Matthew Tresch, PhD - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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  • Only Hospital Ranked #1 in America by U.S. News & World Report since 1991
  • 800,000+ outpatient visits each year
  • 5,000+ inpatients treated each year, system-wide
  • 50+ sites of care throughout Illinois and Indiana
  • One of only 2% of hospitals to receive three consecutive Magnet Recognitions for Nursing Excellence.
  • 182-bed inpatient hospital in the heart of Chicago
  • Largest rehabilitation research center in the world
  • Only rehabilitation hospital with eight federally designated research centers
  • 370+ active research projects in neuroscience, bionics, robotics, and musculoskeletal medicine
  • Academic home of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Department, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

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Matthew Tresch

Matthew Tresch, PhD

  • Associate Professor, PM&R and BME, Northwestern University


Education, Residency and Internship


Wesleyan University, BA, Psychology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD Neuroscience


University of Copenhagen, Post Doctoral Fellow

Additional Information

Research Profile 

Teaching or Professional Positions

Associate Professor, PM&R and BME, Northwestern University

Honors & Awards

1998 Best presentation, Scandinavian Physiological Congress, Lund.
1995 Angus McDonald award for dedication in teaching, MIT.
1993 Howard Hughes predoctoral fellowship
1993 Honorable Mention, Department of Defense predoctoral fellowship.
1992 Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University.
1992 Watson Prize for psychology research, Wesleyan University.
1989 Friedman prize for promise in physics, Wesleyan University.


Berniker M., Jarc A., Bizzi E. and Tresch M.C. Low-dimensional control of biological motor systems. In revision, PNAS.

S-H. Yeo, M. C. Tresch, D. K. Pai, (2008) Optimal Design of Musculoskeletal Models Using Force Field Data. in Proc. 30th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Eng Med and Biol Soc, Vancouver, Canada, August 20-24, 2008.

Tresch MC (2007) A balanced view of motor control.
Nature Neuroscience 10(10):1227-1228.

Tresch M.C., Cheung V.C.K., and d’Avella A. (2006) Matrix factorization algorithms for the identification of muscle synergies: evaluation on simulated and experimental data sets. J. Neurophysiology 95(4):2199-212.

Richardson AG, Tresch MC, Bizzi E, and Slotine J-JE (2005) Stability analysis of nonlinear muscle dynamics using contraction theory. Proc 27th IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 27:4986-4989.

Cheung V.C.K. and Tresch M.C. (2005) Non-negative matrix factorization algorithms modeling noise distributions within the exponential family. Proc 27th IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 27: 4990-4993.

Cunningham MG, Donalds RA, Scouten CW, Tresch MC. (2005) A versatile, low-cost adaptor for stereotaxic and electrophysiologic spinal preparations in juvenile and adult rodents. Brain Res Bull. 68:157-62.

Cheung V.C.K., d’Avella A., Tresch M.C., and Bizzi E. (2005) Central and sensory contributions to the activation and organization of muscle synergies during natural motor behaviors. J Neuroscience 25:6419-34.

Richardson A., Slotine J.-J., Bizzi E., and Tresch M.C. (2005) Intrinsic musculoskeletal properties stabilize wiping movements in the spinalized frog. J. Neuroscience 25:3181-3191.

Perrier J.-F. and Tresch, M.C. (2005) Recruitment of motor neuronal persistent inward currents shapes withdrawal reflexes in the frog. J Physiology 562:507-20.

Tresch M.C. and Kiehn O. (2002) Synchronization of motor neurons during locomotion in the neonatal rat: predictors and mechanisms. J. Neuroscience, 22:9997-10008.

d’Avella A. and Tresch M.C. (2002) Modularity in the motor system: decomposition of muscle patterns as combinations of time-varying synergies. In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 14, Dietterich T.G., Becker S., and Ghahramani Z. (eds.), MIT Press.

Tresch M.C., Saltiel P., d’Avella A., and Bizzi E. (2002) Coordination and localization in spinal motor systems. Brain Res. Rev. 40:66-79.

Bizzi E., d’Avella A., Saltiel P., and Tresch M.C. (2002) Modular organization of spinal motor systems.
Neuroscientist 8:437-442.

Kiehn O., and Tresch M.C. (2002) Gap junctions and motor behavior. Trends Neurosci. 25:108-115.

Saltiel P., Wyler-Duda K., d'Avella A., Tresch M.C., and Bizzi E. (2001) Muscle synergies encoded within the spinal cord: evidence from focal intraspinal NMDA iontophoresis in the frog. J Neurophysiol 85:605-619.

Research Interests

examining the strategies and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the coordination of movement by the spinal cord

Office Information