Jay  Alberts,  Ph.D.

Jay Alberts, Ph.D.


The Edward F. and Barbara A. Bell Family Endowed Chair

Lerner Research Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195
Location: C5-005

Phone: (216) 445-3222
Fax: (216) 444-9198


The aim of my research is to understand structure-function relationships within the central nervous system and the upper extremity. In particular, my research is focused on determining how grasping forces and torques are controlled and coordinated during functional dexterous manipulations. Investigation of movement patterns produced by different patient groups and healthy adults provides a window into the brain with respect to the control of voluntary movement.

Our current studies work with Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients to determine the role of the basal ganglia in movement control. Recently, we have shown that unilateral deep brain stimulation provides long-term bilateral motor benefits. We are also evaluating the effects of assisted and voluntary exercise on PD motor function. These studies suggest that assisted exercise increases activation patterns within the brain. The objective and quantitative assessment of motor function will aid in disease diagnostic capability and specificity, disease progression and intervention efficacy for patients in which movement is compromised.

Lay Summary

Our laboratory is focused on understanding how the brain controls skilled movements and how changes in brain function affect the movement performance. Our first step is to understand how diseases or conditions such as Parkinson's disease, stroke or concussion affect movement and thinking. Once we identify the specific problems associated with these conditions, we then develop and test interventions or ways of monitoring that are aimed at improving movement and cognitive performance. Our interventions range from deep brain stimulation (inserting an electrode in the brain) to exercise.

View publications for Jay Alberts, PhD.

Alberts, J.L., Voelcker-Rehage C., Hallahan, K., Vitek, M., Bamzai, R., and Vitek, J.L. (2008) Bilateral subthalamic stimulation impairs cognitive-motor performance in Parkinson’s disease patients. Brain, 131(12)3348-60.

Ridgel, A., Thota, A., Vitek, J.L. and Alberts, J.L. (2009)  Forced, not voluntary, exercise improves motor function in Parkinson’s disease patients. Journal of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, PMID: 19131578.

Mera, T.O., Johnson, M.D., Rothe, D., Zhang, J., Xu, W., Ghosh, D., Vitek, J.L., and Alberts, J.L. (2009) Quantifying Rigidity in MPTP-treated Primates. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 177(1):20-9.

Alberts, J.L., Hallahan, K., Thota, A., Noecker, A.M., Vitek, J.L. and McIntyre, C.M. Reducing cognitive-motor declines associated with bilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation through computational modeling in a Parkinson’s patient. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

US Patent Patent Title Issue Date First-Named Inventor
8,608,622 Systems and Methods for Improving Motor Function with Assisted Exercise 12/17/2013 Jay Alberts Ph.D.
8,562,488 Systems and Methods for Improving Motor Function with Assisted Exercise 10/22/2013 Jay Alberts Ph.D.

03/18/2021 |  

New Smartphone App Could Transform Concussion Management of Military Personnel

Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, led by Jay Alberts, PhD, have developed a mobile application that can accurately quantify cognitive and motor functions, which may be used in the management of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI, or concussion). In an article in Military Medicine, the researchers report that the application has the potential to be extremely helpful in assessing performance in military personnel, who may experience mTBI in the field.

03/01/2021 |  

Aerobic Exercise Can Help Parkinson’s Patients Improve Heart Health

In a new study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, investigators in the lab of Jay Alberts, PhD, have shown that high-intensity aerobic exercise (on a stationary bike) confers significant cardiopulmonary benefits for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD)—a disorder of the nervous system that most commonly affects movement and motor control.

02/16/2021 |  

Using Artificial Intelligence to Tackle Cognitive Impairment in Former NFL Players

Cleveland Clinic, in collaboration with the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), is launching a research initiative to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to better characterize neurological disease, and ultimately improve diagnosis, prognosis prediction, and disease intervention and prevention.

01/19/2021 |  

CYCLE-AD Trial: Testing High-Intensity Exercise to Stave Off Alzheimer’s Disease

The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded Cleveland Clinic a five-year, $6.7 million grant to evaluate the effect of high-intensity exercise—using a home-based, internet-connected indoor cycle—on preventing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in people at high genetic risk of the disease.

11/13/2019 |  

Obesity Has Negative Effect On Sleep, Quality of Life of Endometrial Cancer Survivors

Endometrial cancer survivors who are more obese have an overall lower quality of life, including poorer sleep and higher levels of depression, according to a new study in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer. The study—led by Jay Alberts, PhD, Lerner Research Institute Department of Biomedical Engineering, and funded by the National Institutes of Health—was a collaboration between Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Nora Nock, PhD, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, CWRU, was first author on the study.

09/03/2019 |  

$2M DoD Grant for Augmented Reality Protocols to Help Troops Return to Duty After Brain Injury

Jay Alberts, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to create a series of augmented reality assessment modules to help determine when military personnel who have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) can safely return to duty. Augmented reality, unlike virtual reality, allows the user to maintain contact with the physical world and people in it while interacting with virtual objects.

05/29/2019 |  

New NIH Grant to Study Effects of Exercise on Parkinson’s Progression

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded Jay Alberts, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, a five-year, $3 million grant to conduct a multi-site clinical trial to study the long-term effects of aerobic exercise on slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

03/07/2018 |  

Exercise May Help Reinforce Underdeveloped Connections in the Brain: Implications for Preventing, Treating Adolescent Substance Abuse

In a review article recently published in Birth Defects Research, scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute Department of Biomedical Engineering make the case for the use of exercise, particularly assisted exercise, in the prevention and adjunctive treatment of substance abuse disorders—including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opioids and heroine—in adolescents.