Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology


Research Interests:

The general focus of work in our laboratory is on examining how the brain controls the preparation, initiation and execution of movement in people with neurological disorders that affect movement (e.g. Parkinson’s disease (PD), ataxia and dystonia).  The laboratory uses a variety of non-invasive neurophysiological techniques (high-resolution EEG, TMS, tDCS, startle) to probe the cortical, subcortical and spinal mechanisms contributing to movement impairment.  These methods are combined with measures of movement kinematics and kinetics and multi-channel electromyography (EMG) that provide objective quantitative assessment of movement performance.  In collaboration with colleagues at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), we are also using brain imaging methods (magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography) to examine the neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of movement disorders.  The present focus of research is examining the mechanisms contributing to the two of the cardinal motor symptoms of basal ganglia dysfunction:  akinesia (poverty of spontaneous voluntary movement) and bradykinesia (slowing of movement).  The laboratory is currently examining the relationship between freezing of gait and sleep disorders in people with Parkinson’s disease, the mechanisms by which external cues facilitate gait initiation in PD (funded by the NIH), and the mechanisms of impaired control of repetitive movements in PD.  The goal of the program is to translate this knowledge to the development, testing and implementation of novel therapies and interventions for people with disordered movement.

Lab Website:

Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Amundsen Huffmaster SL, Lu C, Tuite PJ, MacKinnon CD. The transition from standing to walking is affected in people with Parkinson’s disease and freezing of gait.  J Parkinson’s Dis.  2019;In Press.
  • Petrucci MN, MacKinnon CD, Hsiao-Wecksler ET. Modulation of anticipatory postural adjustments using a powered ankle orthosis in people with Parkinson’s disease and freezing of gait.  Gait  Post. 2019;72:188-194. 
  • Lu C, Twedell E, Elbasher R, McCabe M, MacKinnon CD, Cooper SE. Avoiding virtual obstacles during treadmill gait in Parkinson's disease.  Front Aging Neurosci.  2019;11:76.
  • Petrucci MN, DiBerardino LA, MacKinnon CD, Hsiao-Wecksler ET. A neuromechanical model of reduced dorsiflexor torque during the anticipatory postural adjustments of gait initiation.  IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehab Eng.  2018;26(11):2210-2216.
  • Lu C, Amundsen Huffmaster SL, Tuite PJ, MacKinnon CD. The effects of anodal tDCS over the supplementary motor area on gait initiation in Parkinson’s disease with freezing of gait. J Neurol. 2018;265:2023-2032.
  • Lu C, Amundsen Huffmaster SL, Harvey JC, MacKinnon CD. Anticipatory postural adjustment patterns during gait initiation across the adult lifespan. Gait Posture. 2017;57:182-187.
  • Lu C, Amundsen Huffmaster SL, Tuite PJ, Vachon JM, MacKinnon CD. Effect of cue timing and modality on gait initiation in Parkinson disease with freezing of gait. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2017;98:1291-1299.
  • Stegemöller EL, Allen DP, Simuni T, MacKinnon CD. Altered premotor cortical oscillations during repetitive movement in persons with Parkinson's disease. Behav Brain Res. 2017;317:141-146.
  • Stegemöller E, Zaman A, MacKinnon CD, Tillman MD, Hass CJ, Okun MS. Laterality of repetitive finger movement performance and clinical features of Parkinson's disease. Hum Mov Sci. 2016;49:116-23.
  • Alibiglou L, Videnovic A, Planetta PJ, Vaillancourt DE, MacKinnon CD. Subliminal gait initiation deficits in rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder: A harbinger of freezing of gait? Mov Disord. 2016;31:1711-1719.
  • Wright ZA, Carlsen AN, MacKinnon CD, Patton JL. Degraded expression of learned feedforward control in movements released by startle. Exp Brain Res. 2015;233:2291-300.
  • Stegemöller EL, Allen DP, Simuni T, MacKinnon CD. Motor cortical oscillations are abnormally suppressed during repetitive movement in patients with Parkinson's disease. Clin Neurophysiol. 2016;127:664-674.
  • Carlsen AN, Eagles JS, MacKinnon CD. Transcranial direct current stimulation over the supplementary motor area modulates the preparatory activation level in the human motor system. Behav Brain Res. 2015;279:68-75
  • Kurani AS, Seidler RD, Burciu RG, Comella CL, Corcos DM, Okun MS, MacKinnon CD, Vaillancourt DE. Subthalamic nucleus--sensorimotor cortex functional connectivity in de novo and moderate Parkinson's disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2015;36:462-9.
  • Eagles JS, Carlsen AN, MacKinnon CD. Neural processes mediating the preparation and release of focal motor output are suppressed or absent during imagined movement. Exp Brain Res. 2015;233:1625-1637.
  • Creath RA, Prettyman M, Shulman L, Hilliard M, Martinez K, MacKinnon CD, Mille M-L, Simuni T, Zhang J, Rogers MW. Self-triggered assistive stimulus training improves step initiation in persons with Parkinson's disease. J NeuroEng Rehab. 2013;10:11
  • Videnovic A, Marlin C, Alibiglou L, Planetta PJ, Vaillancourt DE, Mackinnon CD. Increased REM sleep without atonia in Parkinson disease with freezing of gait. Neurology. 2013;81(12):1030-5.
  • MacKinnon CD, Allen DP, Shiratori T, Rogers MW. Early and unintentional release of planned motor actions during motor cortical preparation. PLoS One. 2013 May 7;8(5):e63417.
  • Bajema MC, MacKinnon CD, Carter MJ, Kennefick M, Perlmutter S, Carlsen AN. Pause time alters the preparation of two-component movements. Exp Brain Res. 2013;231(1):85-96.
  • Videnovic A, Marlin C, Alibiglou L, Planetta PJ, Vaillancourt DE, MacKinnon CD. Increased REM sleep without atonia in Parkinson's disease patients with freezing of gait. Neurology. 2013;81:1030-1035.
  • Stegemöller EL, Zadikoff C, Allen DP, MacKinnon CD. Subthalamic deep brain stimulation improves movement amplitude but not hastening of repetitive finger movements. Neurosci Lett. 2013;552:135-9.
  • MacKinnon CD. The external globus pallidus: much more than an inhibitory relay of the indirect pathway. Mov Disord. 2012;27(10):1219.
  • Alibiglou L, MacKinnon CD. The early release of planned movement by acoustic startle can be delayed by transcranial magnetic stimulation over the motor cortex. J Physiol. 2012;590:919-936.
  • Mille ML, Creath R, Prettyman M, Johnson-Hilliard M, Martinez K, MacKinnon C, Rogers MW. Posture and locomotion coupling: A target for rehabilitation interventions in persons with Parkinson's disease. Parkinsons Dis. 2012;2012:754186.

Current Graduate Students:

Maria Linn-Evans  (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)




Colum MacKinnon