Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology

E-MAIL: [email protected]

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.)

  • Petrucci MN, Amundsen Huffmaster S, Chung JW, Hsiao-Wecksler ET, MacKinnon CD. Can people with Parkinson's disease self-trigger gait initiation? A comparison of cueing strategies. J Parkinsons Dis. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.3233/JPD-212732.
  • Alusi SH, Macerollo A, MacKinnon CD, Rothwell JC, Bain PG. Tremor and dysmetria in multiple sclerosis: A neurophysiological study. Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov (N Y). 2021 Jul 26;11:30.
  • Louie KH, Petrucci MN, Grado LL, Lu C, Tuite PJ, Lamperski AG, MacKinnon CD, Cooper SE, Netoff TI. Semi-automated approaches to optimize deep brain stimulation parameters in Parkinson's disease. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2021 May 21;18(1):83.
  • Amundsen-Huffmaster SL, Petrucci MN, Linn-Evans ME, Chung JW, Howell MJ, Videnovic A, Tuite PJ, Cooper SE, MacKinnon CD. REM sleep without atonia and gait impairment in people with mild to moderate Parkinson's Disease. J Parkinsons Dis.2021;11(2):767-778.
  • Summers RLS, Rafferty MR, Howell MJ, MacKinnon CD. Motor dysfunction in REM sleep behavior disorder: A rehabilitation framework for prodromal synucleinopathy. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2021 Jul;35(7):611-621.
  • Linn-Evans ME, Petrucci MN, Amundsen Huffmaster SL, Chung JW, Tuite PJ, Howell MJ, Videnovic A, MacKinnon CD. REM sleep without atonia is associated with increased rigidity in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease. Clin Neurophysiol. 2020;131(8):2008-2016.
  • 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 Posture. 2019;72:188-194.
  • Gröhn H, Gillick BT, Tkáč I, Bednařík P, Mascali D, Deelchand DK, Michaeli S, Meekins GD, Leffler-McCabe MJ, MacKinnon CD, Eberly LE, Mangia S. Influence of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on human neurochemistry and functional connectivity: A pilot MRI/MRS study at 7 T. Front Neurosci. 2019 Nov 27;13:1260.
  • 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 Oct 3. doi: 10.3233/JPD-191649.
  • 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.

Current Graduate Students:

Emily Lecy  (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)

Maria Linn-Evans  (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)




Colum MacKinnon