Mary Ellen Stoykov

Mary Ellen Stoykov, PhD

Research Scientist, Principal Investigator, High Intensity Lab OT Specialist, Research Associate Professor with Northwestern,

My Lab

Rehabilitation Neurology Motor Priming Lab

Our lab investigates and promotes various methods of neural priming for neurorehabilitation in individuals with severe upper limb hemiparesis.

view lab

About Me

Prior to obtaining advanced degrees, Dr. Stoykov had extensive experience as an occupational therapy clinician at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now known as the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab). Her interests are in clinical research including neural priming, bimanual therapy, investigation of the underlying neural mechanisms associated with improvements in severe post-stroke hemiparesis, bimanual conflict, and Huntington's Disease. Dr. Stoykov was a fellow of the Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials (2014) sponsored by OBSSR at NIH and is currently working on an NIH funded clinical trial examining bilateral priming. She is a Research Scientist and High Intensity Lab Specialist in the Arms & Hands Lab

Post-stroke upper limb hemiparesis, bimanual conflict, neural mechanisms of upper limb recovery, movement disorders, and Huntington's Disease.




Shirley Ryan Abilitylab

355 East Erie St.

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Training



    2006 - 2008
    PhD, University of Illinois Chicago
    2002 - 2008
    PhD in Movement Science, University of Illinois Chicago
    1999 - 2002
    Post-professional master's in Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois Chicago
    1991 - 1993
    Post-Bacculaureate in Occupational Therapy, Thomas Jefferson University


    Fellow of the Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials sponsored by OBSSR at NIH

Recent Publications

Survivors of Chronic Stroke Experience Continued Impairment of Dexterity But Not Strength in the Nonparetic Upper Limb.
Barry AJ, Triandafilou KM, Stoykov ME, Bansal N, Roth EJ, Kamper DG
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2020.01.018
Bilateral motor priming for post stroke upper extremity hemiparesis: A randomized pilot study.
Stoykov ME, King E, David FJ, Vatinno A, Fogg L, Corcos DM
Restorative neurology and neuroscience
doi: 10.3233/RNN-190943
Home-based Upper Extremity Stroke Therapy Using a Multiuser Virtual Reality Environment: A Randomized Trial.
Thielbar KO, Triandafilou KM, Barry AJ, Yuan N, Nishimoto A, Johnson J, Stoykov ME, Tsoupikova D, Kamper DG
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2019.10.182
Movement-Based Priming: Clinical Applications and Neural Mechanisms.
Stoykov ME, Corcos DM, Madhavan S
Journal of motor behavior
doi: 10.1080/00222895.2016.1250716

Honors & Awards

  • Travel Award
    APTA Combined Sections Annual Conference, Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy , 2018
  • Warren Palmer Award for Outstanding PhD Student
    University of Illinois at Chicago, 2007


  • Bilateral Priming plus Task Specific Training for Severe Hemiparesis
    Northwestern University
    , 2017 - 2022
  • Functional Connectivity in the Upper Limb for Individuals Post Stroke
    NIH, Medical University of South Carolina, Center for Neuromodulation , 2021


  • American Society of Neurorehabilitation
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • Occupational Therapy Leader's and Legacy Society