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Human Motor Control Section - Division of Intramural Research


Mark Hallett Image

Mark Hallett, M.D., Senior Investigator

Dr. Hallett obtained his A.B. and M.D. at Harvard University, had his internship in Medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and his Neurology training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had fellowships in neurophysiology at the NIH and in the Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry in London, where he worked with C. David Marsden. Before coming to NIH in 1984, Dr. Hallett was the Chief of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is currently Chief of the Medical Neurology Branch and Chief of its Human Motor Control Section. He is now Editor-in-Chief of World Neurology, the newsletter of the World Federation of Neurology and Associate Editor of Brain. He has been President of the Movement Disorder Society and Vice-President of the American Academy of Neurology. Among many awards, in 2005 he won the Movement Disorder Research Award of the American Academy of Neurology and in 2007 he won the Wilhelm-Erb-GedenkmÜnze of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fÜr Neurologie. His research activities focus on the physiology of human voluntary movement and its pathophysiology in disordered voluntary movement and involuntary movement.

Laboratory Staff

Kemal Bayulkem, M.D., Adjunct Investigator
Beth Belluscio, M.D., Clinical Fellow
Nancy Bowen, Dr.PH, M.P.H, Clinical Research Project Manager
Chi-Chao Chao, M.D., Ph.D., Special Volunteer
Elaine Considine, R.N., Nurse
Pierre Diomi, M.D., Special Volunteer
Aviva Ellenstein, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Fellow
Dietrich Haubenberger, M.D., Special Volunteer
Silvina Horovitz, Ph.D., Staff Scientist
Sa Yun Kang, M.D., Special Volunteer
Emily Lines, B.S., Postbaccalaureate IRTA
Codrin Lungu, M.D., Clinical Fellow
Gayle McCrossin, R.N., Research Nurse
Ejaz Shamim, M.D., M,S., Special Volunteer
Bernhard Voller, M.D., Special Volunteer
Mark Hallett Staff Image

Research Interests

The general mission of the Human Motor Control Section is to understand the physiology of normal human voluntary movement and the pathophysiology of different movement disorders. The members of the Section work together on the different projects, each bringing special expertise to the tasks. The main techniques employed are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), neuroimaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and other techniques of clinical neurophysiology. The principal diseases studied are dystonia, Parkinson's disease, cerebellar ataxia, myoclonus, essential tremor, tic, psychogenic movement disorders and startle disorders.

In relation to the physiology of movement, we have studied the brain processes associated with the preparation and execution of different types of movements. A special interest now is the process of movement initiation and volition. We have been studying motor learning including the process of making movement automatic.

Dystonia has been the main movement disorder investigated recently. We have found that there are a number of pathophysiological problems including loss of surround inhibition, abnormal plasticity and defective sensory function. We are looking further into the mechanisms of these problems. We have been studying the genesis of tics in patients with Tourette Syndrome. Part of our work is to translate physiological insights into therapies, and we have clinical trials ongoing in Parkinson's disease, dystonia and essential tremor.


Clinical Protocols

  • Long-Term Motor Learning in Focal Hand Dystonia  06-N-0161
  • Investigation of Neurofeedback with Real-time fMRI in Healthy Volunteers and Patients with Hyperkinetic Movement Disorders  09-N-0118
  • Double-blind, placebo controlled pilot-study of octanoic acid in essential tremor  09-N-0084
  • Ethanol response in Essential Tremor: clinical and neurophysiological correlates  10-N-0199
  • Physiological Investigations of Movement Disorders  10-N-0009
  • Recording and modulation of neuronal mechanisms during operant conditioning: a MEG study  10-N-0003
  • Evaluation of Tourette's Syndrome with Multimetabolite H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at 3T  02-N-0128
  • A Training Protocol for the use of Botulinum Toxin in the Treatment of Neurological Disorders  85-N-0195

Selected Recent Publications

  • Jin SH, Lin P, Auh S, Hallett M
    Abnormal functional connectivity in focal hand dystonia: Mutual information analysis in EEG, Mov Disord. 2011 Jun, 2011, vol. 26(7), pp. 1274-81.[Epub 2011 Apr 19; doi: 10.1002/mds.23675].
  • Voon V, Gao J, Brezing C, Symmonds M, Ekanayake V, Fernandez H, Dolan RJ, Hallett M.
    Dopamine agonists and risk: impulse control disorders in Parkinson's; disease, Brain. 2011 May, 2011, vol. 134(Pt 5), pp. 1438-46.
  • Nahab FB, Wittevrongel L, Ippolito D, Toro C, Grimes GJ, Starling J, Potti G, Haubenberger D, Bowen D, Buchwald P, Dong C, Kalowitz D, Hallett M.
    An Open-Label, Single-Dose, Crossover Study of the Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism of Two Oral Formulations of 1-Octanol in Patients with Essential Tremor, Neurotherapeutics. 2011 May 19, 2011, pp. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Beck S, Hallett M.
    Surround inhibition in the motor system, Brain Res. 2011 Apr, 2011, vol. 210(2), pp. 243-50. Epub 2011 Mar 23..
  • Benninger DH, Berman BD, Houdayer E, Pal N, Luckenbaugh DA, Schneider L, Miranda S, Hallett M
    Intermittent theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment of Parkinson disease, Neurology. 2011 Feb 15, 2011, vol. 76(7), pp. 601-9.
  • Bai O, Rathi V, Lin P, Huang D, Battapady H, Fei DY, Schneider L, Houdayer E, Chen X, Hallett M
    Prediction of human voluntary movement before it occurs, Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Feb, 2011, vol. 122(2), pp. 364-72. Epub 2010 Aug 2.
  • Nahab FB, Kundu P, Gallea C, Kakareka J, Pursley R, Pohida T, Miletta N, Friedman J, Hallett M
    The Neural Processes Underlying Self-Agency, Cereb Cortex. 2011 Jan, 2011, vol. 21(1), pp. 48-55. Epub 2010 Apr 8.
  • Herath P, Gallea C, van der Veen JW, Horovitz SG, Hallett M
    In vivo neurochemistry of primary focal hand dystonia: A magnetic resonance spectroscopic neurometabolite profiling study at 3T, Mov Disord. 2010 Dec 15, 2010, vol. 25(16), pp. 2800-8.

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Human Motor Control Section
Medical Neurology Branch, NINDS
NIH, Building 10, Room 7D37
10 Center Drive, MSC 1428
Bethesda, MD 20892-1428

Telephone: 301-496-9526 (office), 301-496-9526 (laboratory), 301-480-2286 (fax)
Email: hallettm@ninds.nih.gov