Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Masahiro Yamada Contributes to Research at MRRI

Masahiro (Masa) Yamada, PhD, joined Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI) as a postdoctoral fellow in December 2021, and he has been contributing to the exceptional stroke research team at MRRI. Dr. Yamada is working under the mentorship of Shailesh Kantak, PT, PhD, who is an Institute Scientist and Director of the Neuroplasticity and Motor Behavior Laboratory.

Dr. Yamada was awarded his BS from California State University, Northridge, majoring in Kinesiology. He received his MS in Exercise Science and Motor Learning from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His early research focused on the effect of directing one’s attention to different aspects of movements (i.e., attentional focus) on performance and injury prevention. Dr. Yamada was awarded his PhD in Kinesiology and Applied Neuromechanics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2020. His dissertation research examined the effect of attentional focus on perception, motor control variability, and skill acquisition. Dr. Yamada joins MRRI after serving as a lecturer and postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

His prior research has shown that attending to bodily movements disrupts performance, but the effects may be mediated by practice. In his previous postdoctoral fellowship, the research team has shown that motor dysfunctions from a concussion can be detected by quick, objective, portable, and cost-effective biomechanical analyses using a smartphone.

Through his postdoctoral fellowship at MRRI, Dr. Yamada hopes to integrate his experience in biomechanics and kinesiology with neuroscience focused on motor skill acquisition and rehabilitation by working with relevant researchers at MRRI.

The long-term goal of Dr. Yamada’s research is to develop an effective instructional strategy for practitioners (e.g., physical therapists, occupational therapists) that maximizes motor skill learning/re-learning in patients with movement impairments or disorders.

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