George F. Wittenberg, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurology, Bioengineering, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


  • Director, Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy (RAFT) at Rehab Neural Engineering Labs

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Wittenberg received training at Harvard, UC San Diego, Washington U., St. Louis, the National Institutes of Health, and KU Leuven. His clinical and research interests are in neurorehabilitation, stroke, cerebral palsy and movement disorders. He uses transcranial magnetic stimulation, functional imaging, and rehabilitation robotics to study recovery of motor function.

He has a tenured appointment as Professor in the Department of Neurology and is a Neurologist/Researcher in the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He has secondary appointments in Bioengineering and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is Director of the Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy (RAFT), one of the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs, which has a multidisciplinary faculty of 11. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 2018 as the outgoing Director of the VA Maryland Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence. He is now one of the investigators in the joint Pitt/VA Human Engineering Research Laboratory, and the VA GRECC.

Dr. Wittenberg is a Fellow of the American Society of Neurorehabilitation and Board Certified in Neurology and Brain Injury Medicine. He is an Associate Editor of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair and on the Executive Committees of the National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation and the Neurorehabilitation and Restorative Neuroscience Training Network (NRNTN, a K12 program.)

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of California, San Diego, Biology
  • MD, University of California, San Diego, Medicine
  • Resident, Washington University in St. Louis, Neurology
  • Fellow, Washington University in St. Louis, Neurorehabilitation
  • Sr. Staff Fellow, NINDS    
  • Senior Fellow, KU Leuven    

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests 

  • Research: Rehabilitation robotics; Transcranial brain stimulation; Brain connectivity as it relates to motor function and rehabilitation
  • Clinical: Stroke rehabilitation; Rehabilitation robotics; Brain mechanisms of arm control; Motor deficits after stroke and in other neurological conditions

Board Certifications

  • Adult Neurology
  • Brain Injury Medicine

Professional Organization Membership

  • Organization for Human Brain Mapping, 2001-Present
  • Neural Control of Movement Society, 2004-Present
  • International Society of Motor Control, 2009-Present
  • American Neurological Association, Fellow, 2009-Present
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2014-Present

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow of the American Society of Neurorehabilitation

Selected Publications

Beets IA, Gooijers J, Boisgontier MP, Pauwels L, Coxon JP, Wittenberg G, Swinnen SP. Reduced Neural Differentiation Between Feedback Conditions After Bimanual Coordination Training with and without Augmented Visual Feedback. Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jul;25(7):1958-69. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu005. Epub 2014 Feb 4. PMID: 24501382.

Massie CL, Kantak SS, Narayanan P, Wittenberg GF. Timing of motor cortical stimulation during planar robotic training differentially impacts neuroplasticity in older adults. Clin Neurophysiol. 2015 May;126(5):1024-32. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.06.053. Epub 2014 Sep 16. PMID: 25283712; PMCID: PMC4362917.

Massie CL, Du Y, Conroy SS, Krebs HI, Wittenberg GF, Bever CT, Whitall J. A Clinically Relevant Method of Analyzing Continuous Change in Robotic Upper Extremity Chronic Stroke Rehabilitation. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2016 Sep;30(8):703-12. doi: 10.1177/1545968315620301. Epub 2015 Dec 14. PMID: 26671216; PMCID: PMC9039993.

Wittenberg GF, Richards LG, Jones-Lush LM, Roys SR, Gullapalli RP, Yang S, Guarino PD, Lo AC. Predictors and brain connectivity changes associated with arm motor function improvement from intensive practice in chronic stroke. F1000Res. 2016 Aug 31;5:2119. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.8603.2. PMID: 28357039; PMCID: PMC5345776.

Conroy SS, Wittenberg GF, Krebs HI, Zhan M, Bever CT, Whitall J. Robot-Assisted Arm Training in Chronic Stroke: Addition of Transition-to-Task Practice. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2019 Sep;33(9):751-761. doi: 10.1177/1545968319862558. Epub 2019 Jul 22. PMID: 31328671.