Shailesh Kantak PhD, PT

Institute Scientist
Director, Neuroplasticity and Motor Behavior Laboratory
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Arcadia University.
Shailesh Kantak PhD, PT

Dr. Kantak is interested in understanding neurobehavioral mechanisms that underlie the control and learning of goal-directed actions after brain injury with an overarching goal of designing and testing novel, evidence-informed rehabilitation strategies. Through comprehensive characterization individuals on standardized motor and cognitive tests, kinematic and kinetic analyses of goal-directed actions, and neuroimaging using transcranial magnetic stimulation and magnetic resonance imaging, his research aims to understand the brain-behavior relationship that underlies individual patient differences in motor learning and control. Finally, Dr. Kantak is interested in facilitating translation of research findings into clinical practice through clinical-research integration.

Dr. Kantak received his Bachelor and Master of Science (Physical Therapy) degree from Mumbai University with a specialization in Neurologic Physical Therapy. He completed his Ph.D. in Biokinesiology from the University of Southern California and his postdoctoral training at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and University of Maryland.

Research Interests
  • Behavioral and neural basis of bimanual coordination
  • Brain-behavior relationship underlying motor skill learning
  • Cognitive-motor interactions in motor behavior
  • Pain and motor control
  • Neuromodulation for augmenting rehabilitation and learning


Selected Publications

For a full list of his published research, click here.

In press/ 2020

Kantak S, Johnson T, Marsh W.  Differential effects of internal versus external focus of attention on action planning and execution in patients with right and left hemispheric stroke. Human Movement Science accepted June 10, 2020.

 Kantak S and Luchmee D. Contralesional motor cortex is causally engaged during more dexterous actions of the paretic hand after stroke- A preliminary report. Neuroscience Letters, 2020. Jan 10; 720: 134751 doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2020.134751. [Epub ahead of print]



Kantak SS, McGrath RM, Zahedi N, Luchmee D. Behavioral and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying motor skill learning in patients with post-stroke hemiparesis. Clinical Neurophysiology, 2018 Jan; 129 (1):1-12.



 Kantak SS, Jax SA, Wittenberg GF. Bimanual coordination: A missing piece of arm rehabilitation after stroke. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2017, 35(4):347-364

Kantak SS, Zahedi N, McGrath RM. Complex skill training transfers to improved performance and control of simpler task in individuals post-stroke, Physical Therapy, 2017 Jul 1;97(7):718-728.



Kantak SS, McGrath R, Zahedi N Goal conceptualization and symmetry of arm movements affect bimanual coordination in individuals after stroke. Neuroscience Letters, 2016, May 11, 626: 86-93.

Kantak SS, Zahedi N, McGrath RM. Task-dependent bimanual coordination after Stroke: Relationship with sensorimotor impairments. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Feb 10. 

McGrath RM and Kantak SS. Reduced asymmetry in motor skill learning in left-handed compared to right-handed individuals. Human Movement Science, 2016 Feb;45:130-41.



Tretriluxana J, Kantak S, Tretriluxana S, Wu AD, Fisher BE. Improvement in Paretic Arm Reach-to-Grasp following Low Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Depends on Object Size: A Pilot Study. Stroke Res Treat. 2015;2015:498169. doi: 10.1155/2015/498169. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Dutta A, Krishnan C, Kantak SS, Ranganathan R, Nitsche MA. Recurrence quantification analysis of surface electromyogram supports alterations in motor unit recruitment strategies by anodal transcranial direct current stimulation. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2015 Mar 19. PMID: 25791041



Burtner PA, Leinwand R, Goh H, Sullivan KJ, Kantak SS. (2014). Motor Learning in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy: Feedback effects on skill acqusiton Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. Mar;56(3):259-66 PMID: 24438099

Krishnan C, Ranganathan R, Kantak SS, Dhaher YY, Rymer WZ. (2014). Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation alters elbow flexor muscle recruitment strategies. Brain Stimul. May-Jun;7(3):443-50. PMID: 24582369

Massie CL, Kantak SS, Narayanan P, Wittenberg GF. (2014). Timing of motor cortical stimulation during planar robotic training differentially impacts neuroplasticity in older adults. Clin Neurophysiol. Sep 16. pii: S1388-2457(14)00482-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.06.053. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25283712



Tretriluxana J, Kantak S, Tretriluxana S, Wu AD, Fisher BE. (2013). Low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the non-lesioned hemisphere improves paretic arm reach-to-grasp performance after chronic stroke. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 23244391

Kantak SS, Jones-Lush LM, Narayanan P, Judkins TN, Wittenberg GF. (2013) Rapid Plasticity of motor cortex with robotic reach training. Neuroscience. May 11;247C:55-64. PMID: 23669007

Massie CL, Narayanan P, Kantak SS, Jones-Lush LM, Judkins TN, Wittenberg GF. (2013). Effects of Motor Cortical Stimulation during Planar Reaching. Journal of Rehabilitation Robotics, 1, 42-53



Goh HT, Sullivan KJ, Kantak SS (2012). Movement pattern and parameter learning in children: effects of feedback frequency. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports. Jun;83(2):346-52 PMID: 22808721

Kantak SS, Mummidisetty CK, Stinear JW. (2012). Primary motor and premotor cortex in implicit sequence learning – evidence for competition between implicit and explicit human motor memory systems. Eur J Neurosci. Jul 4. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08175.x. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22758604

Krishnan C, Ranganathan R, Kantak SS, Dhaher YY, Rymer WZ. (2012). Active robotic training improves locomotor function in a stroke survivor. J Neuroeng Rehabil. Aug 20;9(1):57.

Kantak SS, Wittenberg GF, Liao WW, Magder LS, Rogers MW, Waller SM. (2012). Posture-related modulations in motor cortical excitability of the proximal and distal arm muscles. Neurosci Lett. 2012 Nov 2. doi:pii: S0304-3940(12)01416-4. 10.1016/j.neulet..10.048. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23123777



Kantak SS, Stinear JW, Buch ET and Cohen LG. (2011). Rewiring the brain: Potential role of the premotor cortex in motor control, learning and recovery of function following brain injury. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair published online 16 September 2011 PMID: 21926382

Kantak SS, Sullivan KJ, Fisher BE, Knowlton BJ and Winstein CJ. (2011). Transfer of motor learning engages specific neural substrates during consolidation that depend on practice structure. Journal of Motor Behavior, Nov;43(6):499-507). PMID: 22150021

Kantak SS, and Winstein CJ. (2011). Learning-Performance distinction and memory processes for motor skills: A focused review and perspective. Behavioral Brain Research. Mar 1;228(1):219-31. PMID: 22142953



Kantak SS, Sullivan KJ, Fisher BE, Knowlton BJ and Winstein CJ. (2010). Neural substrates of Motor memory consolidation depend on practice structure. Nature Neuroscience, 13:923-925.

Kantak SS, Fisher BE, Sullivan KJ and Winstein CJ. (2010). Effects of different doses of low frequency rTMS on motor corticospinal excitability. Journal of Neurology and Neurophysiology



Sullivan, KJ, Kantak SS and Burtner PA. (2008). Motor Learning in Children: Feedback effects on skill acquisition. Physical Therapy. Jun; 88(6):720-32. PMID: 18339797

Chien-Ho (Janice) Lin, Allan D Wu, Shailesh Kantak, Katherine J Sullivan, Carolee J Winstein. The effect of task practice order in motor skill learning for adults with Parkinson’s disease. Physical Therapy. 2007 Sep; 87(9):1120-31. PMID: 17609332