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NIH Distinguished Investigator

Mark Hallett, M.D.

Human Motor Control Section

Medical Neurology Branch
Building 10 Room 7D37
10 Center Drive MSC 1428
Bethesda MD 20892-1428
Office: (301) 496-9526
Lab: (301) 496-9526
Fax: (301) 480-2286

Dr. Hallett obtained his A.B. and M.D. at Harvard University, had his internship in Medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and his Neurology training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had fellowships in neurophysiology at the NIH and in the Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry in London, where he worked with C. David Marsden. Before coming to NIH in 1984, Dr. Hallett was the Chief of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and progressed to Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is currently Chief of the Medical Neurology Branch and Chief of its Human Motor Control Section. He is now Past-President of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. He has been President of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society and Vice-President of the American Academy of Neurology. He served as Editor in Chief of Clinical Neurophysiology. Among many awards, in 2012 he became an Honorary Member of the American Neurological Association, and in 2014 won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. In 2017 he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine Honoris Causa from the University of Hamburg, and in 2018 was made an Honorary Member of the European Academy of Neurology. His research activities focus on the physiology of human voluntary movement and its pathophysiology in disordered voluntary movement and involuntary movement.

Dr. Mark Hallett intervew in Oral History Program :

The general mission of the Human Motor Control Section is to understand the physiology of normal human voluntary movement and the pathophysiology of different movement disorders. The members of the Section work together on the different projects, each bringing special expertise to the tasks. The main techniques employed are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), neuroimaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and other techniques of clinical neurophysiology. The principal diseases studied are dystonia, Parkinson's disease, cerebellar ataxia, myoclonus, essential tremor, tic, functional movement disorders and startle disorders.

In relation to the physiology of movement, we have studied the brain processes associated with the preparation and execution of different types of movements. A special interest is the process of movement initiation and volition. We have been studying motor learning including the process of making movement automatic and the process of movement selectivity.

As one example of our work, we have been exploring the pathophysiology of functional movement disorders (FMD). There are abnormalities identifiable with functional MRI that help explain why the patients experience their movements as involuntary. The right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) region plays a role in the sense of self-agency and it has defective connectivity even in the resting brain. 

               Mark Hallet's Research Image

Maps of resting state fMRI demonstrate group differences in rTPJ resting-state functional connectivity (FC) between patients with FMD and healthy controls. Images show decreased FC in patients with FMD between the rTPJ (seed) and the (A) bilateral supplementary motor area (SMA) (circled), (B) right precentral gyrus (circled), (C) right postcentral gyrus (circled), (D) right insula (circled), and (E) cerebellar vermis (circled). From Maurer et al. 2016; see below for full citation.

Clinical Protocols (selected examples)

  • Non-invasive intermittent theta burst stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in patients with functional movement disorders 17-N-0160

  • Detailed evaluation of the neurophysiology of surround inhibition in the human motor cortex 17-N-0031

  • Cholinergic Receptor Imaging in Dystonia 16-N-0064

  • Neurobiological studies in psychogenic movement disorders and non-epileptic seizures 07-N-0190

Staff Image
  • Patrick Bedard, Ph.D.
    Research Associate

  • Mae Brooks
    Patient Care Coordinator

  • Alexander Choi, M.D.
    Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow

  • Sonyea Cooper
    Patient Care Coordinator

  • Nguyet Dang
    Biomedical Engineer

  • Irene Dustin, Ph.D., RN, CRNP
    Research Nurse

  • Debra Ehrlich, M.D.
    Senior Clinician
    Chief, Parkinson Clinic

  • Libby Frey, B.Sc.
    Office Manager

  • Silvina Horovitz, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist

  • Avanti Iyer, M.Sc
    Clinical Research Project Manager

  • Panagiotis Kassavetis, M.D., Ph.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • Saejin (Esther) Lee
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Myriam Martinez, R.N.
    Research Nurse

  • Patrick McGurrin, Ph.D.
    Research Associate

  • Thomas Osterholt, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Sepideh Akbari Panahi, M.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • Jacob Parker, B.S.
    IRTA Fellow

  • Shashi Ravindran, CRNP, MPH, MSN
    Nurse Practitioner

  • Primavera Spagnolo, M.D., Ph.D.
    Research Fellow

  • Kia Thomas
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Antonio Ivano Triggiani, Ph.D.
    Research Associate

  • Konjit Yirgashewa
    Patient Care Coordinator

  • Esther Yoon, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Sana Zahir, M.Sc
    Clinical Research Project Manager

  • 1) Thirugnanasambandam N, Leodori G, Popa T, Kassavetis P, Mandel A, Shaft A, Kee J, Kashyap S, Khodorov G, Hallett M (2020)
  • Parietal conditioning enhances motor surround inhibition
  • Brain Stimul, 2020 Mar - Apr;13(2):447-449, doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2019.12.011. Epub 2019 Dec 18
  • 2) Weiss D, Schoellmann A, Fox MD, Bohnen NI, Factor SA, Nieuwboer A, Hallett M, Lewis SJG (2020)
  • Freezing of gait: understanding the complexity of an enigmatic phenomenon
  • Brain, 2020 Jan 1;143(1):14-30, doi: 10.1093/brain/awz314
  • 3) Rossini PM, Di Iorio R, Bentivoglio M, Bertini G, Ferreri F, Gerloff C, Ilmoniemi RJ, Miraglia F, Nitsche MA, Pestilli F, Rosanova M, Shirota Y, Tesoriero C, Ugawa Y, Vecchio F, Ziemann U, Hallett M (2019)
  • Methods for analysis of brain connectivity: An IFCN-sponsored review
  • Clin Neurophysiol, 2019 Oct;130(10):1833-1858, doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2019.06.006. Epub 2019 Jul 2
  • 4) Baizabal-Carvallo JF, Hallett M, Jankovic J (2019)
  • Pathogenesis and pathophysiology of functional (psychogenic) movement disorders
  • Neurobiol Dis, 2019 Jul;127:32-44. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.02.013, Epub 2019 Feb 21
  • 5) Maurer CW, LaFaver K, Limachia GS, Capitan G, Ameli R, Sinclair S, Epstein SA, Hallett M, Horovitz SG (2018)
  • Gray matter differences in patients with functional movement disorders
  • Neurology, 2018 Nov 13;91(20):e1870-e1879, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006514. Epub 2018 Oct 1
  • 6) Haubenberger D, Hallett M (2018)
  • Essential Tremor
  • N Engl J Med, 2018 May 10;378(19), 1802-1810. doi: 10.1056/NEJMcp1707928
  • 7) Simonyan K, Cho H, Hamzehei Sichani A, Rubien-Thomas E, Hallett M (2017)
  • The direct basal ganglia pathway is hyperfunctional in focal dystonia. Brain
  • 2017 Dec 1;140(12), 3179-3190. doi: 10.1093/brain/awx263.
  • 8) Gallea C, Herath P, Voon V, Lerner A, Ostuni J, Saad Z, Thada S, Solomon J, Horovitz SG, Hallett M (2017)
  • Loss of inhibition in sensorimotor networks in focal hand dystonia
  • Neuroimage Clin, 2017 Oct 13;17:90-97, doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2017.10.011. eCollection 2018.
  • 9) Hanakawa T, Goldfine AM, Hallett M (2017)
  • A Common Function of Basal Ganglia-Cortical Circuits Subserving Speed in Both Motor and Cognitive Domains
  • eNeuro. 2017 Dec 8;4(6). pii: ENEURO.0200-17.2017 , doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0200-17.2017. , eCollection 2017 Nov-Dec.
  • 10) Ekanayake V, Kranick S, LaFaver K, Naz A, Frank Webb A, LaFrance WC Jr, Hallett M, Voon V (2017)
  • Personality traits in psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) and psychogenic movement disorder (PMD): Neuroticism and perfectionism
  • J Psychosom Res.2017 Jun;97:23-29 , doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores , 2017.03.018. Epub 2017 Mar 27.
  • 11) Nahab FB, Kundu P, Maurer C, Shen Q, Hallett M (2017)
  • Impaired sense of agency in functional movement disorders: An fMRI study
  • PLoS One , 2017 Apr 27;12(4):e0172502 .doi: 10.1371., journal.pone.0172502. eCollection 2017
  • 12) Maurer CW, LaFaver K, Ameli R, Epstein SA, Hallett M, Horovitz SG (2016)
  • Impaired self-agency in functional movement disorders: A resting-state fMRI study
  • Neurology . 2016 Aug 9. 587(6);64-70. , doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002940, Epub 2016 Jul 6.
  • 13) Snijders AH, Takakusaki K, Debu B, Lozano AM, Krishna V, Fasano A, Aziz TZ, Papa SM, Factor SA, Hallett M (2016)
  • Physiology of freezing of gait
  • Ann Neurol, 2016 Nov;80(5), 644-659. doi: 10.1002/ana.24778. Review.
  • 14) Muessgens DM, Thirugnanasambandam N, Shitara H, Popa T, Hallett M (2016)
  • Dissociable roles of preSMA in motor sequence chunking and hand switching - a TMS study
  • J Neurophysiol, 2016 Dec 1;116(6), 2637-2646. doi: 10.1152/jn.00565.2016.
  • 15) Gallea C, Horovitz SG, 'Ali Najee-Ullah M, Hallett M (2016)
  • Impairment of a parieto-premotor network specialized for handwriting in writer's cramp
  • Hum Brain Mapp, 2016 Dec;37(12), 4363-4375. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23315.
  • 16) Chao CC, Karabanov AN, Paine R, Carolina de Campos A, Kukke SN, Wu T, Wang H, Hallett M. (2015)
  • Induction of Motor Associative Plasticity in the Posterior Parietal Cortex-Primary Motor Network
  • Cereb Cortex, 25, 365-373
  • 17) Mari Z, Halls AJM, Vortmeyer A, Zhukareva V, Uryu K, Lee VMY, Hallett M. (2014)
  • Clinico-Pathological Correlation in Progressive Ataxia and Palatal Tremor: A Novel Tauopathy
  • Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, 1, 50-56
  • 18) Kukke SN, Paine RW, Chao CC, de Campos AC, Hallett M. (2014)
  • Efficient and reliable characterization of the corticospinal system using transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, 31, 246-252
  • 19) Pirio Richardson S, Beck S, Bliem B, Hallett M. (2014)
  • Abnormal dorsal premotor-motor inhibition in writer's cramp
  • Movement Disorders, 29, 797-803
  • 20) Berman BD, Hallett M, Herscovitch P, Simonyan K. (2013)
  • Striatal dopaminergic dysfunction at rest and during task performance in writer's cramp
  • Brain, 136, 3645-3658
  • 21) Horovitz SG, Gallea C, Majee-Ullah M', Hallett M. (2013)
  • Functional anatomy of writing with the dominant hand
  • PLoS One, 8, e67931
  • 22) Voon V, Ekanayake V, Wiggs E, Kranick S, Ameli R, Harrison NA, Hallett M. (2013)
  • Response inhibition in motor conversion disorder
  • Movement Disorders, 28, 612-618
  • 23) Haubenberger D, McCrossin G, Lungu C, Considine E, Toro C, Nahab FB, Auh S, Buchwald P, Grimes GJ, Starling J, Potti G, Scheider L, Kalowitz D, Bowen D, Carnie A, Hallett M. (2013)
  • Octanoic acid in alcohol-responsive essential tremor: A randomized controlled study
  • Neurology, 80, 933-940
  • 24) Wu T, Hallett M. (2013)
  • The cerebellum in Parkinson's disease
  • Brain, 136, 696-709
  • 25) Kranz G, Shamim EA, Lin PT, Kranz GS, Hallett M. (2013)
  • Long-term depression-like plasticity of the blink reflex for the treatment of blepharospasm
  • Movement Disorders, 28, 498-503
  • 26) Kranick, SM, Hallett, M. (2013)
  • Neurology of Volition.
  • Experimental Brain Research, 229, 313-327
  • 27) Beck S, Hallett M. (2011)
  • Surround inhibition in the motor system
  • Brain Res. 2011 Apr, 210(2), 243-50. Epub 2011 Mar 23.
  • 28) Bai O, Rathi V, Lin P, Huang D, Battapady H, Fei DY, Schneider L, Houdayer E, Chen X, Hallett M (2011)
  • Prediction of human voluntary movement before it occurs
  • Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Feb, 122(2), 364-72. Epub 2010 Aug 2
  • 29) Benninger DH, Berman BD, Houdayer E, Pal N, Luckenbaugh DA, Schneider L, Miranda S, Hallett M (2011)
  • Intermittent theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment of Parkinson disease
  • Neurology. 2011 Feb 15, 76(7), 601-9
  • 30) Nahab FB, Kundu P, Gallea C, Kakareka J, Pursley R, Pohida T, Miletta N, Friedman J, Hallett M (2011)
  • The Neural Processes Underlying Self-Agency
  • Cereb Cortex. 2011 Jan, 21(1), 48-55. Epub 2010 Apr 8
  • 31) Voon V, Gao J, Brezing C, Symmonds M, Ekanayake V, Fernandez H, Dolan RJ, Hallett M. (2011)
  • Dopamine agonists and risk: impulse control disorders in Parkinson's; disease
  • Brain. 2011 May, 134(Pt 5), 1438-46
  • 32) Nahab FB, Wittevrongel L, Ippolito D, Toro C, Grimes GJ, Starling J, Potti G, Haubenberger D, Bowen D, Buchwald P, Dong C, Kalowitz D, Hallett M. (2011)
  • An Open-Label, Single-Dose, Crossover Study of the Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism of Two Oral Formulations of 1-Octanol in Patients with Essential Tremor
  • Neurotherapeutics. 2011 May 19, [Epub ahead of print]
  • 33) Jin SH, Lin P, Auh S, Hallett M (2011)
  • Abnormal functional connectivity in focal hand dystonia: Mutual information analysis in EEG
  • Mov Disord. 2011 Jun, 26(7), 1274-81.[Epub 2011 Apr 19; doi: 10.1002/mds.23675]
  • 34) Voon V, Brezing C, Gallea C, Ameli R, Roelofs K, Lafrance WC Jr, Hallett M (2010)
  • Emotional stimuli and motor conversion disorder
  • Brain. 2010 May, 133(Pt 5), 1526-36
  • 35) Herath P, Gallea C, van der Veen JW, Horovitz SG, Hallett M (2010)
  • In vivo neurochemistry of primary focal hand dystonia: A magnetic resonance spectroscopic neurometabolite profiling study at 3T
  • Mov Disord. 2010 Dec 15, 25(16), 2800-8
  • 36) Voon V, Pessiglione M, Brezing C, Gallea C, Fernandez HH, Dolan RJ, Hallett M (2010)
  • Mechanisms underlying dopamine-mediated reward bias in compulsive behaviors
  • Neuron. 2010 Jan 14, 65(1), 135-42
  • 37) Tamura Y, Matsuhashi M, Lin P, Ou B, Vorbach S, Kakigi R, Hallett M. (2008)
  • Impaired intracortical inhibition in the primary somatosensory cortex in focal hand dystonia.
  • Mov Disord., 15;23(4), 558-65
  • 38) Defazio G, Berardelli A, Hallett M. (2007)
  • Do primary adult-onset focal dystonias share aetiological factors?
  • Brain, May;130(Pt 5), 1183-93
  • 39) Hallett M. (2007)
  • Volitional control of movement: the physiology of free will.
  • Clin Neurophysiol, Jun;118(6), 1179-92
  • 40) Hallett M. (2007)
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Primer
  • Neuron, Jul 19;55(2), 187-199
  • 41) Lomarev MP, Kanchana S, Bara-Jimenez W, Iyer M, Wassermann EM, Hallett M. (2006)
  • Placebo-controlled study of rTMS for the treatment of Parkinson's disease
  • Movement Disorders, 21, 325-331
  • 42) Bohlhalter S, Goldfine A, Matteson S, Garraux G, Hanakawa T, Kansaku K, Wurzman R, Hallett M (2006)
  • Neural correlates of tic generation in Tourette syndrome: an event-related functional MRI study
  • Brain, Aug;129(Pt 8), 2029-37
  • 43) Fridman EA, Immisch I, Hanakawa T, Bohlhalter S, Waldvogel D, Kansaku K,Wheaton L, Wu T, Hallett M (2006)
  • The role of the dorsal stream for gesture
  • Neuroimage, 29, 417-428
  • 44) Wu, T, Hallett, M (2005)
  • A functional MRI study of automatic movements in patients with Parkinson's disease
  • Brain
  • 45) Voller B, St Clair Gibson A, Lomarev M, Kanchana S, Dambrosia J, Dang N, Hallett M (2005)
  • Long-latency afferent inhibition during selective finger movement
  • Journal of Neurophysiology
  • 46) Garraux G, McKinney C, Wu T, Kansaku K, Nolte G, Hallett M (2005)
  • Shared brain areas but not functional connections controlling movement timing and order
  • Journal of Neuroscience , 25, 5290-7
  • 47) Garraux G, Bauer A, Hanakawa T, Wu T, Kansaku K, Hallett M (2004)
  • Changes in brain anatomy in focal hand dystonia
  • Annals of Neurology, 55, 736-739
  • 48) Sohn YH, Hallett M (2004)
  • Disturbed surround inhibition in focal hand dystonia
  • Annals of Neurology, 56, 595-599
  • 49) Hanakawa, T., Parikh, S., Bruno, M.K., Hallett, M (2004)
  • Finger and face representations in the ipsilateral precentral motor areas in humans
  • Journal of Neurophysiology
  • 50) Muellbacher, W., Ziemann, U., Wissel, J., Dang, N., Kofler, M., Facchini, S., Boroojerdi, B., Poewe, W., Hallett, M. (2002)
  • Early consolidation in human primary motor cortex
  • Nature , 415, 640-644
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