Ashwini K. Rao,OTR/L, EdD, FAOTA


Associate Professor of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine at CUMC, Program in Physical Therapy and G.H. Sergievsky Center


Post Doctoral Training: Computational Motor Control, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Post Doctoral Training: Movement Sciences, Columbia University
EdD, Movement Science (Motor Control and Learning), Teacher’s College/Columbia University
MA, Occupational Therapy (Developmental Disabilities), New York University
Post-Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation, All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
BOT, Occupational Therapy, Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi, India

Clinical Interests

Occupational Therapy
Neurological Rehabilitation
Movement Disorders

Honors and Awards

December 2012       Fellow, American Occupational Therapy Association
November 2012       Keynote Speaker, Huntington Study Group, Clinical Research Symposium
September 2009      Keynote Speaker, European Gaitrite Meeting
February 2009         Invited Key Speaker, European Huntington’s Disease Network, Physiotherapy working group
July 2008-present    Associate Editor, American Journal of Occupational Therapy
October 2007          Invited speaker, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation 50th Anniversary Educational Symposium

Research Interests

Sensori-motor impairments and functional limitations in movement disorders
Mechanisms underlying motor impairments and functional limitations

Specific projects:
1) Motor and functional limitations in Huntington’s disease
2) Gait and balance impairments in Essential Tremor
3) Motor and functional limitations in Parkinson’s disease
4) Relationship of gait impairments and brain function in Alzheimer’s disease

Teaching Responsibilities

Evidence Based Practice I
Evidence Based Practice II
Research Practicum
Motor Neuroscience (7 lectures)
PT Management of the Adult with Neurological Conditions (1 lecture)

Recent Scholarly Productivity (2011-present)


1. Louis ED and Rao AK. Tandem Gait Performance in Essential Tremor Patients Correlates with Cognitive Function. Cerebellum and Ataxias. 2015. 1:19

2. Rao AK, Marder KS, Uddin J, Rakitin BC. Variability in interval production is due to timing dependent deficits in Huntington’s disease. Movement Disorders.  2014. 29(12): 1516-1522. PMID: 25154339 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC4188696.

3. Abbruzzese LD, Rao AK Bellows R, Figueroa K, Levy J, Lim E, Puccio. Effects of manual task complexity on gait parameters in school-aged children and adults. Gait and Posture. 2014. 20(4): 658-663. PMID: 25168911.

4. Rao AK, Gilman A, Louis ED. Balance Confidence and Falls in Non-Demented Essential Tremor Patients: The Role of Cognition. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2014. 95(10): 1832-1837. PMID: 24769121 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC4182140

5. Rao AK. Occupational Therapy in Chronic Progressive Disorders: Enhancing Function and Modifying Disease. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2014;68(3):251-253. PMID: 24797187.

6. Montes J, Dunaway S, Ewing Garber C, Sproule D, Chiriboga C, De Vivo DC, Rao AK. The evaluation of leg muscle function and fatigue during walking in spinal muscular atrophy. Muscle and Nerve. 2014. 50(1): 34-39. PMID: 24122959.

7. Rao AK, Chiu A, Bursley B, Sulofsky J, Jezequel J. Systematic Review of the effects of exercise on activities of daily living in people with Alzheimer’s disease. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2014. 68(1): 50-56. PMID: 24367955.

8. Louis ED, Galecki M, Rao AK. Four essential tremor cases with moderately impaired gait: how impaired can gait be in this disease? Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov 2013; 3: PMID: 24255798 PMCID: PMC3822047

9. Montes J, Blumenschine M, Dunaway S, Alter AS, Engelstad K, Rao AK, Chiriboga C, Sproule D, DeVivo DC. Weakness and fatigue in diverse neuromuscular disorders. Journal of Child Neurology. 2013. 28(10) 1277-1283. PMID: 23847297.

10. Rao AK, Uddin J, Gillman A, Louis ED. Cognitive motor interference during dual-task gait in Essential Tremor. Gait and Posture. 2013. 38: 403–409. PMID: 23369662 PMCID: PMC3679258.

11. Rao AK. Measuring function in chronic progressive disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2013. 67(5): 499-501. PMID: 23968786.

12. Montes J, McIsaac TL, Dunaway S, Kamil-Rosenberg S, Sproule D, Garber CE, De Vivo DC, Rao AK. Falls and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA): exploring cause and prevention. Muscle and Nerve. 2013. 47(1): 118-23. PMID: 23042039.

13. Gutman SA, Raphael-Greenfield EI, & Rao AK. Increasing Social Skill Use in Adolescents with High Functioning Autism: A 9-Participant Single Subject Design. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention. 2012. 5(3-4), 209-220. PMID: 22917119.

14. Rao AK. Occupational therapy in neurological disorders: Looking ahead to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Centennial Vision. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2012, 66(6): e119-30. PMID: 23106997 PMCID: PMC3665413

15. Quinn L, Busse ME and members of the European Huntington’s Disease Network Physiotherapy working Group. Development of physiotherapy guidance and treatment-based classifications for people with Huntington’s disease. Neurodegenerative Disease Management. 2012, 2(1): 11-19.

16. Quinn L, Busse ME, Heemskerk A-W, Ekwall C, Fritz NE, Kegelmeyer D, Kloos A, Rao AK, Broad M, Dawes H, Hopkins C, Jones U, Khalil H, Meek C, Owen J, Sands, R ,Watters S, Sackley C, Zinzi P. Physiotherapy in Huntington’s Disease: Guidance for practice. Hygeia Public Health. 2012, 47(1): 15-22

17. Gutman SA, Raphael-Greenfield EI, & Rao AK. Effect of a motor-based role-play intervention on the social behaviors of adolescents with high-functioning autism: Multiple-baseline single-subject design. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2012. 66, 529–537. PMID: 22917119. 

18. Louis ED, Rao AK, Gerbin M. Functional correlates of gait and balance difficulty in essential tremor: Balance confidence, near misses and falls. Gait and Posture. 2012 Jan;35(1):43-7. PMID: 21930384 PMCID: PMC3244510

19. Rao AK, Mazzoni PM, Wasserman P and Marder KS. Longitudinal Change in Gait and Motor Function in Pre-manifest Huntington’s Disease. PLoS Curr. 2011 Oct 4;3:RRN1268. PMID: 22008726 PMCID: PMC3193287

20. Rao, A.K. Gillman, A, and Louis, E.D. Quantitative gait analysis in essential tremor reveals impairments that are maintained into advanced age. Gait and Posture. 2011, 34: 65-70. PMID: 21478017 PMCID: PMC3575132.

21. Louis, E.D. and Rao, A.K. Reply: Tandem gait performance in essential tremor. Movement Disorders. 2011, 26(5): 933. PMID: 21425336.

22. Rao, A.K., Marder, K.S. and Gordon, A.M Coordination of fingertip forces during precision grip in premanifest Huntington’s disease. Movement Disorders. 2011, 26(5): 862-869. PMID: 21394785 PMCID: PMC3116202.

23. Montes, J., Dunaway, S., Montgomery, M.J., Sproule, D., Kaufmann, P., De Vivo, D.C., and Rao, A.K. Fatigue Leads to Gait Changes in Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Muscle Nerve. 2011;43(4):485-8. PMID: 21404286.

1. Rao AK Approaches to motor control dysfunction in stroke: An evidence based review. Invited Chapter for Stroke Rehabilitation. 2015. In Press.

2. Rao, A.K. Gait Disorders. In Merritt’s Neurology. ED Louis, S Mayer & L Rowland (Eds.). Philadelphia, PA. Volters-Kluwer. 2015. In Press.

Grants and Funding (ongoing)

Teva Pharmaceutical Products, Inc Marder (PI)  07/01/14- 06/30/16
A Phase 2, Dose-Finding, Randomized, Parallel-Group, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study, Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Pridopidine 67.5 mg, 90 mg, and 112.5 mg Twice-Daily versus Placebo for Symptomatic Treatment in Patients with Huntington’s Disease.
Role: Co-Investigator

National Institute of Health R01 NS042859   Louis (PI)  6/1/03 – 7/31/15
(currently in 2nd cost extension period) 
Pathogenesis of Essential Tremor: Cerebellar Metabolism
Role: Co-I

Professional Activities (2011-present)

1) Associate Editor: American Journal of Occupational Therapy
2) Executive Committee Member: Health Professions Task Force in the International Movement Disorders Society
3) Grant Reviewer for National Science Foundation
4) Grant Reviewer: Irving Institute of Clinical and Translational Research, Columbia University
5) Manuscript Reviewer
• Movement Disorders
• Somatosensory and Motor Research
• Gait and Posture
• Clinical Practice
• Clinical Rehabilitation
• Journal of Huntington’s Disease
• Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
• Journal of Hand Therapy
• Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
• Neurodegenerative Disease Management
• Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
• Neurology
• Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements

Google Scholar Link

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