Jens Bo Nielsen – University of Copenhagen

Jens Bo Nielsen

Lab leader: Professor Jens Bo Nielsen
Phone: (45) 35327450

Publication List
Lab Members


Motor learning, neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation
The Nielsen lab aims to gain insight in basic principles and mechanisms of motor learning, the neuroplastic changes in the central nervous system (CNS) underlying motor learning and the relationship between neuroplasticity and behavioral changes. A more applied goal of the research in the Nielsen lab is to utilize knowledge of mechanisms in motor learning in order to improve the design of motor training and rehabilitation strategies.

Our work has primarily focused on the human motor system and the research involves experiments in healthy volunteers, but also motor learning in children, elderly people and motor learning in patients with neurological disorders.

In our approach to motor learning, the Nielsen lab focusses on neuroplastic changes at multiple levels within the CNS from changes in cerebral cortex organization to changes at a spinal level. In order to do so, we utilize and combine various electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques in the context of well-defined hypothesis-driven investigations. The methods include among other transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), peripheral nerve stimulation and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

Pathophysiology of spasticity and contractures
The Nielsen lab performs parallel experiments in animal models (rat, mouse), healthy human subjects and people with spasticity (cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis) in order to clarify the pathophysiological mechanisms of spasticity and contractures. This works involves analysis of signaling mechanisms at molecular level combined with electrophysiological and behavioural analyses in animals and humans. A major aim of the research is to optimize treatment of spasticity and contractures.

Neurodevelopment and cerebral palsy
The Nielsen lab also aims in collaboration with the Elsass institute in Charlottenlund to obtain a fundamental understanding of the developing brain and the adaptations that occur in relation to early brain lesions. Based on this knowledge we strive to find new ways of improving quality of life for children and adults with CP. This involves development and testing of new interventions, therapies and technologies.

Key publications

  • Nielsen JB. Human Spinal Motor Control. Annu Rev Neurosci.  2016;39:81-101
  • Willerslev-Olsen M, Petersen TH, Farmer SF, Nielsen JB. Gait training facilitates central drive to ankle dorsiflexors in children with cerebral palsy. Brain. 2015; 138(Pt 3):589-603.
  • Choi JT, Bouyer LJ, Nielsen JB. Disruption of Locomotor Adaptation with Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Over the Motor Cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2015; 25(7):1981-6.
  • Petersen TH, Willerslev-Olsen M, Conway BA, Nielsen JB. The motor cortex drives the muscles during walking in human subjects. J Physiol. 2012;590(Pt 10):2443-52.
  • Roig M, Nordbrandt S, Geertsen SS, Nielsen JB. The effects of cardiovascular exercise on human memory: A review with meta-analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013; 37(8):1645-1666