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Mar Cortes, M.D.
Mar Cortes, M.D.

Mar Cortes, M.D.

Former Research Associate
Brain Stimulation and Robotics Laboratory
Burke Neurological Institute
Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor
Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance


My research interest is to understand neural plasticity and its clinical implications in relation to the human motor systems.

My studies focus on improving the understanding of mechanisms of neural plasticity from a systems level in humans to manipulate them by suppressing or enhancing them to gain clinical benefits for patients affected by neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injury or stroke.

My main interest is to study the recovery of motor function after injury for the central nervous system, focusing on the corticospinal system. My aim is to investigate the role of controlled motor activity and non-invasive stimulation techniques, in restoring the connections between the cerebral cortex and the spinal cord that controls movements. I use a combination of behavioral (robotic training) and electrophysiological techniques to address those questions.

After injury, the preserved corticospinal connections are highly activity-dependent and can be strengthened with activity-based therapies, motor training or neuromodulatory interventions by using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS); direct current brain stimulation (tDCS); or/and electrical stimulation.

My ultimate career goal is to develop novel and individualized rehabilitation strategies to promote motor recovery and improve quality of life for patients with mobility impairment.

Honors & Awards

Young Investigator Award
NYC Neuromodulation Conference 2013
November 2013
For prominent neuromodulation research from young investigator.

Neurotrauma Travel Grant
Centre for Neuromuscular and Neurological Disorders (CNND). University of Western Australia (UWA). Australia
May 2012


Research Fellow, Clinical Neurophysiology and Non-invasive Brain Stimulation
Non-invasive Brain Stimulation and Human Motor Control Laboratory, Burke Neurological Institute, White Plains, NY
Mini-fellowship, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Intensive Course
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Resident, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
University of the Basque Country, Spain

Recent Publications

Journal Article
Adam Buchwald, Carolyn Falconer, Avrielle Rykman-Peltz, Mar Cortes, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Gary W. Thickbroom, Hermano Igo Krebs, Felipe Fregni, Linda M. Gerber, Clara Oromendia, Johanna Chang, Bruce T. Volpe and Dylan J. Edwards
Front Neurol. 2018 Oct 22;9:853. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00853. eCollection 2018.
Full-Text on Frontiers in Neurology
Journal Article
Cortes M, Alias GG, Tansey KE.
Neurotherapeutics. 2018 Aug 6. doi: 10.1007/s13311-018-0654-z. [Epub ahead of print]
Journal Article
Leon D, Cortes M, Elder J, Kumru H, Laxe S, Edwards DJ, Tormos JM, Bernabeu M, Pascual-Leone A.
Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2017;35(4):377-384. doi: 10.3233/RNN-170734.
Abstract on PubMed