Dr. John W. Krakauer

Dr. John W. Krakauer

John Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Krakauer is nationally and internationally recognized for his study of the human motor system in health and disease. His scientific achievements to date include bringing a motor learning paradigm called visuomotor rotation into the neuroscience mainstream, discovering the proportional recovery rule for stroke, characterizing a sensitive period of heightened plasticity after stroke, developing new conceptions of motor skill, and coming up with the notion of implicit motor motivation. His research has been funded by the NIH, NSF, and various other agencies and foundations. In 2015 he received The Salute to Science Award from The Mind Science Foundation. Dr. Krakauer is routinely invited to speak at scientific meetings, and at venues such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, TEDx, The Charlie Rose Show, NPR, and the Aspen Institute.

Dr. Krakauer is also very interested in the interface between neuroscience and the areas of philosophy, sport, and art. In the case of philosophy, he has co-written papers on the notion of motor skill and its relation to the rest of cognition. He has also written about the brains of elite athletes and is frequently interviewed by the media on this topic, especially when major sporting events come around such as the World Cup and the Olympics.  At one point in an interview with the Lancet, when he was asked what he might like to have done other than his current profession he answered: “In order of decreasing plausibility: art historian, literary critic, tennis player, dancer for the Alvin Ailey Company.”

Dr. Krakauer is co-founder of the video gaming company Max and Haley, and of the creative engineering Hopkins-based project named KATA. KATA and M&H are both predicated on the idea that mission-focused customized software and hardware can revolutionize the care of patients with neurological injury and disease in the hospital and at home. One major thrust of KATA is the creation of video gaming and animation based on the real physics of animal movement. The idea is that skilled animal movement is beautiful and highly pleasurable, and that these features are hugely heightened when the animal’s movement is under the control of our own movements. A simulated dolphin and other cetaceans were developed by KATA to interface with an FDA-approved 3D exoskeletal robot, and are being used in an ongoing funded multi-site rehabilitation trial for early stroke recovery.  This work that combines animation, engineering and neurology has been covered extensively by the media including profiles of Dr. Krakauer in The New Yorker and National Geographic.

Dr. Krakauer was a tenured professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience at Columbia University before moving to Johns Hopkins in late 2010.  He is currently John C. Malone Professor, Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is Co-Director of the Brain, Learning, Animation, and Movement Lab and co-Director of The KATA Project. He received his BA from Cambridge University, and his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and his residency in neurology at The Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University. He subsequently completed a research fellowship in motor control at Columbia’s Center for Neurobiology and Behavior and a clinical fellowship in stroke at the Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center.