Sandro Mussaivaldi

Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi, PhD

Senior Research Scientist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab |
Professor, Physiology, PM&R and Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University
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About Me

Areas of interest and expertise include robotics, neurobiology of the sensory-motor system and computational neuroscience. Among Dr. Mussa-Ivaldi’s achievements are the first measurement of human arm multi-joint impedance, the development of a technique for investigating the mechanisms of motor learning through the application of deterministic force fields, the discovery of a family of integral generalized inverses for redundant kinematic chains, the discovery of functional modules within the spinal cord that generate a discrete family of force-fields, the development of a theoretical framework for the representation, generation and learning of limb movements and the development of the first neuro-robotic system in which a neural preparation in-vitro - the brainstem of a lamprey - controls the behavior of a mobile-robot through a closed-loop interaction. In recent years Dr. Mussa-Ivaldi’s team has been developing and testing a “body-machine interface” for people with tetraplegia following cervical spinal cord injury. The interface captures residual motion abilities and muscle activities to facilitate the use of devices such as powered wheelchairs and personal computer systems with the dual purpose of providing assistance and engaging the users in targeted therapeutic exercises.


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Training



    1986 - 1988
    PhD, Politecnico di Milano


    1987 - 1988
    Postdoctoral Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Recent Publications

Energy exchanges at contact events guide sensorimotor integration.
Farshchian A, Sciutti A, Pressman A, Nisky I, Mussa-Ivaldi FA
pii: e32587. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32587
State-Based Delay Representation and Its Transfer from a Game of Pong to Reaching and Tracking.
Avraham G, Leib R, Pressman A, Simo LS, Karniel A, Shmuelof L, Mussa-Ivaldi FA, Nisky I
pii: ENEURO.0179-17.2017. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0179-17.2017
Development of an EMG-Controlled Serious Game for Rehabilitation.
Ghassemi M, Triandafilou K, Barry A, Stoykov ME, Roth E, Mussa-Ivaldi FA, Kamper DG, Ranganathan R
doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2019.2894102


  • Collaborative Machines Enhancing Therapies (COMET
    National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research
    , 2018 - 2019
  • Human and Machine Learning for Customized Control of Assistive Robots
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2017 - 2022
  • "NSF/SBE-BSF:Integration of kinesthetic and tactile
    National Science Foundation
    , 2016 - 2019
  • Motor Learning in a Customized Body-Machine Interface for Persons with Paralysis
    , 2012 - 2019

My Lab

Robotics Lab

Our research is aimed at understanding the sensory-motor system through close interaction with artificial systems & how the brain executes motor behaviors.

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