Jerome Sanes Professor of Neuroscience, Director of MRI Facility

My interest in understanding brain mechanisms of voluntary movement and motor learning began during graduate studies at the University of Rochester and continued during post-doctoral studies at the National Institute of Mental Health, working with Edward Evarts. I joined the Neuroscience enterprise at Brown in 1989, where I currently serve as Professor of Neuroscience and Director of MRI Research for Brown University. From 1997-2000, I directed the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory at Foundation Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy. I have served on numerous panels that have reviewed grant proposals, including the NIH, Wellcome Trust, Human Frontiers Program and the Italian Space Agency. I have or currently serve on the editorial boards of major neuroscience journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, Neuroscience, NeuroImage and Experimental Brain Research. I have published 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals and other fora.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Bédard P. and J. N. Sanes (2011) Basal ganglia-dependent processes in short-term recall of visual-motor skills. Experimental Brain Research, 209:385-393.

Bédard P., M. Wu, and J. N. Sanes (2011) Brain activation related to combinations of gaze position, visual input and goal-directed hand movements. Cerebral Cortex, 21:1273-1282.

Bédard, P. and J. N. Sanes (2009) Gaze and hand position effects on finger-movement related human brain activation. Journal of Neurophysiology, 101: 834-842.

Bédard P. and J. N. Sanes (2009) On a basal ganglia role in learning and rehearsing visual-motor associations, NeuroImage, 47: 1701-1710.

Thaut, M, M. Demartin, and J. N. Sanes (2008) Brain networks for integrative rhythm formation. PLoS ONE, 3: e2312.

Philip B. A., Y. Wu, J. P. Donoghue, J. N. Sanes (2008) Computational predictions of performance differences in visually- and internally-guided continuous manual tracking movements. Experimental Brain Research 190:475-491.

Bédard, P., A. Thangavel, and J. N. Sanes (2008) Gaze influences finger movement-related and visual-related activation across the human brain. Experimental Brain Research, 188:63-75.

Kim J. A., J. C. Eliassen, and J. N. Sanes (2005) Movement quantity and frequency coding in human motor areas. Journal of Neurophysiology 94:2504-2511.

Eliassen, J. C., T. Souza and J. N. Sanes (2003) Experience-dependent activation patterns in human brain during visual-motor associative learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 23:10540-10547.

Fiecas M., H. Ombao, C. Linkletter, W. Thompson, and J. N. Sanes (2010) Functional connectivity: shrinkage estimation and randomization test. NeuroImage 49:3005–3014.

research overview

I study brain mechanisms underlying motor control, motor learning and action intention. Several brain regions, including the frontal and parietal lobes, the basal ganglia, and the cerebellum, have involvement in voluntary movements, and these areas become engaged when humans learn and then consolidate new motor skills and prepare and shift intentions. Currently, we study these problems with magnetic resonance imaging and surface brain electrical recording technology that assesses focal changes in blood flow and brain currents, respectively, and by assessing movement patterns while humans perform various movement tasks.

research statement

Research Themes
  • Brain organization of voluntary movement
  • Eye-Hand Interactions
  • Motor Learning
  • Action Intention

    Research Methods
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Electroencephalography
  • Psychophysics

funded research

Current Funding
"COBRE Center for Central Nervous System Function", National Institutes of Health ($11 million total costs, Role: PI)
"Center for Neurorestoration and Neurorehabilitation", US Veterans Administration ($3.8 million direct costs, Role: Co-I)

Highlights of Past Funding (as Principal Investigator)
"Motor Intention", National Science Foundation, ($505,000 direct costs)
"Purchase of a 3T MRI system", National Science Foundation, ($2,000,000 direct costs)
"MRI System and Facility", US Department of Energy, ($962,000 direct costs)
"Visual Motor Integration", National Institutes of Health ($750,000 direct costs).
"Cognition and Action", National Institutes of Health (~$700,000)
"MEG Brain Computer Interface", DARPA (~$400,000)
"Neural Control of Human Voluntary Movements", National Institutes of Health, ($1,800,000 direct costs)