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The Sensory-Motor Neuroscience Study Section (SMN) reviews applications on the anatomical and functional neurobiology of motor, sensorimotor, vestibular, and somatosensory systems across the lifespan and in aging. Emphasis is on integrative approaches to elucidate neural substrates of these systems employing neurophysiological, molecular/genetic, neuroanatomical, biophysical, behavioral, neuroimaging, bioengineering and computational methods. Studies may use established or emerging model systems including vertebrate or invertebrate animals, brain-machine interfaces, invasive recordings and stimulation in humans, or computational approaches.

Review Dates

Membership Panel

The membership panel is a list of chartered members only.


  • Structure and function of neural systems involved in voluntary and involuntary movement, including neural control and biomechanics of balance, posture, and stance in human and animal models.
  • Cortical control of reaching and grasping, motor learning.
  • Studies to use brain machine interfaces or neuroprosthetics in order to understand the brain control of movement
  • Investigations of sensory-motor control based on invasive recordings and brain stimulation in human subjects.
  • Computational and statistical models of sensory and motor control.
  • Neuronal and circuit control of vertebrate and invertebrate locomotion, including studies of motor central pattern generators, respiratory central pattern generators, and oral motor function.
  • Neural control of sequential and learned movements; movement decision making.
  • Integration and coordination of sensory and motor signals, including neural and biomechanical mechanisms of active whisking, escape behaviors, proprioception, birdsong vocal motor control, and learning.
  • Vestibular systems studies including vestibulo-ocular reflex, vestibulo-spinal reflex, dizziness, and spatial orientation in human and animal models.
  • Integration of sensory inputs and action systems, multisensory integration involving vestibular or proprioceptive senses.
  • Disorders of motor control, complex and learned motor behavior in the absence of primary motor deficit, e.g. apraxia. Disorders of motor control involving the basal ganglia (e.g., dystonia) when the focus is on the basic mechanisms.
  • Somatosensation; neurobiology of touch, vibrotactile and temperature sensation.

Shared Interests and Overlaps

There are shared interests with Motor Function, Speech and Rehabilitation (MFSR), for example on topics of neural control and biomechanics of balance, posture and stance. Applications that investigate these topics in the context of disease or disorder, including aging are likely to be reviewed by MFSR or Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences (MRS). MFSR and MRS also typically review these topics when they are studied in the context of rehabilitation. Developmental studies of motor function are typically reviewed in MFSR. Studies that utilize invasive recordings in humans are assigned according to the science of the aims to SMN or MFSR as appropriate.

Basic studies of motor function using neuroprosthetics may be reviewed in either Sensory-Motor Neuroscience (SMN) or Bioengineering of Neuroscience, Vision and Low Vision Technologies (BNVT), depending upon the emphasis. Emphasis on neuroprosthetic engineering is likely more appropriate for BNVT, whereas studies using neuroprosthetics as a tool to investigate sensorimotor process are more likely reviewed in SMN.

Applications primarily centered on development of neuroprosthetics may be reviewed by BNVT or MFSR, depending upon the emphasis. Those focused on devices interfacing with the peripheral nervous system or central nervous system are appropriate for BNVT, while those focused on externally-driven prosthetics or exoskeletons may be more appropriate for MFSR.

Applications addressing the role of visual feedback in motor control, may be reviewed by Mechanisms of Sensory, Perceptual, and Cognitive Processes (NBVP), when primarily focused on mechanisms of visual information processing.

Applications addressing spinal cord pathology, regeneration, repair and rehabilitation, may be reviewed by Clinical Neuroplasticity and Neurotransmitters (CNNT) when focused on pathological processes, or MFSR when focused on rehabilitative approaches.

While applications focused on motor learning are often reviewed in SMN, when such applications emphasize learning and memory circuitry, more so than motor function, review in Learning, Memory and Decision Neuroscience (LMDN) may be appropriate.

While basic mechanisms for disorders of motor control involving the basal ganglia (e.g., dystonia) may be reviewed in SMN, applications focused on circuit-level mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s disease particularly when the emphasis is on pathophysiological mechanisms may be reviewed by CNNT.

While basic mechanisms of cortical and cerebellar micro-circuitry involved in voluntary and involuntary movements are typically be reviewed by SMN, those involving spinal cord injury may be reviewed by CNNT.

Applications with a focus on basic cellular and subcellular properties of motor or sensorimotor systems, such as ion channels, glial physiology, or molecular neurogenetics may be reviewed by Neurotransporters, Receptors, Channels and Calcium Signaling (NTRC), Cellular and Molecular Biology of Glia (CMBG), Synapses, Cytoskeleton and Trafficking (SYN), Molecular Neurogenetics (MNG), or Neurogenesis and Cell Fate (NCF).

Applications addressing animal communication mechanisms (e.g. birdsong), in particular with primary emphasis on auditory systems function, may be reviewed by Auditory Systems (AUD).

Applications addressing the peripheral vestibular system may be reviewed by AUD.

There are overlaps in the area of spatial learning and navigation with Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology (BRLE). Animal models of learning or navigation with a predominantly behavioral orientation reviewed in BRLE whereas animal models of navigation that emphasize circuitry or cellular/physiological mechanisms are usually reviewed in SMN.

Computational applications that emphasize formal modeling methods or the development of mathematical approaches may be appropriate for Modeling and Analysis of Biological Systems (MABS), whereas applications that emphasize the application of such models to sensory and motor control may be more appropriate for SMN.