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Stephen Coombes - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Stephen Coombes Stephen Coombes

Associate Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Coombes’ research focuses on how humans move and how humans experience pain.


Coombes’ research focuses on how humans move and how humans experience pain. He uses techniques that include brain imaging and virtual reality with the goal of improving how we move to reduce the pain that we feel.

Industry Expertise (2)

Health and Wellness


Areas of Expertise (5)

Virtual Reality Rehabilitation


Neuroscience and the Brain

Brain Imaging

Brain Rehabilitation

Media Appearances (1)

Identifying damage to the brain’s superhighway

UF News  online


University of Florida researchers have developed a template showing the brain’s superhighways and how they are impacted by a stroke. The brain images required to create the template were processed on HiPerGator, UF's supercomputer.

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Articles (5)

Cell-specific effects of Dyt1 knock-out on sensory processing, network-level connectivity, and motor deficits

Experimental Neurology

DYT1 dystonia is a debilitating movement disorder characterized by repetitive, unintentional movements and postures. The disorder has been linked to mutation of the TOR1A/DYT1 gene encoding torsinA. Convergent evidence from studies in humans and animal models suggest that striatal medium spiny neurons and cholinergic neurons are important in DYT1 dystonia.

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Empirically derived back pain subgroups differentiated walking performance, pain, and disability


Low back pain (LBP) is a leading cause of disability. However, the processes contributing to disability are not well understood. Therefore, this study (1) empirically derived LBP subgroups and (2) validated these subgroups using walking performance, pain, and disability measures. Seventy adults with LBP underwent testing for a priori determined sensory (temporal summation; conditioned pain modulation), psychological (positive affect/coping; negative coping), and motor (trunk extensor muscle activation during forward bending and walking) measures.

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Recalling fearful memories modifies approach and avoidance behavior based on spatial context.


Motor responses are more efficient when there is a match (or congruency) between the motivational properties of an emotional state and the distance altering characteristics of the movement being executed to the emotion-eliciting stimulus. However, the role of spatial context in shaping motivational orientations to approach and avoid, particularly during whole-body movement tasks, remains less understood.

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66361 TL1 Team Approach to Predicting Response to Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Low Back Pain

Journal of Clinical and Translational Science

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an intervention for chronic low back pain where standard interventions fail to provide relief. However, estimates suggest only 58% of patients achieve at least 50% reduction in their pain. There is no non-invasive method for predicting relief provided by SCS. We hypothesize neural activity in the brain can fill this gap.

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Functional imaging of the brainstem during visually-guided motor control reveals visuomotor regions in the pons and midbrain


Integrating visual information for motor output is an essential process of visually-guided motor control. The brainstem is known to be a major center involved in the integration of sensory information for motor output, however, limitations of functional imaging in humans have impaired our knowledge about the individual roles of sub-nuclei within the brainstem.

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Languages (1)

  • English

Affiliations (5)

  • Journal of Motor Behavior : Editorial Board Member
  • Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology : Editorial Board Member
  • Society for Neuroscience : Member
  • American Pain Society : Member
  • Neural Control of Movement : Member