Maria Linn-Evans

Entering Class - 2016


Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Vanderbilt University, B.E. in Biomedical Engineering

Graduate Advisor:

Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., Department of Neurology

Thesis Committee Members:

Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology (Chair)
Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., Department of Neurology
Matthew Johnson, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Engineering 
Bernadette Gillick, Ph.D., Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

Description of Graduate Research:

In people with Parkinson’s disease, contralateral movement results in striking increases in muscle tone and joint stiffness (rigidity) on the ipsilateral side and, as a result, bimanual movements are often difficult. This increased rigidity is likely caused by abnormal sensory and motor interactions between sides. My graduate research is focused on identifying the mechanisms by which contralateral movement interferes with ipsilateral sensory perception and movement, which could lead to therapeutic advancements for individuals with Parkinson's disease.

Research Categories:

  • Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Motor Control, Muscle Function, and Disease
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases and Neural Injury

Graduate Level Awards And Honors:

  • NSF Graduate Training Program in Sensory Science Fellowship, 2017


Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., Department of Neurology 
Kelvin Lim, MD, Department of Psychiatry 
Teresa Kimberley, Ph.D., PT, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine 

GPN Committees:

  • COGS Representative, 2017-2018

Professional Outreach:

  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, Sunnyside Elementary, New Brighton, MN, Oct. 28 2016
  • State Science Bowl Volunteer, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, Jan. 21 2017
  • State Fair Brain Booth Volunteer, MN State Fair, St. Paul, MN, Aug. 26 2017

Why Did You Choose the University of Minnesota?

When I first read about the summer course at Itasca, it sounded like my dream summer camp - a whole month of Neuroscience while spending time in the great outdoors! Beyond Itasca, I knew the University of Minnesota would provide many opportunities to me as a graduate student. There are so many faculty members in our graduate program and an outstanding number of resources available to us. The Twin Cities is also a hub of biomedical companies and hospitals, which provides many exciting collaborations between the University and industry partners.

Student Mentor and the Best Advice They Gave:

Michelle Corkrum: She reminded me that even as a graduate student, I should be having fun. This has helped me keep everything in perspective and enjoy the small successes.

Favorite Itasca Memory:

My favorite memory from Itasca was sitting on the front porch of the cabin with my cohort, getting to know each other and laughing until our faces hurt.

Maria Linn