George F. Wittenberg, MD, PhD, FASNR

  • Visiting Professor

Dr. Wittenberg is a clinician-scientist specializing in neurorehabilitation and, more specifically, recovery of motor function after stroke. He obtained his doctorate degree in Biology at the University of California, San Diego and completed medical school at the same university. Dr. Wittenberg had further clinical and research training at Washington University, St. Louis, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and KU Leuven. He has served as President of the American Society of Neurorehabilitation and remains active in that organization. In Pittsburgh, he is an investigator in the VA Geriatrics, Research, Education and Clinical Center, and the Center for Neural Basis of Cognition. The central aims of Dr. Wittenberg’s research work are to understand 1. the brain mechanisms of arm control in the healthy state; 2. how arm movement is affected by neurological conditions, and 3. to develop better methods of restoring arm movement through combinations of practice and stimulation of the nervous system.

Dr. Wittenberg directs the Laboratory for Research on Arm Function and Therapy (RAFT) that is using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional imaging to understand motor cortical reorganization following stroke and in designing and testing new methods for neurorehabilitation. He was the site principal investigator in VA Cooperative Study #558, “Robotic Assisted Upper-Limb Neurorehabilitation in Stroke Patients” and continues to study the neural plasticity that underlies robotic rehabilitation. He is developing hybrid methods of combining TMS with robotic and virtual reality training, and multimodal physiological monitoring with feedback control of robotic assistance, to maximize the return of motor function after neurological injury by harnessing activity-dependent brain plasticity.

Highlighted Publications

  • Jones-Lush L, Judkins T, Wittenberg G. Arm movement maps evoked by cortical magnetic stimulation in a robotic environment. Neuroscience. 2010;165(3):774-81.
  • Krakauer JW, Carmichael ST, Corbett D, Wittenberg GF. Getting neurorehabilitation right: what can be learned from animal models? Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2012 Oct;26(8):923-31.
  • Kantak S, Jones-Lush L, Narayanan P, Judkins T, Wittenberg G. Rapid plasticity of motor corticospinal system with robotic reach training. Neuroscience. 2013;247:55-64.
  • Massie CL, Kantak SS, Narayanan P, Wittenberg GF. Timing of motor cortical stimulation during planar robotic training differentially in older adults. Clin Neurophysiol. 2015;126(5):1024-32.


Complete List of Published Work

Research/Clinical Keywords

Rehabilitation, Recovery, Motor Control, transcranial magnetic stimulation, functional MRI, stroke, movement disorders, robotics, EEG