Maria Linn-Evans

Ph.D. 2021

PhD Thesis:

Factors contributing to rigidity expression and response to pallidal deep brain stimulation in people with Parkinson's disease,

Current Position:

Labeling Program Lead, Medtronic Corp.

Former Position(s):

Technical Writer, Medtronic Corp.

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Vanderbilt University, B.E. in Biomedical Engineering 2016

Graduate Advisor:

Colum MacKinnon, Ph.D., Department of Neurology

Description of Graduate Research:

Rigidity, defined as an increased resistance to passively imposed movements, is a cardinal motor symptom of Parkinson's disease. Voluntary movements performed by an untested limb can enhance rigidity, but the mechanisms underlying this effect are unknown. My research investigates the neural mechanisms associated with rigidity enhancement in Parkinson's disease using human neurophysiology techniques including electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to measure oscillatory activity and motor pathway excitability.

Graduate Publications:

  • Patriat R, Pisharady PK, Amundsen-Huffmaster S, Linn-Evans M, Howell M, Chung JW, Petrucci MN, Videnovic A, Holker E, De Kam J, Tuite P, Lenglet C, Harel N, MacKinnon CD. White matter microstructure in Parkinson's disease with and without elevated rapid eye movement sleep muscle tone. Brain Commun. 2022 Feb 9;4(2):fcac027.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Graduate Abstracts

Oral Presentations:

  • Mechanisms of rigidity enhancement in Parkinson’s disease. Graduate Program in Neuroscience Colloquium, May 22nd, 2019,


  • Linn-Evans ME, Petrucci MN, Amundsen Huffmaster S, Patriat R, Schrock LE, Tuite PJ, Noecker AM, McIntyre CC, Cooper SE, Harel N, MacKinnon CD. Deep brain stimulation near the globus pallidus internus-externus border decreases rigidity in Parkinson’s disease. 21st Annual NINDS Udall Centers Meeting, Rockville, MD, October 7-8, 2019.
  • Linn-Evans ME, Petrucci MN, Amundsen Huffmaster S, Patriat R, Schrock LE, Tuite PJ, Noecker AM, McIntyre CC, Cooper SE, Harel N, MacKinnon CD. Deep brain stimulation in dorsal globus pallidus increases rigidity severity in Parkinson’s disease. 7th Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium, Minneapolis, MN, April 18-19, 2019.
  • Linn-Evans ME, Petrucci MN, Amundsen Huffmaster SL, Tuite PJ, Howell MJ, MacKinnon CD. Abnormal muscle tone during REM sleep is associated with increased rigidity in people with early Parkinson’s disease. 48th Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2018.

Graduate Awards And Honors:

  • Yale Ciencia Academy Fellowship (2019)
  • NSF Graduate Training Program in Sensory Science Fellowship, 2017-2019

Graduate Program in Neuroscience Committees:

  • Recruitment and Marketing 2018-2021
  • Mentorship  2017-2019
  • COGS Representative, 2017-2018

Medical School Committees:

  • Graduate School Advisory Board, GPN Representative

Professional Service:

  • Science Outreach Liaison at Abiitan Mill City Retirement Community, July 2018 - present
  • Market Science Volunteer, March 2018 - present
  • Minnesota State Fair Brain Booth Volunteer, August 2017 - present
  • State Science Bowl Volunteer, January 2017
  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, October 2016 - present

Professional Societies:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society (MDS)
  • Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

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

Research Categories:

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


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

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