Joyce Chen

Dr. Joyce Chen

  • Assistant Professor, Motor Learning
  • Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Member, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute
55 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2W6

About Joyce

Academic Training
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Experimental Psychology and FMRIB, University of Oxford
  • PhD, Neurological Sciences, McGill University
  • BSc Physical Therapy, McGill University

I trained and worked as a physiotherapist in Montreal, specializing in the rehabilitation of movements after brain injury such as stroke. The brain has always fascinated me because of its ability to change, in response to injury and training. I obtained my PhD at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, where my research elucidated the neural basis for how we synchronize our actions with sounds - something you might find yourself doing when tapping to the beat of music or dancing.

The aim of my present research is to discover the limits of the brain’s plasticity. Using fundamental and applied research approaches, we want to understand how far can we push motor performance in a musician or athlete, and find ways to enhance the brain's plasticity so that people with stroke can improve their capacity to move.

Graduate Student Recruitment Status
Accepting PhD and MSc students
Research Interests

Motor learning
Music perception and production
Stroke motor recovery and rehabilitation

Selected Publications

Lam TK, Binns MA, Dawson DD, Honjo K, Ross B, Stuss DT, Black SE, Chen JJ, Fujioka T,
Chen JL. Neuroimaging Measures of Structural and Functional Integrity of the Motor
System Predicts Motor Ability in Chronic Stroke Individuals. Scientific Report

Chen JL. Theoretical and practical considerations: music-supported therapy for stroke
motor recovery. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2018; doi:

Fujioka T, Wright R, Chen JL, Chen JJ, Black SE, Stuss DT, Dawson DR, Ross B. The effects
of music-supported rehabilitation on motor, cognitive, and psychosocial functions in
chronic stroke. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2018; doi:

Lam TK, Dawson DD, Honjo K, Ross B, Binns MA, Stuss DT, Black SE, Chen JJ, Levine BT,
Fujioka T, Chen JL. Neural coupling between contralesional motor and frontoparietal
networks correlates with motor ability in individuals with chronic stroke. Journal of the
Neurological Sciences 2017;384:21-29.

Fujii S, Lulic T, Chen JL. More feedback is better than less: Learning a novel upper limb
joint coordination pattern with augmented auditory feedback. Frontiers in Neuroscience

Chen JL, Fujii S, Schlaug G. The use of augmented auditory feedback to improve arm
reaching in stroke: a case series. Disability and Rehabilitation 2016;38(11):1115-24.

Currently Funded Projects

Joyce Chen (PI), Mindy Levin, Robert Chen, Jodi Edwards, Sara McEwen, Gottfried
Schlaug, Alexander Thiel, Rick Swartz, Alex Kiss. Towards a personalized approach to
stroke motor recovery with transcranial direct current stimulation. Heart and Stroke
Foundation, Grant-in-Aid, 2016 – 2019.

Joyce Chen (PI). I hear movements: why motor brain regions are active when we listen
to musical rhythms. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada,
Discovery Grant, 2015 – 2020.

Professional Memberships

American Society of Neurorehabilitation