Sternad Selected for Fulbright Award in Italy
University Distinguished Professor Dagmar Sternad, biology/ECE, has been selected for the Fulbright award for the academic year 2021-2022 to work on “Variability and Redundancy in Motor Learning” at the Santa Lucia Foundation at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. The Fulbright Program is devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program.
A core feature of our neuromotor system is that it affords a manifold of strategies for the same task goal. Due to this redundancy, sensorimotor learning means identifying this subset of solutions and shaping the ever-present variability along this manifold. We develop a novel mathematical approach that quantifies this progression from exploration to exploitation of the solution manifold. Using throwing as model task, we will show that variability in high-dimensional full-body movements and its distribution reveals mechanisms underlying learning and adaptation. Results from this research allow more fine-grained insights into learning, essential for many disciplines including rehabilitation.