Sook-Lei Liew, PhD, OTR/L

sook Lei Liew portrait

Faculty Profile

Assistant Professor


323) 442-0315


Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory

Professional Interests

Sook-Lei Liew is an assistant professor with dual appointments in the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Neurology and USC Viterbi School’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. She specializes in observations of motor systems during action using neuroimaging and behavioral methods; mechanisms of neural plasticity and neural repair using noninvasive brain stimulation and brain-computer interfaces; the use of brain-computer interfaces with stroke patients; and noninvasive brain stimulation to enhance motor learning in healthy individuals.


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Human Cortical Physiology and Neurorehabilitation, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, 2014
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Occupational Science, Concentration: Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Southern California, 2012
  • Master of Arts, Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, 2008
  • Bachelor of Arts, Kinesiology/English, Rice University, 2006

Selected Publications

  • Liew, S.-L., Santarnecchi, E., Buch, E. & Cohen, L. (2014). “Noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) in neurorehabilitation: Local and distant effects for motor recovery.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 378. [Special Issue on Neurorehabilitation & Neuroplasticity edited by Dr. Edward Taub]
  • Liew, S.-L., Agashe, H., Bhagat, N., Paek, A., & Bulea, T.C. (2013). “A clinical roadmap for brain-neural machine interfaces: Trainees Perspectives on the 2013 International Workshop.” Pulse IEEE, 4(5), 44-48.
  • Liew, S.-L., Sheng, T., Margetis, J. & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2013). “Both novelty and expertise increase action observation network activity.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 541.
  • Garrison, K.A., Wong, S., Liew, S.-L., Aziz-Zadeh, L., & Winstein, C. (2013) “Modulating the motor system by action observation after stroke.” Stroke. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.001105
  • Liew, S.-L. Sheng, T. & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2013). “Experience with an amputee modulates one’s own sensorimotor regions during action observation. Neuroimage, 69, 138-145. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.12.028
  • Liew, S.-L. & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2012). “The mirror neuron system, social control, and language.” [Book chapter]. In: Handbook of Neurosociology. Editor: Franks, D. & Turner, J.H.
  • Liew, S.-L., Garrison, K., Werner, J., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2012). “The mirror neuron system: Innovations and implications for occupational therapy.” OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health. doi: 10.3928/15394492-20111209-01
  • Aziz-Zadeh, L., Liew, S.-L., & Dandekar, F. (2012). “The neural correlates of visual creativity.” Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, 8(4), 475-80.
  • Aziz-Zadeh, L., Sheng, T., Liew, S.-L., & Damasio, H. (2011). “Understanding otherness: The neural basis of action understanding and empathy in a congenital amputee.” Cerebral Cortex, 22(4), 811-9. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhr139
  • Liew, S.-L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2011). “The neuroscience of language in occupations: A review of findings from brain and behavioral sciences.” Journal of Occupational Science, 18(2), 97-114.
  • Liew, S.-L. & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2011). “The mirror neuron system and social cognition.” [Book chapter]. In: From DNA to Social Cognition. Editors: Ebstein, Shamay-Tsoory, & Chew.
  • Liew, S.-L., Ma, Y., Han, S., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2011). “Who’s afraid of the boss: Cultural differences in social hierarchies modulate self-face recognition in Chinese and Americans.” PLoS ONE 6(2): e16901. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016901
  • Liew, S.-L., Han, S., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2011). “Familiarity modulates mirror neuron and mentalizing regions during intention understanding.” Human Brain Mapping. 32, 1986-1997. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21164