Marco Santello


Marco Santello


Sensorimotor control


Marco Santello received a Bachelor in Kinesiology from the University of L'Aquila, Italy, in 1990 and a Doctoral degree in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) in 1995. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Physiology (now Neuroscience) at the University of Minnesota, he joined the Department of Kinesiology at Arizona State University (ASU) (1999-2010). He is currently Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Director, Harrington Endowed Chair at the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, and leads the NSF-supported industry-university cooperative research center in neurotechnology BRAIN. His main research interests are motor control, learning, haptics, and multisensory integration. His Neural Control of Movement laboratory uses complementary research approaches, ranging from non-invasive neuromodulation transcranial magnetic stimulation to motion tracking, electroencephalography, and virtual reality environments. His work (100+ publications) has been published in neuroscience and engineering journals, and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, DARPA, the Whitaker Foundation, The Mayo Clinic, and Google. He has served as grant reviewer for US and European funding agencies, and member of the Editorial Board of Transactions on Haptics and The Journal of Assistive, Rehabilitative and Therapeutic Technologies. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Society of Neural Control of Movement, and IEEE.


I expect to extend my knowledge about neural data (e.g., EEG) analyses and modeling, as well as expand the range of behavioral experimental protocols (e.g., peripheral nerve stimulation) This new knowledge will be used to design behavioral protocols addressing how the central nervous system gates sensory feedback for motor planning and execution.


  • Sensory gating in dexterous hand-object interactions

    The goal of the project is to determine how sensory gating is implemented at different spatial and temporal levels during planning and execution of dexterous hand-object interactions. This will be addressed by manipulating the degree of sensory predictions and magnitude of prediction errors within and across trials.

    - Period: August 1, 2018 - March 31, 2022
    - Members: Dr. Natsue Yoshimura, Dr. Yasuharu Koike, Dr. Kazuhiko Seki, Dr. Kazumasa Uehara.

    Sensory gatingDexterous manipulationPredictionMotor error


Visiting Professor, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology


School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

4. 2017-Present

BRAIN, NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, Director

5. 2012 - Present


5. 2011 - 4. 2012

 Interim Director

5. 2011 - Present

Harrington Endowed Chair

7. 2010


9. 2000

Affiliate Faculty


Department of Kinesiology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

1-6. 2010

Interim Chair

8. 2009


8. 2004

Associate Professor

8. 1999

Assistant Professor


National Science Foundation
BCS-1827752 “Collaborative Research: Effector and Task Neural Representations of Hand-Object Interactions”
$449,383; 09/01/18-08/31/22
PI (recognition: 50%); Co-I: Justin Fine.


National Science Foundation
CNS-1650566 “I/UCRC: Building Reliable Advances and Innovation in Neurotechnology (BRAIN)”
$750,000 (recognition: 100%); 03/15/17-02/28/22
Co-PIs: William Tyler, Jeffrey Kleim.


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Department of Defense
W911NF-17-1-0049 “Sensorimotor control of grasping and manipulation through a soft-synergy prosthetic hand and peripheral neural interface system”
$817,276 (recognition: 50%); 02/01/17-07/31/18
Co-PIs: Qiushi Fu; James Abbas. Sub-contract PI: Ranu Jung, Florida International University.


Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Team Science Grants
“A multi-disciplinary approach to optimize integration of sensory feedback for prosthetic applications in persons with upper limb loss”
$900,000 (recognition: 50%); 07/01/16-06/30/19
ASU PI: Marco Santello, ASU Co-I: Rosalind Sadleir. Mayo PI: Kristin Zhao, Mayo Co-I: Karen Andrews.


Toma S, Santello M. Motor modules account for active perception of force. Scientific Reports 9:8983.


Davare M, Parikh P, Santello M. Sensorimotor uncertainty modulates corticospinal excitability during skilled object manipulation. Journal of Neurophysiology 121:1162-70.


Fu Q, Santello M (2018). Improving fine control of grasping force during hand-object interactions for a soft synergy-inspired myoelectric prosthetic hand. Frontiers in Neurorobotics 11:71. doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2017.00071.


Shibata D, Santello M. Role of digit placement control on sensorimotor transformations for dexterous manipulation. Journal of Neurophysiology 118:2935-2943.


Mojtahedi K, Fu Q, Santello M. On the role of dyadic interactions on performance of object manipulation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11:533. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00533


Fine JM, Moore D, Santello M. Neural oscillations reflect latent learning states underlying dual-context sensorimotor adaptation. NeuroImage 15:93-105. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.09.026.


Santello M, Bianchi M, Gabiccini M, Ricciardi E, Salvietti G, Prattichizzo D, Ernst M, Moscatelli A, Jorntell H, Kappers A, Kyriakopoulos K, Albu Schaeffer A, Castellini C, Bicchi A . Hand synergies: Integration of robotics and neuroscience for understanding the control of biological and artificial hands. Physics of Life Reviews 17:1-23.


Mojtahedi K, Fu Q, Santello M. Extraction of time and frequency features from grip force rates during dexterous manipulation. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 62:1363-75. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2015.2388592.


Santello M, Baud-Bovy G, Jörntell H. Neural bases of hand synergies. Invited contribution to Research Topic on Modularity in Motor Control, Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 7:23. doi:10.3389/fncom.2013.00023.


Fu Q, Santello M. Context-dependent sensorimotor memory interferes with visuomotor transformations for manipulation planning. Journal of Neuroscience 32:15086-15092.


Fu Q, Hasan Z, Santello M. Transfer of learned manipulation following changes in degrees of freedom. Journal of Neuroscience 31:13576-13584.


Fu Q, Zhang W, Santello M. Anticipatory planning and control of grasp positions and forces for dexterous two-digit manipulation. Journal of Neuroscience 30:9117-9126.


Lukos J, Ansuini C, Santello M. Choice of contact points during multi-digit grasping: effect of predictability of object center of mass location. Journal of Neuroscience 27:3894-3903. Issue cover.


Winges SA, Santello M. Common input to motor units of digit flexors during multi-digit grasping. Journal of Neurophysiology 92:3210-3220.


Santello M, Flanders M, Soechting JF. Postural synergies for tool use. Journal of Neuroscience 18:10105-10115.