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Associate Professor Michael Ridding

Telephone 831 37592
Position NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Fax 0 8313 3356
Building WCH - Norwich Centre
Floor/Room G 15
Campus Women's & Children's Hospital
Org Unit Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Biography/ Background


1996 PhD. Corticocortical connections in man. University of London.
1991 MSc. Human and Applied Physiology. University of London.
1987 HNC. Medical Physics and Physiological Measurement.
1985 ONC. Medical Physics and Physiological Measurement.

Current Appointments

Senior Research Fellow (from Jan 2014)
Neuromotor Plasticity & Development Research Group,
School of Paediatrics & Reproductive Health,
The Robinson Institute,
The University of Adelaide

Research Overview

In 2009, the Human Sensorimotor Plasticity group headed by Associate Professor Mike Ridding and the Developmental Neuromotor Physiology group headed by Dr Julia Pitcher joined the Robinson Institute and formed the Neuromotor Plasticity and Development (NeuroPAD) research group. Mike is internationally-renowned for his pioneering work in human brain plasticity induction, and Julia is attracting increasing recognition for her novel use of neurophysiologic techniques to unravel the links between motor and cognitive development in preterm children. The research interests of the group encompass neuromotor development and neuroplasticity across the human lifespan, from prenatal and early postnatal factors influencing motor development, through to therapeutic uses of induced neuroplasticity in ageing and neuropathological disorders such as stroke and the dystonias. The aim of the group's research is to inform and develop therapeutic interventions to develop, maintain and rehabilitate human motor function. NeuroPAD collaborates widely with clinicians and scientists from a range of disciplines including motor control neuroscientists, neurologists, neonatologists, obstetricians, psychologists, paediatricians, anaesthetists, physiotherapists and clinical epidemiologists. NeuroPAD is housed in four new purpose-built laboratories in the Robinson Institute next to the Women's and Children's Hospital, and is fully equipped with state of the art transcranial magnetic brain stimulators with neuronavigation, high-density EEG and human neurophysiological recording systems.

NeuroPAD group members

Assoc/Prof Michael Ridding: Co-leader

Dr Julia Pitcher: Co-leader

Dr Nicolette Hodyl: NHMRC Peter Doherty Reserach Fellow

Dr Michael Stark: Neonatologist

Dr Luke Schneider: Post Doctoral Researcher

Mr John Drysdale: Senior Paediatric Physiotherapist/Research Assistant

Dr Mitchell Goldsworthy: Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Dr Ann-Maree Vallence: Post Doctoral Researcher

Mr Ruiting Yang: Biomedical Engineer

Mr Sam Darvishi: PhD student

Mr James Swift: PhD student



Prof John C Rothwell (University College, London, UK)

Prof Ulf Ziemann (University of Tubingen, Tubingen, Germany)

Prof Angela Clow (University of Westminster, London, UK)

Prof Lorimer Moseley (Univeristy of South Australia)

Prof Paul Rolan (University of Adelaide)

Dr John Semmler (University of Adelaide)

Awards & Achievements

2008        National Health & Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship
2003   Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellowship
2003   Elizabeth Penfold Simpson Prize for Neuroscience. Awarded by the Australian Brain Foundation.
2001   Finalist The 2001 Eureka Awards - Prize for Scientific Research
  (Sponsored by the University of New South Wales)

 Current Research Projects

My current research interests lie in the field of motor cortical plasticity or the capacity of the motor cortex to reorganise its connections with experience. Plasticity is important for learning and recovery from brain injury. I employ non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (including transcranial magnetic stimulation) to experimentally induce plasticity in the motor cortex of human subjects. While these approaches have considerable potential for treatment of neurological conditions their efficacy is, at present, limited due to high response variability. Our current research projects include:

  1. Establishing the influence of genetic variations on plasticity induction
  2. Characterising changes in corticalplasticity after stroke
  3. Examination of the influence of premature birth on neuroplasticity capacity
  4. Development of novel stimulation paradigms to induce lasting neuroplasticity

PhD student position (2014)

We are looking for a motivated PhD student to work on a NHMRC funded project examining neuroplasticity in acute stroke patients. Experience in TMS and human neurophysiological techniques desirable. A top up schoalrship may be available for the right individual. Please contact Mike Ridding for further information.

Research Funding

National Health and Medical Research Council
Australian Research Council
Australian Academy of Science
Wellcome Trust
Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundation
Ian Potter Foundation


Publications in last 5 years

Book chapters

  1. W. Paulus, A.V. Peterchev and M. Ridding (2013). Transcranial electrical and magnetic stimulation:technique and paradigms Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Vol. 116 (3rd series). Brain Stimulation. Edited by Andres M Lozano and Mark Hallett. Elsevier B.V.
  2. P.M. Rossini & M.C. Ridding. (2012). Neurophysiological (Mainly Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Techniques to Test Functional Neuroanatomy of Cortico-Cortical Connectivity. In Transcranial Brain Stimulation. Frontiers in Neuroscience Series. Editors Carlo Miniussi, Walter Paulus, Paolo M Rossini. CRC Press. (978-1-43-987570-4).
  3. J.B. Pitcher, L.A. Schneider, J.L. Drysdale, M.C. Ridding & J.A. Owens (2011). Motor System Development of the Preterm and Low Birthweight Infant. Clinics in Perinatology (In press)

Invited reviews

  1. L. Chipchase, S. Schabrun, L.G. Cohen, P. Hodges, M. Ridding, J. Rothwell, J. Taylor, U. Ziemann. A checklist for assessing the methodological quality of studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation to study the motor system: an international consensus study. Clin Neurophysiol 2012 123(9) 1698-1704.
  2. J.B. Pitcher, L.A. Schneider, J.L. Drysdale, M.C. Ridding, J.A. Owens. Motor system development of the preterm and low birthweight infant. Clin Perinatol 2011 38(4), 605-25.
  3. M.C. Ridding & U. Ziemann. Determinants of the induction of cortical plasticity by non-invasive brain stimulation in healthy subjects. J Physiol. 2010 588(13), 2291-2304.
  4. G. Todd and M.C. Ridding. The response to repetitive stimulation of human motor cortex is influenced by the history of synaptic activity. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience 2010 28(4):459-67.
  5. M.V. Sale, M.C. Ridding, M.A. Nordstrom. Circadian modulation of neuroplasticity in humans, and potential therapeutic implication. Reviews in the Neurosciences 2010 21(1), 55-66.
  6. A. Berardelli, G. Abbruzzese, R. Chen R, M Orth, M.C. Ridding, C. Stinear, A Suppa, C. Trompetto, P.D. Thompson. Consensus paper on SICI and other TMS intracortical paradigms in movement disorders. Brain Stimulation 2008 1(3), 183-191.


  1. M.N. McDonnell, S.L. Hillier & M.C. Ridding. Effect of wrist position on sensorimotor processing in the grip-lift task. Clin Neurophysiol 2009 120(12), 2114.

Refereed Journal articles

  1. M.N. McDonnell, J.D. Buckley, G.M. Opie, M.C. Ridding, J.G. Semmler. A single bout of aerobic exercise promotes motor cortical neuroplasticity. Accepted for publication 28/02/13 J Appl Physiol (#JAPPL-01378-2012R2).
  2. D.T. Weise, J.J. Mann, M.C. Ridding, K. Eskandar, M. Huss, J. Rumpf, V. Di Lazzaro, P. Mazzone, F. Ranieri, and J. Classen. Microcircuit mechanisms involved in paired associative stimulation-induced depression of corticospinal excitability. Accepted for publication 12/07/13 J Physiol (#JPHYSIOL/2013/253989).
  3. A.M. Vallence, L. Kurylowicz, M.C. Ridding. Neuroplastic responses to non-invasive brain stimulation protocols and motor learning are not correlated in healthy adults. Accepted for publication Neurosci Lett (# NSL-13-658R1. 01/06/13).
  4. R.K. Andrews, S.M. Schabrun, M.C. Ridding, M. Galea, P.W. Hodges and L.S. Chipchase. The effect of electrical stimulation on corticospinal excitability is dependent on application duration: a same subject pre-post test design. Accepted for publication Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation (6/6/13. MS: #2075763836754341).
  5. M.V. Sale, M.C. Ridding, M.A. Nordstrom. Time of day does not modulate improvements in motor performance following a repetitive ballistic motor training task. Accepted for publication Neural Plasticity (#396865; 18/02/13).
  6. G.M. Opie, P.G. Catcheside, Z.A. Usmani, M.C. Ridding, J.G. Semmler. Motor Cortex Plasticity induced by Theta Burst Stimulation is Impaired in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Accepted for publication Eur J Neurosci (27/02/13, ms# EJN-2012-11-20068R1).
  7. S.M. Schabrun, L.S. Chipchase, M.C. Ridding. Harnessing the brain's potential to change. Accepted for publication 13/09/12 Physiotherapy Practice and Research (# 12-12-R).
  8. S. M. Schabrun, D Weise, M.C. Ridding, J Classen. A new temporal window for inducing depressant associative plasticity in human primary motor cortex. Accepted for publication 11/01/13 Clinical Neurophysiology (CLINPH-D-12-6140R1).
  9. A.M. Vallence, A. Smith, A. Tabor, P. Rolan, M.C. Ridding. Chronic tension-type headache is associated with impaired motor learning. Accepted for publication Cephalgia (CHA-00517-FT-2012.R1)
  10. S.M. Schabrun, M.C. Ridding, M. Galea, P.W. Hodges, L.S. Chipchase. Primary sensory and motor cortex excitability are co-modulated in response to peripheral electrical nerve stimulation. Accepted for publication PLOS One (# PONE-D-12-22553).
  11. Julia B. Pitcher, Alysha M. Riley, Sebastian H. Doeltgen, Lisa Kurylowicz, John C. Rothwell, Suzanne M. McAllister, Ashleigh E. Smith, Angela Clow, David J. Kennaway, Michael C. Ridding. Physiological evidence consistent with reduced neuroplasticity in human adolescents born preterm. J Neurosci 2012 32(46), 16410-16416.
  12. J.B. Pitcher, L.A. Schneider, N.R. Burns, J.L. Drysdale, R.D.Higgins, M.C. Ridding, T.J. Nettelbeck, R.R. Haslam, & J.S.Robinson. Reduced corticomotor excitability and motor skills in children born preterm. J Physiol 2012 590(22), 5827-44.
  13. M. Goldsworthy, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. A comparison of two different continuous theta burst stimulation paradigms applied to the human primary motor cortex. Clin Neurophysiol 2012 123(11), 2256-2263.
  14. M. Goldsworthy, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. Neuroplastic modulation of inhibitory motor cortical networks by spaced theta burst stimulation protocols. Brain Stim 2012 (Jul 5 Epub ahead of print).
  15. S.H. Doeltgen, S.H. McAllister, M.C. Ridding. Simultaneous application of slow-oscillation transcranial direct current stimulation and theta burst stimulation prolongs theta burst stimulation-induced suppression of corticomotor excitability in humans. Eur J Neurosci. 2012 36(5), 2661-2668.
  16. M. Goldsworthy, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. The application of spaced rTMS protocols induces long-lasting neuroplastic changes in the human motor cortex. Eur J Neurosci 2012 35(1), 125-34.
  17. J. Cirillo, J. Hughes, M.C. Ridding, P. Q. Thomas and J.G. Semmler. Differential modulation of motor cortex excitability in BDNF Met allele carriers following experimentally induced and use-dependent plasticity. Eur J Neurosci 2012 36, 2640-2649.
  18. S.H. Doeltgen, M.C. Ridding. Modulation of cortical motor networks following primed theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation. Exp Brain Res 2011 215:199-206.
  19. A.S. Smith, M.C. Ridding, R.D. Higgins, G.A. Wittert & J.B. Pitcher. Cutaneous afferent input does not modulate motor intracortical inhibition in ageing men. Eur J Neurosci 2011 34(9), 1461-9.
  20. S.M. McAllister, J.C. Rothwell, M.C. Ridding. Cortical oscillatory activity and the induction of plasticity in the human motor cortex. Eur J Neurosci 2011 33(10), 1916-24.
  21. S.H. Doeltgen, M. C. Ridding. Low-intensity, short-interval Theta Burst Stimulation modulates excitatory but not inhibitory motor networks. Clin Neurophysiol 2011 122(7), 1411-6.
  22. S.H. Doeltgen, M. C. Ridding, J. Dalrymple-Alford, M.L. Huckabee. Task-dependent Differences in Corticobulbar Excitability of the Submental Motor Projections: Implications for Neural Control of Swallowing. Brain Research Bulletin 2011 84(1), 88-93.
  23. S.H. Doeltgen, M. C. Ridding, J. Dalrymple-Alford, M.L. Huckabee. Differential Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Parameters on Submental Motor Evoked Potentials. Neurorehab and Neural Repair 2010 24(6), 519-527.
  24. S. H. Doeltgen & M.C. Ridding. Behavioural exposure and sleep do not modify corticospinal and intracortical excitability in the human motor system. Clin Neurophysiol 2010 121, 448-452.
  25. G. Todd, J.L. Taylor, J.E. Butler, S.R. Duma, M. Hayes, F. Carew-Jones, O. Piguet, S. Behnke, M.C. Ridding, D. Baumann, D. Berg, K.L. Double. Substantia nigra echomorphology and motor cortex excitability. Neuroimage 2010 50(4), 1351-6.
  26. G. Todd, T.E. Kimber, M. C. Ridding, J. G. Semmler. Reduced motor cortex plasticity following inhibitory rTMS in older adults. Clin Neurophysiol 2010 121, 441-447.
  27. J. Cirillo, A. Lavender, M.C. Ridding, and J. Semmler. Motor Cortex Plasticity Induced by Paired Associative Stimulation is Enhanced in Physically Active Individuals. J Physiol 2009 587(24), 5834-5842.
  28. A.E. Smith, M.C. Ridding, R.D. Higgins, G.A. Wittert, J.B. Pitcher. Age-related changes in short-latency motor cortex inhibition. Exp Brain Res 2009 198(4), 489-500.
  29. S.M. Schabrun, C. Stinear, W. D. Byblow & M.C. Ridding. Normalising motor cortex representations in focal hand dystonia. Cerebral Cortex 2009 19, 1968-1977.
  30. G. Todd, S.C. Flavel, & M.C. Ridding. Priming theta burst repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation with low and high frequency stimulation. Exp Brain Res 2009 195(2), 307-15.
  31. S.M. McAllister, J.C. Rothwell, M.C. Ridding. Selective modulation of intracortical inhibition by low-intensity Theta Burst Stimulation. Clin Neurophysiol 2009 120(4), 820-826.
  32. G. Todd, N.G. Rogasch, S.C. Flavel, & M.C. Ridding. Voluntary movement and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over human motor cortex. J Appl Physiol 2009 106(5):1593-603.
  33. S.H. Doeltgen, M.C. Ridding, G.A. O'Beirne, J. Dalrymple-Alford, M. Huckabee. Test-retest reliability of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) at the submental muscle group during volitional swallowing. J Neurosci Meth 2009 178, 134-137.
  34. M.V. Sale, M.C. Ridding, M.A. Nordstrom. Cortisol inhibits neuroplasticity induction in human motor cortex. J Neurosci 2008 28(33): 8285-93.
  35. S.M. Schabrun, M.C. Ridding, T.S. Miles. Role of the primary motor and sensory cortex in precision grasping: a transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Eur J Neurosci 2008 27(3), 750-756.


Professional Associations

Australian Neuroscience Society

Society for Neuroscience (USA)

Movement Disorder Society

Entry last updated: Thursday, 2 Jul 2015

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