Beth Fisher, PhD, PT, FAPTA

beth fisher portrait

Faculty Profile

Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy


(323) 442-2796

Mailing Address

1540 Alcazar St., CHP 155, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9006


Neuroplasticity and Imaging Laboratory

Professional Interests

Beth Fisher is a professor of clinical physical therapy in the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neurology, Keck School of Medicine at USC. Dr. Fisher is the director of the Neuroplasticity and Imaging Laboratory primarily using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate brain-behavior relationships during motor skill learning and motor control in both non-disabled individuals and individuals with neurologic disorders. She previously worked at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center on the Adult Neurology and Brain Injury Services and continues to consult and teach nationally and internationally on current concepts for the treatment of adults with neurological disorders.

During her years as a clinician and rehabilitation specialist, it was her greatest ambition to be a part of developing physical therapy interventions that would maximize neural and behavioral recovery in individuals suffering from pathological conditions affecting the nervous system. Towards this goal she is currently studying the effects of skill training compared with aerobic exercise on functional recovery and brain repair in Parkinson’s disease using fMRI as a marker of neuroplasticity. Her interest to study neuroplastic changes with skill has led her to extend her work to non-neurologic populations. She is currently utilizing TMS to study the relationship between skill level and interhemispheric inhibition in musicians; brain changes in healthy individuals learning complex motor skills as part of an ACL injury prevention program and differential modifications in the brain and spinal cord resulting from receiving high- versus low-velocity mobilization as part of a physical therapy program for ankle sprain.


  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, 2002
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Biokinesiology, University of Southern California, 2000
  • Master of Science, Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, 1980

Selected Publications

  • Kuo YL*, Dubuc T*, Boufadel DF* and Fisher BE. (2017) Measuring Ipsilateral Silent Period: Effects of Muscle Contraction Levels and Quantification Methods Brain Res. pii: S0006-8993(17)30351-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2017.08.015. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Smith JA, Albishi A*, Babikian S, Asavasopon S, Fisher BE**, Kutch JJ. (2017) “The motor cortical representation of a muscle is not homogeneous in brain connectivity.” Exp Brain Res. doi: 10.1007/s00221-017-5011-7. [Epub ahead of print]. **Shared senior author position
  • Ya-Yun Lee* & Beth E. Fisher (2017) “Use of low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to reduce context-dependent learning in people with Parkinson’s disease;” Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2017 May 22. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.17.04723-2. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Martinez CA,* Mintz E,* Ecsedy AE, Fisher BE. “Constraining movement reveals motor capability in chronic stroke: An initial study.” Clin Rehabil. 2016 Sep 1. pii: 0269215516665452. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Winstein CJ, Stein J, Arena R, Bates B, Cherney LR, Cramer SC, Deruyter F, Eng JJ, Fisher B, Harvey RL, Lang CE, MacKay-Lyons M, Ottenbacher KJ, Pugh S, Reeves MJ, Richards LG, Stiers W, Zorowitz RD; American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research. Stroke. 2016 Jun;47(6):e98-e169. doi: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000098.
  • Fisher BE, Piraino A,* Lee YY,* Smith JA, Johnson S, Davenport TE, Kulig K. (2016) “The Effect of Velocity of Joint Mobilization on Corticospinal Excitability in Individuals With a History of Ankle Sprain.” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 46(7):562-70.
  • Lee YY,* Winstein CJ, Fisher BE (2016). “Role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in context-dependent motor performance.” European Journal of Neuroscience; 43:954-960.
  • Fisher BE, Southam AC,* Lee, Y-Y,* Powers, CM (2016). “Evidence of altered corticomotor excitability following targeted activation of gluteus maximus training in healthy individuals.” Neuroreport, 27(6):415-21.
  • Furze JA, Tichenor CJ, Fisher BE, Jensen GM, Rapport MJ (2016). “Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education: Reflections on the Past, Present and Future.” Phys Ther, Phys Ther. 2016 Jul;96(7):949-60. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20150473.
  • Lee, Y-Y, Winstein CJ, Gordon JG, Petzinger GM, Zelinski EM, Fisher BE (2015). “Context-Dependent Learning in People with Parkinson’s Disease.” Journal of Motor Behavior; 16:1-9 (Epub ahead of print)
  • Ko Na-hyeon, Laine CM, Fisher BE, Valero-Cuevas, FJ. (2015). Force variability during dexterous manipulation in individuals with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7:151-161
  • Petzinger GM, Holschneider DP, Fisher BE, McEwen S, Knitz N, Halliday M, Toy W, Walsh JW, Beeler J, Jakowec MW (2015). “The Effects of Exercise on Dopamine Neurotransmission in Parkinson’s disease: targeting neuroplasticity to modulate basal ganglia circuitry.” Brain Plasticity 1:25-35
  • Lathan C, Myler A, Peterson J, Powers CM, Fisher, BE. (2015). “Pressure-Controlled Treadmill Training in Chronic Stroke: A Case Study with AlterG.” Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, 39, 127-133.
  • Fisher BE, Lee Y, Davenport TE, Reischl S, Ruckert E, Kulig K. (2014). “Within-Day Test-Retest Reliability of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Measurements of Corticomotor Excitability for Gastrocnemius and Tibialis Anterior Muscles.” Orthopedic Physical Therapy Practice Vol. 26;3:14
  • Petzinger G, Fisher BE, Jacobson S, Beeler JA, Walsh JP, Jakowec MW. (2013) “Exercise-enhanced Neuroplasticity Targeting Motor and Cognitive Circuitry in Parkinson’s Disease”; Lancet Neurology; 12:716-26
  • Tabak R, Aquije G, Fisher. BE. (2013) “Aerobic Exercise Improves Cognition in People with Parkinson’s Disease: A Case Series. Accepted for Publication”: Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy; 37:58-64
  • Fisher BE, Li Q, Nacca A, Salem, GJ, Song, J, Yip J, Conte PS, Jakowec MW, and Petzinger GM. (2013). “Exercise Effects On Dopamine D2 Receptor Expression In Early Parkinson’s Disease.” NeuroReport; 24:509-514
  • Goh HT, Lee YY, Fisher BE. (2013). “Neural correlates of dual-task practice benefit on motor learning: a repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation study.” Eur J Neurosci. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12192. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Fisher BE, Lee Ya-Yun, Pitsch EA, Moore B, Faw T, Powers CM. (2013) “Method for Assessing Brain Changes Associated with Gluteus Maximus Activation.” Journal of Orthopedic Physical Therapy, 43(4): 214-21.
  • Tretriluxana J, Kantak S, Tretriluxana S, Wu AD, Fisher BE. (2013) “Low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the non-lesioned hemisphere improves paretic arm reach-to-grasp performance after chronic stroke.” Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 8(2):121-124.
  • Davenport TE, Reischl SF, Sungkarat, S, Cozby J, Meyer L, Fisher BE (2013). “Alteration in Corticospinal Excitability, Talocrural Joint Range of Motion, and Lower Extremity Function Following Manipulation in Non-Disabled Individuals.” Orthopedic Physical Therapy Practice; 25(2):97-102
  • Song J, Sigward S, Fisher B, Salem GJ. “Altered Dynamic Postural Control during Step Turning in Persons with Early-Stage Parkinson’s Disease.” Parkinsons Dis. 2012;2012:386962. doi: 10.1155/2012/386962. Epub 2012 Jan 29.
  • Fisher BE. (2011) Physiotherapy: “Prevention and Treatment of Functional Decline in Older Adults; Enhancing Mobility: Gait, Balance, and Falls.” Italian Journal of Physiotherapy. 1(4):119
  • Kantak SS, Sullivan KJ, Lin CH, Fisher BE, Knowlton BJ and Winstein CJ. (2011) “Transfer of motor learning engages specific neural substrates during consolidation that depend on practice structure.” Journal of Motor Behavior, Nov;43(6):499-507).
  • Sungkarat S, Fisher BE, Kovindha A. (2011). “Efficacy of an insole shoe wedge and augmented pressure sensor for gait training in individuals with stroke: a randomized controlled trial.” Clinical Rehabilitation 2011; 25: 360–369.
  • Petzinger GM, Fisher BE, Akopian G, Holschneider, DP, Wood R, Walsh JP, Lund B, Meshul C, Vuckovic M, Jakowec MW (2011). “The role of exercise in facilitating basal ganglia function in Parkinson’s disease.” Neurodegenerative Disease Management; 1(2): 157-170.
  • Kantak, SS, Fisher, BE, Sullivan, KJ, Winstein, CJ. (2010). “Effects of Different Doses of Low Frequency rTMS on Motor Corticospinal Excitability,” Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology – Open Access; doi:10.4172/2155-9562.Volume 1• Issue 1•1000102
  • Lowers CM, Fisher B. (2010). “Mechanisms underlying ACL injury-prevention training: the brain-behavior relationship.” J Athl Train. Sep-Oct;45(5):513-5.
  • Kantak, SS, Sullivan, KJ, Fisher BE, Knowlton, BJ, Winstein, CJ. (2010). Neural substrates of motor memory consolidation depend on practice structure; Nature Neuroscience:13(8):923-5.
  • Petzinger GM, Fisher BE, Van Leeuwen JE, Vukovic M, Akopian G, Meshul CK, Holschneider DP, Nacca A, Walsh JP, Jakowec MW. (2010). “Enhancing neuroplasticity in the basal ganglia: the role of exercise in Parkinson’s disease.” Mov Disord. 25 Suppl 1:S141-5
  • Davenport TE, Kulig K, Fisher BE. (2010). “Ankle manual therapy for individuals with post-acute ankle sprains: description of a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Oct 19;10:59.
  • Lin CH, Winstein CJ, Fisher BE, Wu AD. (2010). “Neural Correlates of the Contextual Interference Effect in Motor Skill Learning: A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Investigation;” J Motor Behavior; 42(4) 223-232.
  • Vučković MG, Li Q, Fisher B, Nacca A, Leahy RM, Walsh JP, Mukherjee J, Williams C, Jakowec MW, Petzinger GM. (2010) “Exercise elevates dopamine D2 receptor in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease: In vivo imaging with [(18)F]fallypride.” Mov Disord. Dec 15;25(16): 2777-84.
  • Fisher BE, Davenport TE, Kulig K and Wu AD. (2009). “Identification of potential neuromotor mechanisms of manual therapy in patients with musculoskeletal disablement: rationale and description of a clinical trial;” BMC Neurology, 9:20 (21 May 2009)
  • Tretriluxana J, Gordon J, Fisher BE, Winstein CJ. (2009) “Hemisphere Specific Impairments in Reach-to-Grasp Control after Stroke: Effects of Object Size;” Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair Sep;23(7):679-91.
  • Lin CH, Fisher BE, Wu AD, Ko YA, Lee LY, Winstein CJ. (2009). “Neural correlate of the contextual interference effect in motor learning: a kinematic analysis.” J Mot Behav. May;41(3):232-42.
  • Song J, Fisher B, Petzinger G, Wu A, Gordon J, Salem, GJ. (2009) “The Relationships between the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale and Lower-Extremity Functional Performance in Persons with Early-stage Parkinson’s Disease.” Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair Sep;23(7):657-61.
  • Fisher BE, Wu AD, Salem G, Song J, Lin JC, Jakowec M, Gordon J, Yip J, & Petzinger GM (2008). “The Effect of Exercise Training in Improving Motor Performance and Cortico-Motor Excitability in Individuals with Early Parkinson’s Disease;” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; 89(7): 1221-9.
  • Lin CH, Fisher BE, Winstein CJ, Wu AD, Gordon J. (2008). “Contextual interference effect: elaborative processing or forgetting-reconstruction? A post hoc analysis of transcranial magnetic stimulation-induced effects on motor learning.” J Mot Behav. Nov;40(6):578-86.
  • Wu AD, Petzinger GM, Lin CH, Kung M, Fisher B. (2007). “Asymmetric corticomotor excitability correlations in early Parkinson’s disease.” Mov Disord. Aug 15; 22(11):1587-93.