Lena Ting, PhD


Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine


Emory University & Georgia Institute of Technology Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

Principal Investigator

Neuromechanics Laboratory


  • BS, University of California, Berkeley, 1990
  • MSE, Stanford University, 1993
  • PhD, Stanford University, 1998


My research has always been informed by my the basic science gaps that limit our ability to advance rehabilitation, informed by interactions with clinical researchers in physical therapy, Specifically, my work focuses on neuromechanics, the study of the interactions between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system that lead to coordinated movements.

Drawing on ideas in neuroscience, biomechanics, robotics, rehabilitation, and physiology, my lab has established new conceptual frameworks and various analysis methods to understand complex muscle coordination of gait and balance and their relationship to biomechanical functions and neural mechanisms of sensorimotor control.

We are now applying these ideas to understanding basic questions about the nature of motor deficits and the mechanisms of rehabilitation in people with lower limb amputation, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and other disorders that affect gait and balance.


  • University of California Berkley Miller Visiting Research Professorship, 2008
  • Biomedical Engineering Society, Georgia Institute of Technology Chapter Above and Beyond Award, 2007
  • American Physiological Society Arthur C. Guyton Award for Excellence in Integrative Physiology, 2007
  • Georgia Institute of Technology Junior Faculty Teaching Award, 2006
  • Georgia Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering Student Advisory Board Teaching Excellence Award, 2004
  • World Congress of Biomechanics Journal of Biomechanics Award finalist, 2002
  • NIH F32 National Research Service Award, 1999
  • Life Science Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1999-2002
  • French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chateaubriand Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1997-98
  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 1991-94
  • University of California, Berkeley President's Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 1990
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Induction, 1989
  • Associated Western Universities Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 1988
  • Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society Induction, 1988
  • University of California, Berkeley Honorary Chancellor's Scholarship, 1986-90
  • University of California, Berkeley Drake Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering, 1986-90

Society Memberships

  • American Physiological Society
  • American Society of Biomechanics
  • International Society for Posture and Gait Research
  • International Society of Motor Control  
  • Neural Control of Movement Society
  • Society for Neuroscience


Dr. Ting's research leads the emerging field of neuromechanics and seeks to understand how the brain and body interact to produce normal and impaired movement. Her research integrates neuroscience, biomechanics, robotics, rehabilitation, and physiology. Her work reveals general principles for biological movement with direct applications for enhancing rehabilitation and robotics. 


  • Ting, L.H.* (2007) Dimensional reduction in sensorimotor systems: a framework for understanding muscle coordination of posture. In Computational Neuroscience: Theoretical Insights into Brain Function, Cisek, P., Drew, T. & Kalaska, J.F. (eds), Progress In Brain Research, 165:301-325, Amsterdam: Elsevier. PDF
  • Ting, L.H.*, McKay, J.L. (2008) Neuromechanics of muscle synergies for posture and movement. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 17(6):622-628. PDF
  • Ting, L.H.*, van Antwerp, K.V., Scrivens, J.E., McKay, J.L., Welch, T.D., Bingham, J.T., Deweerth, S.P. (2009) Neuromechanical tuning of nonlinear postural control dynamics. Chaos, 19(2):026111. PDF
  • Chiel, H.J., Ting, L.H., Ekeberg, O., Hartmann, M.J.Z. (2009) The Brain in Its Body: Motor Control and Sensing in a Biomechanical Context. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(41):12807-12814. PDF
  • Safavynia, S.A., Torres-Oviedo, G., Ting L.H.* (2011) Muscle synergies: implications for clinical evaluation and rehabilitation of movement. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 17(1):16-24. PDF
  • Ting, L.H.*, Chvatal, S.A., Safavynia, S.A., McKay, J.L. (2012) Neuromechanical considerations for predicting muscle activation patterns for movement. International Journal of Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering, 28:1003-1014. PDF
  • Sawers, A., Ting, L.H.* (in press) Perspectives on human-human sensorimotor interactions for the design of rehabilitation robots. Journal of Neural Engineering and Rehabilitation. PDF
  • Sawers, A., Ting, L.H.* (2015) Beam walking can detect differences in walking balance proficiency across a range of sensorimotor abilities. Gait and Posture, 41(2):619-23.
  • Ting, L.H.*, Chiel, H.J., Trumbower, R.D., Allen, J.L., McKay, J.L., Hackney, M.E., Kesar, T.M. (2015) Neuromechanical principles underlying movement modularity and their implications for rehabilitation. Neuron, 86(1):38-54.
  • Chen, T.L., Bhattacharjee, T., McKay, J.L., Borinski, J.E., Hackney, M.E., Ting, L.H.*, Kemp, C.C. (2015) Evaluation by Expert Dancers of a Robot That Performs Partnered Stepping via Haptic Interaction. PLoS One, 10(5).
  • Simpson, C.S., Sohn, M.H., Allen, J.L., Ting, L.H.* (2015) Feasible muscle activation ranges based on inverse dynamics analyses of human walking. Journal of Biomechanics, 48(12):2990-7.
  • Sawers, A., Allen, J.L., Ting, L.H.* (2015) Long-term training modifies the modular structure and organization of walking balance control. Journal of Neurophysiology.


  • Ting, L.H.*, Chvatal, S.A. (2011) “Decomposing muscle activity in motor tasks: methods and interpretation”. In Motor Control: Theories, Experiments, and Applications, Danion, F., Latash, M.L. (eds), Oxford University Press, New York. PDF or MATLAB Tutorial
  • Allen, J.L., Ting, L.H.* (2014) “Why is neuromechanical modeling of posture and locomotion so hard?”. In Neuromechanical Modeling of Posture and Locomotion, Prilutsky, B.I., Edwards, D.H. (eds), Springer, Berlin. PDF
  • Ting, L.H.*, Allen, J.L. (in press) “Neuromechanics of Postural Control”. In Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience, Jaeger, D., Jung, R. (eds), Springer, Berlin.
Refereed Manuscripts
  • Full, R.J., Blickhan, R., Ting, L.H. (1991) Leg design and function in hexapedal runners. Journal of Experimental Biology 158: 369-390. PDF
  • Blickhan, R., Full, R.J., and Ting, L. (1993) Exoskeletal strain: evidence for trot-gallop transition in rapidly moving ghost crabs. Journal of Experimental Biology179: 301-321. PDF
  • Ting, L.H., Full, R.J., and Blickhan, R. (1994) Dynamic and static stability in hexapedal runners. Journal of Experimental Biology 197:251-2269. PDF
  • Ting, L.H., Raasch, C.C., Brown, D.A., Kautz, S.A., and Zajac, F.E. (1998) Sensorimotor state of the contralateral leg affects ipsilateral muscle coordination of pedaling. Journal of Neurophysiology 80(3): 1341-1351. PDF
  • Ting, L.H., Kautz, S.A., Brown, D.A., and Zajac, F.E., (1999) Bilateral integration of sensorimotor signaling during pedaling. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 860:513-516.
  • Ting, L.H., Kautz, S.A., Brown, D.A. and Zajac, F.E. (1999) Phase reversal of biomechanical function pairs and muscle activity in backward pedaling. Journal of Neurophysiology 81 (2): 544-551. PDF
  • Ting, L.H., Kautz, S.A., Brown, D.A., and Zajac, F.E. (2000) Influence of bilateral sensorimotor state on flexion-phase coordination of human locomotion. Journal of Neurophysiology 83: 3351:3365. PDF
  • Brizzi, L., Ting, L.H., Kouchtir-Devanne, N., Jami, L. and Zytnicki, D. (2002) Positive proprioceptive feedback elicited by isometric ankle flexor contractions on pretibial motoneurons in anesthetized cats. Journal of Neurophysiology 88:2207-2214. PDF
  • Stapley, P.J., Ting, L.H., Hulliger, M., Macpherson, J.M. (2002) Automatic postural responses to support surface translation are delayed by pyridoxine-induced proprioceptive loss. Journal of Neuroscience 22(14):5803-5807. PDF
  • Ting L.H.*, Macpherson J.M. (2004) Ratio of shear to load ground reaction force may underlie the directional tuning of the automatic postural response to rotation and translation. Journal of Neurophysiology 92:808-823. PDF
  • Ting L.H.*, Macpherson J.M. (2005) A limited set of muscle synergies for force control during a postural task. Journal of Neurophysiology 93:609-613. PDF
  • Stapley, P.J., Ting, L.H., Kuifu, C., Everaert, D.G., Macpherson, J.M. (2006) Bilateral vestibular loss leads to active destabilization of balance during voluntary head turns in the standing cat. Journal of Neurophysiology 95:3783-3797. PDF
  • Torres-Oviedo, G., Macpherson J.M. Ting L.H.* (2006) Muscle synergy organization is robust across a variety of postural perturbations. Journal of Neurophysiology 96:1530-1546. PDF
  • McKay, J.L., Burkholder, T.J., Ting, L.H.* (2007) Biomechanical capabilities influence postural control strategies in the cat hindlimb. Journal of Biomechanics, 40(10):2254-2260. PDF
  • Macpherson, J.M, Everaert, D.G., Stapley, P.J., Ting, L.H (2007) Bilateral vestibular loss in cats leads to active destabilization of balance during pitch rotation of the support surface. Journal of Neurophysiology 97:4357-4367. PDF
  • Bunderson, N.E., Ting, L.H., Burkholder, T.J. (2007) Asymmetric interjoint feedback contributes to postural control of redundant multi-link systems.Journal of Neural Engineering 4:234-245. PDF
  • van Antwerp, K.V, Burkholder, T.J., Ting, L.H.* (2007) Interjoint coupling effects on muscle contributions to endpoint force and acceleration in a musculoskeletal model of the cat hindlimb. Journal of Biomechanics. PDF
  • Torres-Oviedo, G., Ting L.H.* (2007) Muscle synergies characterizing human postural responses. Journal of Neurophysiology. PDF
  • Lockhart, D.B., Ting L.H.* (2007) Optimal feedback transformations for balance. Nature Neuroscience. PDF; also, Matt Tresch’s News and Views commentary on the article.
  • McKay, J.L., Ting, L.H.*(2008) Functional muscle synergies constrain force production during postural tasks. Journal of Biomechanics 41(2):299-306. PDF
  • Welch, T.D.J., Ting, L.H.* (2008) A feedback model predicts muscle activity during human postural responses to support surface translations. Journal of Neurophysiology 99:1032-1038. PDF
  • Bunderson, N.E., Burkholder, T.J., Ting, L.H.* (2008) Reduction of neuromuscular redundancy for postural force generation using an intrinsic stability criterion. Journal of Biomechanics. PDF
  • Scrivens, J.E., DeWeerth, S.P., Ting, L.H.* (2008) A robotic device for understanding neuromechanical interactions during standing balance control. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, Jun; 3(2):26002. PDF
  • Welch, T.D.J., Ting, L.H.* (2009) A feedback model explains the differential scaling of human postural responses to perturbation acceleration and velocity. Journal of Neurophysiology, 101(6):3294-309. PDF
  • Clark, D.J., Ting, L.H., Zajac, F.E., Neptune, R.R., Kautz, S.A. (2010) Merging of Healthy Motor Modules Predicts Reduced Locomotor Performance and Muscle Coordination Complexity Post-Stroke. Journal of Neurophysiology , 103:844-857. PDF
  • Trivedi, H., Leonard, J.A., Ting, L.H., Stapley, P.J. (2010) Postural responses to unexpected perturbations of balance during reaching. Experimental Brain Research, 202(2):485-491. PDF
  • Migliore, S.A., Ting, L.H., Deweerth, S.P. (2010) Passive joint stiffness in the hip and knee increases the energy efficiency of leg swinging. Autonomous Robots, 29(1):119-135. PDF
  • Torres-Oviedo, G., Ting L.H.* (2010) Subject-specific muscle synergies in human balance control are consistent across different biomechanical contexts. Journal of Neurophysiology, 103(6):3084-98. PDF
  • Bunderson, N.E., Ting, L.H., Burkholder, T.J. (2010) Directional constraint of endpoint force production emerges from hindlimb anatomy. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210(12):2131-41 PDF
  • Bingham, J.T., Choi, J.T., Ting, L.H.* (2011) Stability in a frontal plane model of balance requires coupled changes to postural configuration and neural feedback control. Journal of Neurophysiology, 106(1):437-48. PDF
  • Chvatal, S.A., Torres-Oviedo, G., Safavynia, S.A., Ting L.H.* (2011) Common muscle synergies for control of center of mass and force in non-stepping and stepping postural behaviors. Journal of Neurophysiology, 106:999-1015. PDF
  • Safavynia, S.A., Ting, L.H.* (2012) Task-level feedback can explain temporal recruitment of spatially-fixed muscle synergies throughout postural perturbations. Journal of Neurophysiology, 107:159-177. PDF
  • McKay, J.L., Ting, L.H.* (2012) Optimization of muscle activity for task-level goals predicts complex changes in limb forces across biomechanical contexts. PLoS Computational Biology, 8(4): e1002465. PDF
  • Bunderson, N.E., Bingham, J.T., Sohn, M.H., Ting, L.H.*, Burkholder, T.J. Neuromechanic: a computational platform for simulation and analysis of the neural control of movement. International Journal of Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering. PDF
  • Chvatal, S.A., Ting, L.H.* (2012) Voluntary and Reactive Recruitment of Locomotor Muscle Synergies during Perturbed Walking. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(35):12237–12250. PDF
  • McKay, J.L., Welch, T.D.J., Vidakovic, B., Ting, L.H.* (2013) Statistically significant contrasts between EMG waveforms revealed using wavelet-based functional ANOVA. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109: 591–602. PDF
  • Safavynia, S.A., Ting, L.H.* (2013) Sensorimotor feedback based on task-relevant error robustly predicts temporal recruitment and multidirectional tuning of muscle synergies. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109: 31–45. PDF
  • Sohn, M.H., McKay, J.L., Ting, L.H.* (2013) Defining feasible bounds on muscle activation in a redundant biomechanical task: practical implications of redundancy. Journal of Biomechanics, 46:1363-1368. PDF
  • Bingham, J.T., Ting, L.H.* (2013) Stability radius as a method for comparing the dynamics of neuromechanical systems. IEEE Transaction on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 21(5):840-848. PDF
  • Chvatal, S.A., Macpherson, J.M., Torres-Oviedo, G., Ting, L.H.*(2013) Absence of postural muscle synergies for balance after spinal cord transection. Journal of Neurophysiology, 110: 1301–1310. PDF
  • Safavynia, S.A., Ting, L.H.* (2013) Long-latency muscle activity reflects continuous, delayed sensorimotor feedback of task-level and not joint-level error. Journal of Neurophysiology, 110: 1278–1290. PDF
  • Bartlett, H.L., Ting, L.H., Bingham, J.T. (2014) Accuracy of force and center of pressure measures of the Wii Balance Board. Gait Posture, 39(1):224-228. PDF
  • Joseph Jilk D., Safavynia S.A., Ting, L.H.* (2014) Contribution of vision to postural behaviors during continuous support-surface translations. Experimental Brain Research, 232(1):169-180. PDF
  • Hayes, H.B., Chvatal, S.A., French, M.A., Ting, L.H., Trumbower, R.D. (2014)Neuromuscular constraints on muscle coordination during overground walking in persons with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury. Clinical Neurophysiology, in press. PDF
  • Welch, T.D., Ting, L.H.* (2014) Mechanisms of motor adaptation in reactive balance control. PLoS One, 9(5): e96440. PDF
  • Bolger, D., Sawers, A., Ting, L.H.* (2014) Individuals with transtibial limb loss use interlimb force asymmetries to maintain multi-directional reactive balance control. Clinical Biomechanics, in press. PDF

Recent Abstracts

  • Sawers, A., Ting, L.H. Force cues can communicate motor goals and skill level during human-human sensorimotor interactions. Neural Control of Movement Annual Meeting (Amsterdam, NL, 2014)
  • Ting, L.H., McKay, J.L., Hackney, M.E. Exercise-based neurorehabilitation improves sensorimotor responses to perturbation in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Neural Control of Movement Annual Meeting (Amsterdam, NL, 2014).
  • Ting, L.H., McKay, J.L., Hackney, M.E. Adapted tango alters center of mass displacement and muscular activity during reactive balance in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. International Society for Posture and Gait Research Meeting (Vancouver, CA, 2014).
  • Allen, J.L., McKay, J.L., Ting, L.H. Rehabilitation improves generalization of muscle synergies across balance and walking in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. World Congress of Biomechanics (Boston, MA 2014).
  • Blum K.P., Lamotte-D’Incamps, B., Zytnicki, D., Ting, L.H. Muscle spindles encode force information. Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).
  • Puntkattalee, M.J., Shephard, C., Stanley, G.B., Ting, L.H. Directional acuity of whole-body perturbations during standing balance. Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).
  • Levey, L., Sawers, A., Lyle, M., Ting, L.H. Are there interlimb differences in lower extremity stability and dexterity? Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).
  • Lang, K.C., McKay, J.L., Compton, H., Harris, M., Perry, J., Roberts, C., Hackney, M.E., Ting, L.H.    Does successful adapted tango rehabilitation improve postural response scaling in individuals with Parkinson’s disease? Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).
  • Allen, J.L., McKay, J.L., Hackney, M.E., Ting, L.H. Recruitment of subcortical muscle synergies during balance and walking in individuals with Parkinson’s disease can be improved through rehabilitation. Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).
  • Allen, J.L., McKay, J.L., Hackney, M.E., Ting, L.H. Recruitment of subcortical muscle synergies during balance and walking in individuals with Parkinson’s disease can be improved through rehabilitation. Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).
  • Versteeg, C., Allen, J.L., Ting, L.H. Hip and ankle responses for reactive balance emerge from task-level control of trunk and center-of-mass kinematics: A simulation study. Society for Neuroscience (Washington D.C. 2014).