Faculty Profile: Jerome Sanes, PHD, MA, University of Rochester, 1979

Jerome Sanes
Jerome Sanes, PHD, MA, University of Rochester, 1979
Professor of Neuroscience
Work: +1 401-863-2523
I study brain mechanisms underlying motor control and learning. Several brain regions, including the frontal and parietal lobes, the basal ganglia, and the cerebellum, have involvement in voluntary movements, and these areas become engaged when humans learn and then consolidate new motor skills. Currently, we study these problems with magnetic resonance imaging technology that assesses focal changes in blood flow and by assessing movement patterns while humans perform various movement tasks.


My interest in understanding brain mechanisms of voluntary movement and motor learning began during graduate studies at the University of Rochester and continued during post-doctoral studies at the National Institute of Mental Health, working with Edward Evarts. I joined the Neuroscience enterprise at Brown in 1989, where I currently serve as Professor of Medical Science and Director of MRI Research for Brown University. From 1997-2000, I directed the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory at Foundation Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy. I have served on numerous panels that have reviewed grant proposals, including the NIH, Wellcome Trust, Human Frontiers Program and the Italian Space Agency. I have or currently serve on the editorial boards of major neuroscience journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, Neuroscience, NeuroImage and Experimental Brain Research. I have published 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals and other fora.



Research Description

Research Themes
  • Brain organization of voluntary movement
  • Eye-Hand Interactions
  • Motor Learning
  • Brain-computer interface

    Research Methods
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Electroencephalography/Magnetoencephalography
  • Psychophysics
  • Grants and Awards

    United States Public Health Service Trainee
    Rush Rhees Fellow, University of Rochester
    National Research Service Award
    Honorary Master of Arts, Brown University


    Director, Brown University MRI Research Facility
    Co-Director, Brown Neuroscience Graduate Program

    Funded Research

    Current Funding (as Principal Investigator)
    "Motor Intention", National Science Foundation, ($505,000 direct costs)
    "Predoctoral Neuroscience Training", National Institutes of Health ($875,000 direct costs).

    Highlights of Past Funding (as Principal Investigator)
    "Purchase of a 3T MRI system", National Science Foundation, ($2,000,000 direct costs)
    "MRI System and Facility", US Department of Energy, ($962,000 direct costs)
    "Visual Motor Integration", National Institutes of Health ($750,000 direct costs).
    "Cognition and Action", National Institutes of Health (~$700,000)
    "MEG Brain Computer Interface", DARPA (~$400,000)
    "Neural Control of Human Voluntary Movements", National Institutes of Health, ($1,800,000 direct costs)

    Teaching Experience

    Seminars and lecture courses in the general area of Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience

    Prior courses:
    -Principles of Neuromotor Control (BN0120, no longer offered)
    -Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience: Motor Learning (BN0193)
    -Cognitive Neuroscience (BN105, renumbered and taken over by other faculty)

    Courses Taught

    • Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience (NEUR2060)
    • Advanced Systems Neuroscience (NEUR2050)

    Selected Publications

    • Bédard P. and J. N. Sanes (2011) Basal ganglia-dependent processes in short-term recall of visual-motor skills. Experimental Brain Research, 209:385-393. (2011)
    • Bédard P., M. Wu, and J. N. Sanes (2011) Brain activation related to combinations of gaze position, visual input and goal-directed hand movements. Cerebral Cortex, 21:1273-1282. (2011)
    • Bédard, P. and J. N. Sanes (2009) Gaze and hand position effects on finger-movement related human brain activation. Journal of Neurophysiology, 101: 834-842. (2009)
    • Bédard P. and J. N. Sanes (2009) On a basal ganglia role in learning and rehearsing visual-motor associations, NeuroImage, 47: 1701-1710. (2009)
    • Thaut, M, M. Demartin, and J. N. Sanes (2008) Brain networks for integrative rhythm formation. PLoS ONE, 3: e2312. (2008)
    • Philip B. A., Y. Wu, J. P. Donoghue, J. N. Sanes (2008) Computational predictions of performance differences in visually- and internally-guided continuous manual tracking movements. Experimental Brain Research 190:475-491. (2008)
    • Bédard, P., A. Thangavel, and J. N. Sanes (2008) Gaze influences finger movement-related and visual-related activation across the human brain. Experimental Brain Research, 188:63-75. (2008)
    • Kim J. A., J. C. Eliassen, and J. N. Sanes (2005) Movement quantity and frequency coding in human motor areas. Journal of Neurophysiology 94:2504-2511. (2005)
    • Eliassen, J. C., T. Souza and J. N. Sanes (2003) Experience-dependent activation patterns in human brain during visual-motor associative learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 23:10540-10547. (2003)
    • Fiecas M., H. Ombao, C. Linkletter, W. Thompson, and J. N. Sanes (2010) Functional connectivity: shrinkage estimation and randomization test. NeuroImage 49:3005–3014. ()