The Catholic University of America

Sahana N. Kukke, Ph.D.

CABRR Research Scientist

Assistant Professor
Biomedical Engineering
Catholic University


B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, June 1999
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, May 2002
Ph.D., Bioengineering, Stanford University, June 2009


Dr. Kukke's research focus is on uncovering mechanisms of impaired motor control and developing methods to improve functional movements in individuals with childhood-onset brain injuries. She has over 10 years of research experience working with children with cerebral palsy in various settings, including outpatient neurology and rehabilitation clinics, and research laboratories at Stanford University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. As a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH, she designed, managed, and carried out a 3-year project involving cooperation between 3 institutes and centers to quantify various biomechanical, sensory, and neurophysiological impairments in children with cerebral palsy in order to move toward the development of new targeted therapies. She is a member of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the Neural Control of Movement Society, and the Society for Neuroscience.

Representative Publications

Kukke SN, Paine RW, Chao C, de Campos AC, Hallett M. Efficient and reliable characterization of the corticospinal system using transcranial magnetic stimulation. J Clin Neurophysiol, in press.

de Campos AC*, Kukke SN*, Hallett M, Alter KE, Damiano DL. Characteristics of Bilateral Hand Function in Individuals With Unilateral Dystonia Due to Perinatal Stroke: Sensory and Motor Aspects. J Child Neurol. 2014 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24396131. *co-first authors

Chao CC, Karabanov AN, Paine R, Carolina de Campos A, Kukke SN, Wu T, Wang H, Hallett M. Induction of Motor Associative Plasticity in the Posterior Parietal Cortex-Primary Motor Network. Cereb Cortex. 2013 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23968834.

Poston B, Kukke SN, Paine RW, Francis S, Hallett M. Cortical silent period duration and its implications for surround inhibition of a hand muscle. Eur J Neurosci. 2012 Oct;36(7):2964-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2012.08212.x. Epub 2012 Jul 9. PubMed PMID: 22775302; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3463678.

Kukke SN, Sanger TD. Contributors to excess antagonist activity during movement in children with secondary dystonia due to cerebral palsy. J Neurophysiol. 2011 May;105(5):2100-7. doi: 10.1152/jn.00998.2009. Epub 2011 Feb 16. PubMed PMID: 21325680.

Ben-Pazi H, Ishihara A, Kukke S, Sanger TD. Increasing viscosity and inertia using a robotically controlled pen improves handwriting in children. J Child Neurol. 2010 Jun;25(6):674-80. doi: 10.1177/0883073809342592. Epub 2009 Sep 30. PubMed PMID: 19794098; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2878373.

van Doornik J, Kukke S, Sanger TD. Hypertonia in childhood secondary dystonia due to cerebral palsy is associated with reflex muscle activation. Mov Disord. 2009 May 15;24(7):965-71. doi: 10.1002/mds.22282. PubMed PMID: 19353733.

van Doornik J, Kukke S, McGill K, Rose J, Sherman-Levine S, Sanger TD. Oral baclofen increases maximal voluntary neuromuscular activation of ankle plantar flexors in children with spasticity due to cerebral palsy. J Child Neurol. 2008 Jun;23(6):635-9. doi: 10.1177/0883073807313046. Epub 2008 Feb 15. PubMed PMID: 18281622.

Ben-Pazi H, Kukke S, Sanger TD. Poor penmanship in children correlates with abnormal rhythmic tapping: a broad functional temporal impairment. J Child Neurol. 2007 May;22(5):543-9. PubMed PMID: 17690059.

Sanger TD, Kukke SN. Abnormalities of tactile sensory function in children with dystonic and diplegic cerebral palsy. J Child Neurol. 2007 Mar;22(3):289-93. PubMed PMID: 17621498.

Sanger TD, Kukke SN, Sherman-Levine S. Botulinum toxin type B improves the speed of reaching in children with cerebral palsy and arm dystonia: an open-label, dose-escalation pilot study. J Child Neurol. 2007 Jan;22(1):116-22. PubMed PMID: 17608320.

Kukke SN, Triolo RJ. The effects of trunk stimulation on bimanual seated workspace. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2004 Jun;12(2):177-85. PubMed PMID: 15218932.

Agarwal S, Triolo RJ, Kobetic R, Miller M, Bieri C, Kukke S, Rohde L, Davis JA Jr. Long-term user perceptions of an implanted neuroprosthesis for exercise, standing, and transfers after spinal cord injury. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2003 May-Jun;40(3):241-52. PubMed PMID: 14582528.

Davis JA Jr, Triolo RJ, Uhlir J, Bieri C, Rohde L, Lissy D, Kukke S. Preliminary performance of a surgically implanted neuroprosthesis for standing and transfers--where do we stand? J Rehabil Res Dev. 2001 Nov-Dec;38(6):609-17. PubMed PMID: 11767968.