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Associate Professor Michael Ridding

Telephone +61 8 8313 7592
Position NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Fax +61 8 8313 3356
Building WCH - Norwich Centre
Floor/Room G 15
Campus Womens & Childrens Hospital
Org Unit Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

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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

Professor and Senior Research Fellow (from Jan 2014)
Neuromotor Plasticity & Development Research Group,
School of Medicine,
The Robinson Research 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 Research 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

Prof Michael Ridding: Co-leader

Dr Julia Pitcher: Co-leader

Dr Nicolette Hodyl: Research 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)


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: techniques 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).

Invited reviews
3. B. Hordacre, M.C.Ridding, L. Bradnam. The potential for non-invasive brain stimulation to improve function after amputation. Accepted for publication 2/10/15 Disability and Rehabilitation (ms # TIDS-02-2015-074.R1).
4. A. Suppa, Y.Z. Huang, K. Funke, M.C. Ridding, B. Cheeran, V. Di Lazzaro, U. Ziemann and J.C. Rothwell. Ten Years of Theta Burst Stimulation in Humans: Established Knowledge, Unknowns and Prospects. Accepted for publication Brain Stimulation (ms# BRS-D-15-00500R1).
5. M.R. Goldsworthy, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. Spaced Noninvasive Brain Stimulation: Prospects for Inducing Long-Lasting Human Cortical Plasticity. Neurorehabil Neural Repair 2015 29: 714-21.
6. A.M. Vallence & M.C. Ridding. Non-invasive induction of plasticity in the human cortex: Uses and limitations. Cortex 2014 58C: 261-271.
7. L. Chipchase, S. Schabrun, L.G. Cohen, P. Hodges, M. C. 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.
8. 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.

9. M.R. Goldsworthy, M.C. Ridding, B. Hordacre. Response Variability to Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Protocols. (Editorial) Accepted for publication, Clin Neurophysiol (CLINPH-D-15-8443R1).

Refereed Journal articles
10. L.A. Schneider, N.R. Burns, L.C. Giles, T.J. Nettelbeck, I.L. Hudson, M.C. Ridding, J.B. Pitcher. The influence of motor function on processing speed in preterm and term born children. Accepted for publication 28/09/15 (ms# CNY-OA 15-61.R2). Child Neuropsychology
11. M.R. Goldsworthy, B. Hordacre, M.C. Ridding. Minimum number of trials required for within- and between-session reliability of TMS measures of corticospinal excitability. Accepted for publication 02/02/16 (ms # NSC-16-82). Neuroscience.
12. M.R. Goldsworthy, AM Vallence, R Yang, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding Combined transcranial alternating current stimulation and cTBS: a novel approach for neuroplasticity induction. Accepted for publication 11/15 (ms # EJN-2015-10-23149(R) .R1). Eur J Neurosci. 2015
13. L.A. Schneider, M.R. Goldsworthy, J.P. Cole, M.C. Ridding, J.B. Pitcher. The influence of short-interval intracortical facilitation when assessing developmental changes in short-interval intracortical inhibition. Neuroscience 2015 312:19-25.
14. N.A. Hodyl, L.A. Schneider, AM. Vallence, A. Clow, M.C. Ridding, J.B. Pitcher. The cortisol awakening response influences performance of a serial sequence reaction time task. Accepted for publication 22/12/15 (ms # INTPSY11067). International Journal of Psychophysiology
15. M.N. McDonnell, S Koblar, N.S. Ward, J.C. Rothwell, B. Hordacre, M.C. Ridding. An investigation of cortical neuroplasticity following stroke in adults: is there evidence for a critical window for rehabilitation? BMC Neurology 2015 15:109
16. M.R. Goldsworthy, AM. Vallence, N.A. Hodyl, J.G. Semmler, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. Probing changes in corticospinal excitability following theta burst stimulation of the human primary motor cortex. Clin Neurophysiol 2015 in press 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.06.014).
17. AM. Vallence, M.R. Goldsworthy, N.A. Hodyl, J.G. Semmler, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. Inter- and intra-subject variability of motor cortex plasticity following continuous theta-burst stimulation. Neuroscience 2015 304: 266-278.
18. G.M. Opie, M.C. Ridding, J.G. Semmler. Age-related differences in pre- and post-synaptic motor cortex inhibition are task dependent. Brain Stimulation 2015 8: 926-36.
19. L. Bradnam, L. Graetz, M. N. McDonnell, M.C. Ridding. Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to the cerebellum improves handwriting and cyclic drawing kinematics in focal hand dystonia. Accepted for publication, Front Hum Neurosci 2015 9:286.
20. M.R. Goldsworthy, F. Müller-Dahlhaus, M.C. Ridding, U. Ziemann. Inter-subject Variability of LTD-like Plasticity in Human Motor Cortex: A Matter of Preceding Motor Activation. Brain Stimul. 2014 7: 864-70. Note: M.C.R and U.Z. contributed equally to this work.
21. G.M. Opie, M.C. Ridding, J.G. Semmler. Task-related changes in intracortical inhibition assessed with paired- and triple-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation. J Neurophysiol. 2015 113: 1470-9.
22. J.B. Pitcher, S.H. Doeltgen, M.R. Goldsworthy, L.A. Schneider, A.M. Vallence, A.E. Smith, J.G. Semmler, M.N. McDonnell and M.C. Ridding. A comparison of two methods for estimating 50% of the maximal motor evoked potential. Accepted for publication (14/02/15) Clin Neurophysiol (#CLINPH-D-14-8113R2).
23. M.R. Goldsworthy, F. Müller-Dahlhaus, M.C. Ridding, U. Ziemann. Resistant against de-depression: LTD-like plasticity in the human motor cortex induced by spaced cTBS. Accepted for publication 2/12/13 Cerebral Cortex (#CerCor-2013-00677.R2). Note: M.C.R and U.Z. contributed equally to this work.
24. AM Vallence, L.A. Schneider, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. Long-interval facilitation and inhibition are differentially affected by conditioning stimulus intensity over different time courses. Neurosci Lett. 2014 570: 114-8.
25. L.A. Schneider, N.R. Burns, L.C. Giles, R.D. Higgins, T.J. Nettelbeck, M.C. Ridding, J.B. Pitcher. Cognitive Abilities in Preterm and Term-Born Adolescents. J Pediatr. 2014 165 (1): 170-7.
26. A.E. Smith, M.R. Goldsworthy, T. Garside, F.M. Wood, M.C. Ridding. The influence of a single bout of aerobic exercise on short-interval intracortical excitability. Exp Brain Res 2014 232(6): 1875-82.
27. A. Clow, R. Law, P. Evans, A.M. Vallence, N. Hodyl, M.R. Goldsworthy, J.C. Rothwell, M.C. Ridding. Day differences in the cortisol awakening response predict day differences in synaptic plasticity in the brain. Stress 2014 17(3): 219-23).
28. 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. J Appl Physiol 2013 114(9): 1174-82.
29. 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. J Physiol 2013 591(19): 4903-20.
30. A.M. Vallence, L. Kurylowicz, M.C. Ridding. A comparison of neuroplastic responses to non-invasive brain stimulation protocols and motor learning in healthy adults. Neurosci Lett 2013 549: 151-6.
31. 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. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2013 10:51.
32. 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. Neural Plasticity 2013, 396865.
33. 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. Eur J Neurosci 2013 37(11): 1844-52.
34. 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).
35. S. M. Schabrun, D Weise, M.C. Ridding, J Classen. A new temporal window for inducing depressant associative plasticity in human primary motor cortex. Clinical Neurophysiology 2013 124(6): 1196-203.
36. A.M. Vallence, A. Smith, A. Tabor, P. Rolan, M.C. Ridding. Chronic tension-type headache is associated with impaired motor learning. Cephalgia 2013 33(12): 1048-54.
37. 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. PLOS One 2012 7(12): e51298.
38. 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.
39. 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.
40. 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.
41. M. Goldsworthy, J.B. Pitcher, M.C. Ridding. Neuroplastic modulation of inhibitory motor cortical networks by spaced theta burst stimulation protocols. Brain Stim 2013 6(3): 340-5.
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. 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.
47. 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.
48. 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.
49. 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.

Professional Associations

Australian Neuroscience Society

Society for Neuroscience (USA)

Movement Disorder Society

Entry last updated: Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016

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