for people with movement disorders and injury.
1. McIsaac TL, Benjapalakorn B* (2012). Allocation of attention and dual task effects on upper and lower limb task performance in healthy young adults. Journal of Neurophysiology (under review).
2. Montes J*, McIsaac TL, Dunaway S, Kamil-Rosenberg S, Sproule D, Garber CE, De Vivo DC, Rao AK (2012). Falls and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): Exploring cause and prevention. Muscle and Nerve (in press).
3. McIsaac TL, Diermayr G, Albert F (2012). Impaired anticipatory control of grasp during obstacle crossing in Parkinson's disease. Neuroscience Letters 516, 242-246.
4. Girón EC, McIsaac TL, Nilsen DM (2012). Effects of kinesthetic and visual imagery on two technical dance movements: A case series. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science 16, 36-38.
5. Diermayr G, McIsaac TL, Kaminski TR, Gordon AM (2011). Aging effects on object transport during gait. Gait & Posture 34, 334-339.
6. Zhang W, Gordon AM, McIsaac TL, Santello M (2011). Within-trial modulation of multi-digit forces to friction. Experimental Brain Research 211, 17-26.
7. Diermayr G, Albert F, McIsaac TL, Gordon AM (2011). Finger force coordination underlying object manipulation in the elderly: A mini-review. Gerontology 57, 217-227.
8. Albert F, Diermayr G, McIsaac TL, Gordon AM(2010). Coordination of grasping and walking in Parkinson's disease. Experimental Brain Research 202, 709-721.
9. McIsaac TL, Santello M, Johnston J, Zhang W, Gordon AM (2009). Task-specific modulation of multi-digit forces to object texture. Experimental Brain Research194, 79-90.
10. McIsaac TL, Fuglevand AJ (2008). Common synaptic input across motor nuclei supplying intrinsic muscles involved in the precision grip. Experimental Brain Research 188, 159-164.
11. Muratori L, McIsaac TL, Gordon AM, Santello M (2008). Impaired anticipatory control of force sharing patterns during whole-hand grasping in Parkinson disease. Experimental Brain Research 185, 41-52.
12. McIsaac TL, Fuglevand, AJ (2007). Common input to motor units within and across compartments of the human flexor digitorum superficialis muscle. Journal of Neurophysiology 97, 550-556.
13. McIsaac TL, Fuglevand AJ (2006). Influence of tactile afferents on the coordination of motor nuclei involved in the precision grip. Experimental Brain Research 174, 769-774.
14. De Weerd P, Reinke K, Ryan L, McIsaac T, Perschler P, Schnyer D, Trouard T, Gmitro A (2003). Cortical mechanisms for acquisition and performance of bimanual motor sequences. NeuroImage 19, 1405-1416.
Dean's Competitive Grant for Pre-tenured Faculty, Teachers College, Columbia University (2009)
Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Teachers College, Columbia University (2007-2008)
Principal investigator, “Multi-digit grasping in Parkinson’s disease”
Douglas G. Stuart Predoctoral Fellowship in Neuroscience, University of Arizona, (2005-2006)
NIH Predoctoral Training Grant, Program in Neuroscience, University of Arizona, (2000 - 2002)
Lutheran Hospital Auxiliary Health Career Scholarship, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, (1991 - 1992)
Organization for Campus Women Scholarship, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, (1988 - 1989)
BBSR 4060: Motor learning
Study of factors relating to the acquisition and performance of motor skills. Includes review and analysis of appropriate research findings.
BBSR 4900: Research and independent study in movement science and education
Permission required. Masters degree students undertake research and independent study under the direction of a faculty member.
BBSR 5028: Motor development across the lifespan
Review and analysis of theoretical models and experimental research related to development and performance of motor skills throughout the lifespan.
BBSR 5050: Neurophysiology of motor control and electromyography
Review and analysis of theoretical models and experimental research related to development and performance of motor skills throughout the lifespan. Advanced topics dealing with the experimental and clinical use of electromyography. Topics will be integrated with the kinematics of movements being observed. A laboratory project using EMG will be required. Lab fee: $50.
BBSR 5251: Fieldwork seminar in motor learning and motor control
Applications of theory/research to therapeutic or educational practice for students in field-based settings.
BBSR 5504: Research training in motor learning
Permission required. A competency-based approach to the preparation of researchers in the areas of neuromotor control and perceptual-motor processes. Several learning experiences are offered each semester, involving lectures, laboratory practica, seminars and individual research advisement.
BBSR 6564: Advanced topics in neuromotor processes
Topic changes annually.
Centers and Projects
The Movement Science laboratories were recently upgraded to cutting edge technology for the study of movement with support from a National Science Foundation Major Instrumentation Grant.