Graduate Studies Faculty

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Robert J. Peterka, Ph.D.

Associate Scientist
Admin Unit: SOM-Biomedical Engineering
Phone: 503-418-2616
Fax: 503-418-2701
Office: OHSU West Campus, NSI/VGTI building, Room 1119A
Mail Code: NSI
Neuroscience Graduate Program
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Biomedical Engineering
Research Interests:
Vestibular physiology, Clinical evaluation of human vestibular function, human postural control, biomedical engineering, modeling of physiological systems » Click here for more about Dr. Peterka's research » PubMed Listing
Preceptor Rotations
Dr. Peterka has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty Mentorship
Dr. Peterka has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.

Summary of Current Research

Dr. Peterka's research is directed towards understanding how humans use sensory information from vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive systems for the control of eye movements, balance, and orientation, and how humans maintain balance during movement.  The primary focus is on basic research that seeks to identify the fundamental organizing principles used by the brain to control the complex musculoskeletal machinery necessary for balance and movement.  Eye movements and postural control are studied with particular concern for the processes involved in situations where different sensory systems provide conflicting or inaccurate orientation information to the brain. Such situations can lead to disorientation, motion sickness, and falls. Understanding the underlying mechanisms used for balance control gives insight into disorders which cause patients to suffer from dysequilibrium.

Recent Publications

Goodworth A.D., Peterka R.J. (accepted Apr 2009) Contribution of sensorimotor integration to spinal stabilization in humans, J Neurophysiol, doi:10.1152/jn.00118.2009.

Gianna-Poulin C.C., Peterka R.J. (2008) Use of a visual guide to improve the quality of VOR responses evoked by high-velocity rotational stimuli. J Vest Res, 18:15-24, PMC2566537.

Cenciarini M., Peterka R.J. (2006) Stimulus-dependent changes in the vestibular contribution to human postural control. J Neurophysiol, 95:2733-2750.

Peterka R.J., Wall III, C., Kentala, E. (2006) Determining the effectiveness of a vibrotactile balance prosthesis. J Vest Res, 16:45-56.

Maurer C., Peterka R.J. (2005) A new interpretation of spontaneous sway measures based on a simple model of human postural control. J Neurophysiol 93:189-200.

Peterka R.J. (2005) Pulse-step-sine rotation test for the identification of abnormal vestibular function. J Vest Res, 15:291-311.

Peterka R.J., Loughlin, P.J. (2004) Dynamic regulation of sensorimotor integration in human postural control. J Neurophysiol 91:410-423.

Peterka R.J. (2002) Sensorimotor integration in human postural control.  J Neurophysiol 88:1097-1118.


  • B.S., Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 1974
  • Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, 1980

Previous Positions

Non-Academic Interests