Director, School of Health and Exercise Sciences

ART 360C
phone: 2508078858
    • 1987: B.P.E. – University of British Columbia
    • 1990: M.P.E. – University of British Columbia
    • 1994: Ph.D. – University of Calgary


My research and teaching focuses on gaining a better understanding of how the human brain is able to plan and execute body movements. We study this broad question in both healthy participants as well as in patients with damage to the brain due to a variety of injuries – most recently, our focus has been on concussion. For this purpose, we use a suite of state-of-the-art equipment including the following:

For our basic science research, we address questions related to the coordination between the eyes and hand, the interaction between cognitive/attention factors and motor output, and the predictive processes underlying motor planning and how they are implemented in the brain. For the clinically oriented research, we are currently focusing on the sensorimotor and neurocognitive deficits following concussion. We make use of behavioural experiments to address these issues and examine how the resulting deficits are related to changes in the underlying physiology and microstructural integrity in the brain. Finally, we use our basic and clinical findings to drive applied research through support from the STAR Initiative.

Current Lab Members:

  • Dr. Jon Smirl – Post-doctoral fellow
  • Mike Kennefick – Ph.D. student
  • Colin Wallace – Ph.D. student
  • Sandy Wright – M.D./Ph.D. student
  • Kelsey Bryk – M.Sc. student
  • Jill Dierijck – M.Sc. student
  • Sarah Markson – M.Sc. student


Last 5 years

Hermosillo, R.J.M., Carmody, J., Ugoalah, N., Lee, J.-H., Binsted, G., van Donkelaar, P. (2016) Motor planning influences the perceived timing of vibrotactile stimuli in an amplitude-dependent manner. Journal of Motor Behavior, in press.

Wright, A.D., Jarrett, M., Vavasour, I., Shahinfard, E., Kolind, S, van Donkelaar, P., Taunton, J., Li, D., Rauscher, A. (2016) Myelin water fraction is transiently reduced after a single mild traumatic brain injury but not following repetitive subclinical head trauma. PLoS One, 11: e0150215.

Lo, O.-Y., van Donkelaar, P., Chou, L.-S. (2015) Distracting visuospatial attention during the approach to an obstacle leads to decreased toe-obstacle clearance. Experimental Brain Research, 233: 1137-1144.

Marsden, K., Strachan, N., Smith, K., Monteleone, B., Ainslie, P., Iverson, G., van Donkelaar, P. Exercise-induced increases in cerebral blood flow velocity contribute to headache exacerbation following concussion. Current Research: Concussion, 2: 17-21.

Colino F.L., Buckingham, G., Cheng, D.T., van Donkelaar, P., Binsted, G. (2014) Tactile gating in a reaching and grasping task. Physiological Reports, e00267, DOI: 10.1002/phy2.267.

Gardner, A., Tan, C.O., Ainslie, P.N. van Donkelaar, P., Stanwell, P., Levi, C.R., Iverson G.L. (2014) Cerebrovascular reactivity assessed by transcranial Doppler ultrasound in sport-related concussion: A systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-093901.

Mayr, U., LaRoux, C., Rolheiser, T., Osternig, L.R., Chou, L.-S., & van Donkelaar, P. (2014) Executive dysfunction assessed with a task-switching task following concussion. PLoS One, e91379, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091379.

Ritterband-Rosenbaum, A., Hermosillo, R., Kroliczak, G., & van Donkelaar, P. (2014) Hand position dependent modulation of errors in vibrotactile temporal order judgments: The effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation to the human posterior parietal cortex. Experimental Brain Research, 232: 1689-1698.

Cameron, B.D., Cheng, D.T., Chua, R., van Donkelaar, P., Binsted, G. (2013) Error expectation and real-time control of reaching. Experimental Brain Research, 229: 359-372.

Howell, D. Osternig, L., van Donkelaar, P., Chou, L.-S. (2013) Neuropsychological and attentional testing following sport concussion in adolescents. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45:1030-1037.

Boonyang, S., Siu, K.-S., Chou, L.-S., van Donkelaar, P., & Woollacott., M. (2012) Development of postural control during gait in typically developing children: the effects of dual task conditions. Gait & Posture, 35, 428-434.

Martin, K., & van Donkelaar, P. (2012). Expectations can modulate the frequency and timing of multiple saccades – A TMS study. Experimental Brain Research, 221: 51-8.

Saavedra, S., van Donkelaar, P., & Woollacott, M. (2012). Learning about gravity: Segmental assessment of upright control as infants develop independent sitting. Journal of Neurophysiology, 108: 2215-29.

Catena, R.D., van Donkelaar, P., & Chou, L.-S. (2011). The effects of attention capacity on dynamic balance control following concussion. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 8: 8. doi:10.1186/1743-0003-8-8.

Hermosillo, R., Ritterband-Rosenbaum, A., & van Donkelaar, P. (2011). Predicting future sensorimotor states influences current temporal decision-making. Journal of Neuroscience, 31, 10019-10022.

Makoshi, Z., Kroliczak, G., & van Donkelaar, P. (2011). Human supplementary motor area contributes to predictive motor planning. Journal of Motor Behavior, 43, 203-209.

Taylor, R.P., Spehar, B., van Donkelaar, P., & Hagerhill, C.M. (2011). Perceptual, physiological and neurological responses to Jackson Pollock’s fractals. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, 5:60. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00060.