Carolee J. Winstein

Professor, Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy

Carolee J. Winstein

Research Topics

  • Movement Science
  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Learning & Memory
  • Clinical Trials
  • Motor Systems
  • Repair and Recovery

Research Images

Northstar EVEREST Direct Cortical Stimulation Trial. Localization of anatomical activity for targeted subthreshold cortical stimulation in one patient with chronic stroke. Maximum activation in the stroke-affected hemisphere during four-finger movement task of the paretic limb. For patients randomized to neurosurgery, an investigational epidural electrode is centered over the fMRI-identified region of interest.
Neruorehabilitation and Neural Repair: Brain behavior correlates in Stroke Rehabilitation. Evolution of motor cortical activation, changes in the laterality index (LI) of primary motor cortex (M1) and mean Wolf Motor Function Test (mWMFT) across time in two patients, (A) and (B, see next research image). (A) Activation in the M1 became focused across time resulting from bilateral reduction in activation, but more so in contralesional (53 to 30 to 12 voxels) than in ipsilesional M1 (134 to 100 to 76 voxels). Consequently, there was a continuous increase in LI (from 0.43 to 0.53 to 0.73) associated with a substantial behavioral gain.Neruorehabilitation and Neural Repair: Brain behavior correlates in Stroke Rehabilitation. Evolution of motor cortical activation, changes in the laterality index (LI) of primary motor cortex (M1) and mean Wolf Motor Function Test (mWMFT) across time in two patients, (A, see previous research image) and (B). (B) Patient 1 showed a significant decrease in LI of M1 from pre- (0.25) to mid- (0.6) intervention resulting from a reduction in ipsilesional M1 activation (from 72 to 55 voxels). The shift of LI toward the opposite direction midway through therapy correlated with minimal behavioral gain. For more information see Dong, et al, 2006.Virtual Reality and Stroke Recovery Research Team members including faculty and students (left to right): Hyunjin Yoon (Annenberg student), Younbo Jung (Annenberg and IMS student), Shih-Ching Yeh (IMS student), Albert 'Skip' Rizzo (Institute for Creative Technologies), Prof Margaret McLaughlin (Annenberg School for Communications and Integrated Media Systems Center, Prof Carolee Winstein (Biokinesiology and Dept of Neurology), and Jill Stewart (Biokinesiology student).

Research Overview

Carolee J. Winstein, PhD, PT, FAPTA is professor of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and directs the Motor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neurology, USC Keck School of Medicine. She has been an active member of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program at USC since 1998. Winstein directs an interdisciplinary research program focused on understanding rehabilitation outcomes at the systems/person level and promoting optimal recovery of goal-directed movement behaviors that emerge from a dynamic brain-behavior system in brain-damaged conditions. Her research program has been funded variously through NIH, NIDRR (now NIDILRR) and the Foundation for Physical Therapy consistently over the past 25 years. She serves as a member of the NIH Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation study section, serves on the editorial board of the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair and currently serves as president for the American Society of Neurorehabilitation. She has over 30 years of multidisciplinary collaborative research experience with a focus on neurorehabilitation, rehabilitation engineering and clinical trials; Winstein has (co)-authored more than 120 research papers including chapters, proceedings and commentaries with an overall h-index of 51, an indication of the impact of her research on the neurorehabilitation community.

Contact Information

Mailing Address 1540 Alcazar St. Street
Los Angeles 90089-9006
Office Location CHP 147D
Office Phone (323) 442-2903
Lab Location CHP G30A
Lab Phone (323) 442-1196
Fax (323) 442-1515
Office Location CHP 147D



  • Waisman Ctr., Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Neuroscience, 1989
  • Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA, Ph.D., Kinesiology, 1988
  • Univ. of Southern Calif., Los Angeles, CA, M.S., Physical Therapy, 1984
  • Univ. of California, San Francisco, CA, B.S./Certif. in Phys. Ther Physical Therapy, 1973
  • Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA, B.A., Kinesiology & Psychology, 1972

Selected Publications

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  • Edwardson M, Wang X, Liu B, Ding L, Lane CJ, Park C, Nelsen MA, Jones TA, Wolf SL, Winstein CJ, Dromerick AW. (2017). Stroke lesions in a large upper limb rehabilitation trial cohort rarely match lesions in common preclinical models. Neurorehabilitation Neural Repair. ePub Jan1, 2017, DOI: Link
  • Kim B, Winstein C. (2017). Can neurological biomarkers of brain impairment be used to predict poststroke motor recovery? A systematic review. Neurorehabil Neural Repair, Jan;31 (1):3-24. Review. PMID: 27503908 PubMed
  • Valero-Cuevas FJ, Klamroth-Marganska V, Winstein CJ, Riener R. (2016) Robot-assisted and conventional therapies produce distinct rehabilitation trends in stroke survivors. J Neuroeng Rehabil. Oct 11;13(1):92 PMID:27724916
  • Winstein CJ, Wolf SL, Dromerick AW et al., Interdisciplinary Comprehensive Arm Rehabilitation Evaluation (ICARE) Investigative Team (2016) Effect of a task-oriented rehabilitation program on upper extremity recovery following motor stroke: The ICARE randomized clinical Trial. JAMA, Feb 9; 315(6):571-81. Doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.0276. PMID: 26864411
  • Winstein CJ, Stein J, Arena R, Bates B, Cherney LR, Cramer SC, Deruyter F, Eng JJ, Fisher B, Harvey RL, Lang CE, MacKay-Lyons M, Ottenbacher KJ, Pugh S, Reeves MJ, Richards LG, Stiers W, Zorowitz RD (2016); on behalf of the American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research. Guidelines for adult stroke rehabilitation and recovery: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke 2016;47(6):e98-e169. Doi: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000098.
  • Winstein C, Lewthwaite R, Blanton SR, Wolf LB, Wishart L. (2014) Infusing motor learning research into neurorehabilitation practice: a historical perspective with case exemplar from the accelerated skill acquisition program. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2014 Jul;38(3):190-200. doi: 10.1097/NPT.000000000000004
  • Chen Y-A, Chung Y-C, Wade E, Proffitt R, & Winstein CJ. (2015). Attentional demand of a virtual reality-based reaching task in nondisabled older adults. J Motor Learn Dev, 3:91-109.
  • Kantak SS, Sullivan KJ, Fisher BE, Knowlton BJ & Winstein CJ (2010) Neural substrates of motor memory consolidation depend on practice structure. Nature Neuroscience, 13(8):923-5. Note: PMCID is not applicable.
  • Garrison KA, Aziz-Zadeh L, Wong SW, Liew SL & Winstein CJ (2013) Modulating the motor system by action observation after stroke. Stroke, 44(8):2247-53. PMCID: PMC3753677 PubMed
  • Winstein CJ, Requejo PS, Zelinski EM, Mulroy SJ & Crimmins EM  (2012) A transformative subfield in rehabilitation science at the nexus of new technologies, aging, and disability. Front Psychol, 3:340. PMCID: PMC3448347