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Susanne M Morton

Associate Professor
Physical Therapy Department
315 McKinly Lab


Research Interests

Human motor systems neuroscience, especially mechanisms of interlimb coordination, locomotion and motor learning. Effects of neurological injury, especially cerebral stroke and cerebellar disease, on motor coordination and learning. Using non-invasive brain stimulation to measure and modulate excitability of corticospinal pathways.


  • PhD, Movement Science, Washington University in St. Louis, 2003
  • MS, Physical Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, 1998
  • BS, Biology, University of Illinois, 1994

Professional Experience

  • 2008 - 2013, Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science Department, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  • 2004 - 2008, Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science and Neuroscience Departments, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
  • 2003 - 2004, Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurology Department (Movement Disorders), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD1999-2001, Physical Therapist, Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO

Honors and Awards

  • 2002 Promotion of Doctoral Studies II Award for predoctoral research, Foundation for PT
  • 2001 Fellowship Award for predoctoral research, Developments in Cerebellar Research
  • 2001 Patricia Leahy Scholarship Award for predoctoral research, APTA Neurology sectio

Research Projects and Grants

  • NINDS, NIH R21 NS067189 (Jul 2010 - Jun 2013) SM Morton (PI) Acquisition and Retention of Locomotor Adaptations after Stroke
  • University of Iowa, Intramural Biological Sciences Funding Program Award (Jul 2011 - Jun 2012) SM Morton (PI) Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Rehabilitate Hemiplegia
  • NICHD (NCMRR) NIH K01 HD050369 (Apr 2006 - Mar 2011) SM Morton (PI) Effect of Contralateral Leg on Motor Output Post Stroke
  • Foundation for Physical Therapy, Research Grant (Mar 2009 - Feb 2010) SM Morton (PI) Motor Adaptation: A Novel Method for Retraining Locomotion Following Stroke
  • Center of Excellence Grant, Baltimore VA (Jul 2005 - Aug 2008) RF Macko (PI), Morton Role: Co-investigator Task-Oriented Exercise and Robotics in Neurological Disease
  • University of Maryland, Intramural New Investigator Award (Jul 2005 - Jun 2006) SM Morton (PI) Mechanisms of Impaired Interlimb Coupling Post-stroke
  • University of Maryland, Intramural Clinical Research Feasibility Funds (Mar 2005 - Feb 2006) SM Morton (PI) Interlimb Coupling of Kinematic and Muscle Activation Patterns Post-stroke

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Morton SM, Lang CE, Bastian AJ. Inter- and intra-limb generalization of adaptation during catching. Exp Brain Res 141(4): 438-445, 2001.
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Relative contributions of balance and voluntary leg coordination deficits to cerebellar gait ataxia. J Neurophysiol 89(4): 1844-1856, 2003.
  • Morton SM, Dordevic GS, Bastian AJ. Cerebellar damage produces context-dependent deficits in control of leg dynamics during obstacle avoidance. Exp Brain Res 156(2): 149-163, 2004.
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Prism adaptation during walking generalizes to reaching and requires the cerebellum. J Neurophysiol 92(4): 2497-2509, 2004.
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Cerebellar control of balance and locomotion. Neuroscientist 10(3): 247-259, 2004.
  • Mostofsky SH, Bunoski R, Morton SM, Goldberg M, Bastian AJ. Children with autism adapt normally during a catching task implicating the cerebellum. Neurocase 10(1): 60-64, 2004.
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Cerebellar contributions to locomotor adaptations during splitbelt treadmill walking. J Neurosci 26: 9107-9116, 2006.
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Mechanisms of cerebellar gait ataxia. Cerebellum 6(1): 79-86, 2007.
  • Savin DN, Morton SM. Asymmetric generalization between the arm and leg following prism-induced visuomotor adaptation. Exp Brain Res 186(1): 175-182, 2008.
  • Tseng S, Stanhope SJ, Morton SM. Impaired reactive stepping adjustments in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 64(7): 807-815, 2009. [PMCID: PMC2691798]
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Can rehabilitation help ataxia? Neurol 73(22): 1818-1819, 2009.
  • Tseng S, Stanhope SJ, Morton SM. Visuomotor adaptation of voluntary step initiation in older adults. Gait Posture 31(2): 180-184, 2010. [PMCID: PMC2818275].
  • Tseng S, Morton SM. Impaired interlimb coordination of voluntary leg movements in post-stroke hemiparesis. J Neurophysiol 104(1): 248-257, 2010. [PMCID: PMC2904219].
  • Morton SM, Tseng Y, Zackowski KM, Daline JR, Bastian AJ. Longitudinal tracking of gait and balance impairments in cerebellar disease. Mov Disord 25(12): 1944-1952, 2010. [PMCID: PMC2939173].
  • Reisman DS, Bastian AJ, Morton SM. Neurophysiologic and rehabilitation insights from the split-belt and other locomotor adaptation paradigms. Phys Ther 90(2): 187-195, 2010. [PMCID: PMC2816031]
  • Savin DN, Tseng S, Morton SM. Bilateral adaptation during locomotion following a unilaterally applied resistance to swing in nondisabled adults J Neurophysiol 104(6): 3600-3611, 2011. [PMCID: PMC3007627].
  • Harris-Love ML, Morton SM, Perez MA, Cohen LG. Mechanisms of short-term training-induced reaching improvement in severely hemiparetic stroke patients: a TMS study. Neurorehabil & Neural Repair 25(5): 398-411, 2011. [PMCID: PMC3098309].
  • Vasudevan EVL, Torres-Oviedo G, Morton SM, Yang JF, Bastian AJ. Younger is not always better: development of locomotor adaptation from childhood to adulthood. J Neurosci 31: 3055-3065, 2011. [PMCID: PMC3084584]
  • Savin DN, Tseng S, Whitall J, Morton SM. Post-stroke hemiparesis impairs the rate but not magnitude of adaptation of spatial and temporal locomotor features. Neurorehabil & Neural Repair 27(1): 24-34, 2013. PMCID In Progress
  • Hussain SJ, Hanson AS, Tseng SC, Morton SM. A locomotor adaptation including explicit knowledge and removal of postadaptation errors induces complete 24-hour retention. J Neurophysiol 110(4): 916-925, 2013.
  • Leira EC, Coffey CS, Jorge RE, Morton SM, Froehler MT, Davis PH, Adams HP Jr. The NIHSS supplementary motor scale: a valid tool for multidisciplinary recovery trials. Cerebrovasc Dis 36(1): 69-73, 2013.
  • Musselman KE, Stoyanov CT, Marasigan R, Jenkins ME, Konczak J, Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Prevalence of ataxia in children: a systematic review. Neurol – In press, 2013.
  • Savin DN, Morton SM, Whitall J. Generalization of improved step length symmetry from treadmill to overground walking in persons with stroke and hemiparesis. Clin Neurophysiol – In review.
  • Hussain SJ, Morton SM. Perturbation schedule, independent of error size, alters memory of a locomotor adaptation across days. J Neurophysiol – In review.


  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Cerebellar lesions and effects on posture, locomotion and limb movement. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, edited by Squire LR. Elsevier Ltd. 2009, p 717-722.
  • Morton SM, Bastian AJ. Movement dysfunction associated with cerebellar damage. In: Umphred’s Neurological Rehabilitation, 6th ed., edited by Umphred DA, Lazaro RT, Roller ML, Burton GU. Elsevier Ltd. 2013, p 631-652.

Professional Memberships

  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Physiological Society
  • Society for the Neural Control of Movement


  • PHYT623 Clinical Neuroscience

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