Ellis, Michael D., PT, DPT



Ellis, Michael D., PT, DPT


Assistant Professor



Office Phone


Office Fax



Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences


645 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1100 Chicago, IL 60611


Laboratory Website: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/sites/pthms/research/faculty-research/robotic-interventions.html

Feinberg Faculty Profile: http://fsmweb.northwestern.edu/faculty/FacultyProfile.cfm?xid=16894

Areas of Research

Electrophysiology, Motor Control, Movement & Rehabilitation

Training Grants

Training in the Neurobiology of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences

NU Scholar Profile


Recent Publications on PubMed


Current Research

Current Research

My current translational research efforts involve the administration of a double-blinded randomized controlled trial studying two different robotic strength training programs in adults with chronic stroke. I am the PI/Program Director of this NIDRR-funded trial. My current basic research efforts employ several innovative methods, including rehabilitation robotics, for quantifying multi-joint upper extremity movement control during both postural and movement tasks in an effort to elucidate neural mechanisms underlying impaired movement and subsequent restoration of normal movement in individuals with stroke. All of my work is in collaboration with Julius P.A. Dewald, PT, PhD and is further augmented by collaborations with colleagues with expertise in neural imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I also specialize in the training of Physical and Occupational Therapists in the administration of impairment, activity, and participation limitation assessments for individuals with stroke and the subsequent processes necessary for standardized delivery of assessments in clinical trials. Through my clinical research efforts I hope to contribute to the evolution of rehabilitation medicine and science by advancing neurological rehabilitation principles and techniques. The key component most likely to impact rehabilitation in this magnitude is the elucidation of the neurological underpinnings responsible for movement discoordination and through the subsequent development of more effective rehabilitation therapies for individuals with functionally debilitating movement impairments.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

1 Ellis, M., Sukal, T., DeMott, T., & Dewald, J. Augmenting clinical evaluation of hemiparetic arm movement with a laboratory-based quantitative measurement of kinematics as a function of limb loading. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2008 Jul;22(4):321-329. PMCID: PMC2826208.

2. McPherson, J., Ellis, M., Heckman, C., & Dewald, J. Evidence for persistent inward currents and hyperexcitability in spinal motoneurons of individuals with chronic hemiparetic stroke. J Neurophys. 2008 Dec;100(6):3236-43. PMCID: PMC2604864.

3. Ellis, M., Sukal-Moulton, T., & Dewald, J. Impairment-Based 3-D Robotic Intervention Improves Upper Extremity Work Area in Chronic Stroke: Targeting Abnormal Joint Torque Coupling With Progressive Shoulder Abduction Loading. IEEE Trans Robotics. 2009 Jun;25(3):549-555. PMCID: PMC2908491.

4. Ellis, M., Sukal-Moulton, T., & Dewald, J. Progressive Abduction Loading is a Crucial Element of Arm Rehabilitation in Chronic Stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009 Oct;23(8):862-869. PMCID: PMC2833097.

5. Krainak, D., Ellis, M., Bury, K., Churchill, S., Gandhi, M., Pavlovic, E., Pearson, L., & Dewald, J. The Effects of Body Orientation of Maximum Voluntary Arm Torques. Muscle Nerve. 2011 Nov;44(5):805-13. PMCID: PMC3650842.

6. Ellis, M., Drogos, J., Carmona, C., Keller, T., & Dewald. Neck rotation modulates flexion synergy torques indicating an ipsilateral reticulospinal source for impairment in stroke. J Neurophysiol. 2012 Dec;108(11):3096-3104. PMCID: PMC3544866.