Reza Shadmehr

Reza Shadmehr was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. He is responsible for developing a theory and paradigm to study the question of how the brain learns to build internal models for the purpose of controlling our movements. The theory and experiments have  revealed some of the functions of the cerebellum. His greatest accomplishment, however, has been to mentor students, many of whom have gone to become productive scientists, physicians, and engineers.

Reza was a Ph.D. student of Prof. Michael Arbib at Univ. of Southern California, where he developed theories for control of bio-mechanical systems.  He was a post-doc in the laboratory of Prof. Emilio Bizzi at MIT, where he developed theories on human motor learning and used robots to test these theories in humans. It was at MIT that along with Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi, they invented the Force Field Paradigm to study how the brain learns to predict and control physics of the arm. This paradigm became one of the main tools used for study of  motor learning.

Contributions to science

Contributions to the motor control community
Reza, along with Emo Todorov, were the founding organizers of Advances in Computational Motor Control Meeting, now in its 15th year.  Reza has written two text books.

  • 1985 BS in Electrical Engineering, Gonzaga University
  • 1987 MS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California
  • 1991 PHD in Computer Science (Robotics), University of Southern California
  • 1991-94 McDonnell-Pew Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT

Academic Appointments
  • 1995 Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • 2000 Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • 2004 Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • 2007 Director of the Biomedical Engineering PHD Program

  • 2005 The Computational Neurobiology of Reaching and Pointing,  MIT Press
  • 2012 Biological Learning and Control, MIT Press
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Awards and honors

1984  IEEE-Bendix International Student Project Award
1988  IBM Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science
1989  Sigma Xi National Student Research Award
1991  McDonnell-Pew Postdoctoral Fellowship, MIT
1995  U.S. Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award
1999  Watson Lecture, Univ. of Sydney, Australia
2001  Plenary speaker, IEEE Conf. Measurement & Analysis of Human Function
2003  Teaching Award, JHU Dept. of Neuroscience
2003  Plenary speaker, European Conf. on Movement Science
2009  Plenary speaker, Intern. Symp. on Neural Basis of Decision Making
2010  Kensington Lecture, Imperial College, London
2011  Plenary speaker, Canadian Physiological Society Meeting
2011  Keynote speaker, American Society for the Psychology of Sport
2011  Plenary speaker, Australian Conference on Movement Science
2015  Donders Lecture, Nijmegen, Netherlands
2015  Keynote lecture, German Primate Neurobiology Conference
2015  Best Poster Award, Society for Neuroeconomics
2017  Keynote lecture, Kavli Brain Forum Symposium, Atlanta
2017  Elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical & Biological Engineers (AIMBE)