Kurt Thoroughman

Kurt was the first graduate student to join the lab.  He had just completed his BS in Physics from University of Chicago and enrolled in the Hopkins BME PhD program. 

He joined in summer of 1995 at a time when the lab consisted of an empty room. He was instrumental in setting up the robotic apparatus and building the laboratory. He transformed the direction of motor learning by inventing the state-space approach to analyze trial-by-trial behavioral data during motor learning. With it, he showed that behavioral data carries some of the signatures of the motor primitives with which the brain builds internal models of action. He also discovered what may be the teaching signal for these internal models: the error-feedback response generated by the reflexes.

He completed his PhD in 1999, and subsequently did a postdoc at Brandies University with Prof. Eve Marder. He then became a faculty member at Washington University, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
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Publications

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Learning and memory formation of arm movements. R Shadmehr, Thoroughman K (2000) In: Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement, J. M. Winters and P. E. Crago (eds), Springer-Verlag, pp. 347-353. 

Learning of action through adaptive combination of motor primitives. KA Thoroughman and R Shadmehr (2000) Nature 407:742-747.  News&Views

Electromyographic correlates of learning an internal model of reaching movements. KA Thoroughman and R Shadmehr (1999) Journal of Neuroscience 19:8573-8588.