Dr. Kurt Thoroughman is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also the creator of an innovative online learning environment called Engineering Virtual Studio. Kurt received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brandeis University before joining the faculty at Washington University. Kurt is here with us today to tell us about his journey through life and science.
Kurt’s laboratory studies the computational basis of human motor performance. Characterizing motor learning processes in healthy human adults will identify the specific signals used to plan movements and build motor predictions, which will in turn predict the neuronal activities required for motor learning. Comparing these predictions to physiological recordings from non-human primates will indicate the brain areas that likely underlie these computations. Understanding normal motor behavior and its neural basis will make possible the measurement of these processes in disease, further the development of insightful clinical tests in movement neurology, facilitate the early detection of symptoms, and make possible treatments of motor diseases at the earliest and least problematic stages.
In addition to his learning and motor control research, Kurt is dedicated to improving education in engineering. He is the inventor of the first online learning environment to support engineering students throughout the major, rather than only in individual classes. This initiative incorporates critical concerns and interests of students and will help them develop real-world and personal connections.