College of Education and Human Development

School of Kinesiology

Rachel Hawe

  • Pronouns: she, her, hers

  • Assistant Professor, Biomechanics and Neuromotor Control

Rachel Hawe

Areas of interest

Neurorehabilitation, motor control and development, stroke, robotics, neuroimaging


2020 Post-doctoral Fellowship, Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

2016 PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

2013 DPT, Physical Therapy, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

2008 BS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY


My overall research goal is to maximize recovery following a neurologic injury such as stroke. A key challenge in neurorehabilitation is a poor understanding of the specific impairments an individual may have, which makes it difficult to target therapies. I use robotics to measure specific motor and sensory impairments, and then link these impairments with neuroimaging findings. I am specifically interested in bilateral coordination in both adults who have had a stroke as well as children with hemiparetic cerebral palsy due to a stroke early in development. 

One of my areas of research will focus on developing robotic assessments of bilateral coordination. Bilateral coordination encompasses a wide range of tasks, from picking up a box with both hands to stabilizing a jar with one hand while opening it with the other. Robotic assessments can allow us to pinpoint the specific areas of bilateral coordination that are impaired in individuals with stroke and cerebral palsy, and then relate these impairments with neuroimaging findings. This will lead to more targeted interventions to improve rehabilitation outcomes.

A second area of focus is in how bilateral arm use typically develops, and how it is impacted by an early lesion. Accelerometers can be worn on the wrists to quantify how much a child moves their arms in daily life. We can then develop interventions to promote the use of the weaker arm in children with early lesions. Encouraging early use of the affected arm can drive positive neuroplastic changes to improve outcomes in children with hemiparetic cerebral palsy. 


Hawe RL, Kuczynski AM, Kirton A, Dukelow SP. “Impairments in rapid motor decisions and actions in children with perinatal stroke.” Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. 2020; 17(94). 

Bonkhoff AK, Hope T, Bzdok D, Guggisberg AG, Hawe RL, Dukelow SP, Rehme AK, Fink GR, Grefkes C, Bowman H. “Bringing Proportional Recovery into Proportion: Bayesian Hierarchical Modelling of Post-Stroke Motor Performance.” Brain. 143(7): 2189:2206.

Hawe RL, Kuczynski AM, Kirton A, Dukelow SP. “Assessment of Bilateral Motor Skills and Visuospatial Attention in Children with Perinatal Stroke using a Robotic Object Hitting Task.” Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. 2020; 17(18).

Findlater SE, Hawe RL, Mazerolle EM, Al Sultan AS, Cassidy JM, Scott SH, Pike GB, Dukelow SP. “Comparing CST lesion metrics as biomarkers for recovery of motor and proprioceptive impairments after stroke.” Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 2019; 33(10):848-861.

Hawe RL, Scott SH, Dukelow SP. “Taking Proportional Out of Stroke Recovery.” Stroke. 2019; 50(1): 204-211.

Findlater SE, Hawe RL, Semrau JA, Kenzie JM, Yu AY, Scott SH, Dukelow SP. “Lesion locations associated with persistent proporioceptive impairment in the upper limbs after stroke.” Neuroscience: Clinical. 2018; 20:955-971.

Hawe RL, Findlater SE, Kenzie JM, Hill MD, Scott SH, Dukelow SP.  “Differential Impact of Acute Lesions Versus White Matter Hyperintensities on Stroke Recovery.” Journal of American Heart Association. 2018; 7(18).

Hawe RL, Dewald JP. “Development of a Method to Quantify Inter-Limb Coupling in Individuals with Hemiparetic Stroke.” Conference Proceedings of 2015 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. 2015; 3476-3479.


"Using Robotics to Assess and Treat the Upper Limb in Children with Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy" (August 2020). Neurorobotics Consortium, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

“Proportional Recovery: Maxim or Myth" (October 2019). American Society for Neurorehabilitation Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, USA