The newest member of the CMU neuroscience faculty, Ksenia Ustinova, an assistant professor of physical therapy, researches how patients with neurodegenerative diseases perform and learn different motor tasks. She is working to better understand the mechanisms underlying motor control and the way in which the central nervous system compensates for deficits in motor coordination, balance, and gait among patients with these diseases.
Driving Ustinova’s research is an interest in development and clinical testing of new rehabilitation techniques in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Her research results enable her to suggest therapeutic approaches, such as virtual reality and robotic therapy, which can help to prevent a rapid degeneration of movement abilities in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and Spinocerebellar ataxia. The therapies also can increase mobility without loss of body stability that increases the risk of falling.