John Cirillo

John Cirillo

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I am a Lecturer in the Discipline of Physiology. I have completed several postdoctoral fellowships abroad, having been awarded the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation Fellowship (University of Pittsburgh, USA) and Aotearoa Research Fellowship (University of Auckland, New Zealand). My research interest is centered around brain function and motor learning with advancing age and after neurological insult, such as stroke. My research specialisation is in neural plasticity, neurophysiology, and neurorehabilitation in humans relevant to retention and recovery of movement capability. I routinely use non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate questions related to my research specialisation and interest.

My research has focussed primarily on human movement and factors that influence neuroplasticity in human motor cortex. Neuroplasticity is important in learning and memory, and also recovery from various central nervous system injuries. Research within the Neurophysiology of Human Movement Laboratory uses non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to better understand corticospinal function. Plasticity of the motor cortex using non-invasive experimental protocols and motor training protocols are also applied to investigate mechanisms of neuroplasticity in humans. The overall goal is to better understand how voluntary movement is generated and what mechanisms have important implications in motor recovery in humans following neurological insult. Ultimately, our findings aim to support the development of novel and more effective therapeutic interventions after injury.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - 2023 Neurophysiology Scientist Neurophysiology Services Australia
    2015 - 2023 Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Auckland
    2012 - 2015 Postdoctoral Scholar University of Pittsburgh
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2018 Fellowship Aotearoa Research Fellowship University of Auckland New Zealand $360,000 (NZD)
    2014 Research Award Fritz Krauth Memorial Award University of Pittsburgh United States -
    2014 Fellowship Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation Fellowship University of Pittsburgh United States $98,860 (USD)
    2012 Distinction Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence University of Adelaide Australia -
    2009 Award Sir Grafton Elliot-Smith University of Adelaide Australia $260 (AUD)
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    2005 University of Adelaide Australia B.Hlth.Sc (Hons)
    2004 University of Adelaide Australia B.Hlth.Sc
  • Research Interests

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2023 Shanks, M. J., Cirillo, J., Stinear, C. M., & Byblow, W. D. (2023). Reliability of a TMS-derived threshold matrix of corticomotor function. Experimental Brain Research, 241(11-12), 2829-2843.
    DOI
    2023 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2023). A global pause generates nonselective response inhibition during selective stopping. Cerebral Cortex, 33(17), 9729-9740.
    DOI Scopus1
    2023 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2023). Proactive Interhemispheric Disinhibition Supports Response Preparation during Selective Stopping. Journal of Neuroscience, 43(6), 1008-1017.
    DOI Scopus2 Europe PMC1
    2023 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2023). Comparing anticipatory and stop-signal response inhibition with a novel, open-source selective stopping toolbox. Experimental Brain Research, 241(2), 601-613.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS1 Europe PMC1
    2022 Ho, K., Cirillo, J., Ren, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2022). Intracortical facilitation and inhibition in human primary motor cortex during motor skill acquisition. Experimental Brain Research, 240(12), 3289-3304.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1 Europe PMC1
    2022 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2022). Stopping Interference in Response Inhibition: Behavioral and Neural Signatures of Selective Stopping. Journal of Neuroscience, 42(2), 156-165.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS7 Europe PMC7
    2022 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2022). Decoupling countermands nonselective response inhibition during selective stopping. Journal of Neurophysiology, 127(1), 188-203.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS4 Europe PMC5
    2021 Cirillo, J. (2021). Physical activity, motor performance and skill learning: a focus on primary motor cortex in healthy aging. Experimental Brain Research, 239(12), 3431-3438.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS4 Europe PMC3
    2020 Cirillo, J., Mooney, R. A., Ackerley, S. J., Alan Barber, P., Borges, V. M., Clarkson, A. N., . . . Byblow, W. D. (2020). Neurochemical balance and inhibition at the subacute stage after stroke. Journal of Neurophysiology, 123(5), 1775-1790.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS10 Europe PMC8
    2020 Mooney, R. A., Cirillo, J., Stinear, C. M., & Byblow, W. D. (2020). Neurophysiology of motor skill learning in chronic stroke. Clinical Neurophysiology, 131(4), 791-798.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS7 Europe PMC3
    2020 Cirillo, J., Semmler, J. G., Mooney, R. A., & Byblow, W. D. (2020). Primary motor cortex function and motor skill acquisition: insights from threshold-hunting TMS. Experimental Brain Research, 238(7-8), 1745-1757.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS9 Europe PMC4
    2019 Mooney, R. A., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2019). Neurophysiological mechanisms underlying motor skill learning in young and older adults. Experimental Brain Research, 237(9), 2331-2344.
    DOI Scopus25 WoS23 Europe PMC10
    2019 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2019). Between-hand coupling during response inhibition. Journal of Neurophysiology, 122(4), 1357-1366.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS9 Europe PMC6
    2019 Trudgen, A., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2019). Somatosensory and transcranial direct current stimulation effects on manual dexterity and motor cortex function: A metaplasticity study. Brain Stimulation, 12(4), 938-947.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS2 Europe PMC1
    2019 Srzich, A. J., Cirillo, J., Stinear, J. W., Coxon, J. P., McMorland, A. J. C., & Anson, J. G. (2019). Does hypnotic susceptibility influence information processing speed and motor cortical preparatory activity?. Neuropsychologia, 129, 179-190.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS4 Europe PMC1
    2019 Mooney, R. A., Ackerley, S. J., Rajeswaran, D. K., Cirillo, J., Barber, P. A., Stinear, C. M., & Byblow, W. D. (2019). The Influence of Primary Motor Cortex Inhibition on Upper Limb Impairment and Function in Chronic Stroke: A Multimodal Study. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 33(2), 130-140.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS12 Europe PMC8
    2018 Mooney, R. A., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2018). Adaptive threshold hunting reveals differences in interhemispheric inhibition between young and older adults. European Journal of Neuroscience, 48(5), 2247-2258.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS8 Europe PMC5
    2018 Mooney, R. A., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2018). Adaptive threshold hunting for the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on primary motor cortex inhibition. Experimental Brain Research, 236(6), 1651-1663.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC1
    2018 Cirillo, J., Cowie, M. J., Macdonald, H. J., & Byblow, W. D. (2018). Response inhibition activates distinct motor cortical inhibitory processes. Journal of Neurophysiology, 119(3), 877-886.
    DOI Scopus24 WoS24 Europe PMC14
    2018 Opie, G., Cirillo, J., & Semmler, J. (2018). Age-related changes in late I-waves influence motor cortex plasticity induction in older adults. The Journal of physiology, 13(13), 2597-2609.
    DOI Scopus25 WoS25 Europe PMC12
    2018 Cirillo, J., Semmler, J., Mooney, R., & Byblow, W. (2018). Conventional or threshold-hunting TMS? A tale of two SICIs. Brain Stimulation, 11(6), 1296-1305.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS12 Europe PMC6
    2017 Opie, G. M., & Cirillo, J. (2017). Commentary: Preconditioning tDCS facilitates subsequent tDCS effect on skill acquisition in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9(MAR), 3 pages.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS2 Europe PMC1
    2017 Cirillo, J., Finch, J. B., & Anson, J. G. (2017). The impact of physical activity on motor preparation in young adults. Neuroscience Letters, 638, 196-203.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS9 Europe PMC3
    2017 Mooney, R. A., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2017). GABA and primary motor cortex inhibition in young and older adults: A multimodal reliability study. Journal of Neurophysiology, 118(1), 425-433.
    DOI Scopus53 WoS52 Europe PMC36
    2016 Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2016). Threshold tracking primary motor cortex inhibition: the influence of current direction. European Journal of Neuroscience, 44(8), 2614-2621.
    DOI Scopus30 WoS31 Europe PMC18
    2016 Cirillo, J., Calabro, F. J., & Perez, M. A. (2016). Impaired Organization of Paired-Pulse TMS-Induced I-Waves After Human Spinal Cord Injury. Cerebral Cortex, 26(5), 2167-2177.
    DOI Scopus43 WoS43 Europe PMC34
    2016 Mooney, R. A., Coxon, J. P., Cirillo, J., Glenny, H., Gant, N., & Byblow, W. D. (2016). Acute aerobic exercise modulates primary motor cortex inhibition. Experimental Brain Research, 234(12), 3669-3676.
    DOI Scopus46 WoS45 Europe PMC28
    2016 Cowie, M. J., MacDonald, H. J., Cirillo, J., & Byblow, W. D. (2016). Proactive modulation of long-interval intracortical inhibition during response inhibition. Journal of Neurophysiology, 116(2), 859-867.
    DOI Scopus23 WoS23 Europe PMC11
    2016 Srzich, A. J., Byblow, W. D., Stinear, J. W., Cirillo, J., & Anson, J. G. (2016). Can motor imagery and hypnotic susceptibility explain Conversion Disorder with motor symptoms?. Neuropsychologia, 89, 287-298.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC1
    2015 Cirillo, J., & Perez, M. A. (2015). Subcortical contribution to late TMS-induced I-waves in intact humans. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 9(MAY), 38.
    DOI Scopus24 Europe PMC16
    2012 Cirillo, J., Hughes, J., Ridding, M., Thomas, P., & Semmler, J. (2012). Differential modulation of motor cortex excitability in BDNF Met allele carriers following experimentally induced and use-dependent plasticity. European Journal of Neuroscience, 36(5), 2640-2649.
    DOI Scopus70 WoS70 Europe PMC49
    2012 Cirillo, J., & Henneberg, M. (2012). Sequencing human ribs into anatomical order by quantitative multivariate methods. Homo - journal of comparative human biology, 63(3), 182-201.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS6 Europe PMC2
    2011 Cirillo, J., Todd, G., & Semmler, J. (2011). Corticomotor excitability and plasticity following complex visuomotor training in young and old adults. European Journal of Neuroscience, 34(11), 1847-1856.
    DOI Scopus90 WoS87 Europe PMC62
    2011 Semmler, J., & Cirillo, J. (2011). Exercise can help rewire the brain: neuroplasticity and motor cortex function in physically active individuals. Physiology News, (Winter 2010), 26-28.
    DOI
    2010 Cirillo, J., Rogasch, N., & Semmler, J. (2010). Hemispheric differences in use-dependent corticomotor plasticity in young and old adults. Experimental Brain Research, 205(1), 57-68.
    DOI Scopus67 WoS64 Europe PMC55
    2009 Cirillo, J., Lavender, A., Ridding, M., & Semmler, J. (2009). Motor cortex plasticity induced by paired associative stimulation is enhanced in physically active individuals. Journal of Physiology-London, 587(24), 5831-5842.
    DOI Scopus141 WoS129 Europe PMC86
    2009 Rogasch, N., Dartnall, T., Cirillo, J., Nordstrom, M., & Semmler, J. (2009). Corticomotor plasticity and learning of a ballistic thumb training task are diminished in older adults. Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(6), 1874-1883.
    DOI Scopus141 WoS132 Europe PMC96
    2008 Dundon, J., Cirillo, J., & Semmler, J. (2008). Low-frequency fatigue and neuromuscular performance after exercise-induced damage to elbow flexor muscles.. Journal of Applied Physiology, 105(4), 1146-1155.
    DOI Scopus41 WoS37 Europe PMC27
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2022 Glassner, L. H., Klepper, J., Cirillo, J., Kim, E., & Lipton, R. B. (2022). Quality of communication between patients and their health care providers is associated with patient satisfaction and treatment optimization outcomes: Results from a survey of an online migraine community. In HEADACHE Vol. 62 (pp. 57-58). CO, Denver: WILEY.
    2022 Tepper, S. J., Cirillo, J., Kim, E., Litalien, G. J., Tweedie, J., Lodaya, K., . . . McAllister, P. (2022). Increased placebo response over time in oral migraine preventive trials: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. In HEADACHE Vol. 62 (pp. 129). CO, Denver: WILEY.
    2022 Kim, E., Graf, M., Brewer, I. P., Hernandez, J., Chou, J. W., Cirillo, J., . . . Lipton, R. B. (2022). Delphi panel to establish consensus around flexible, individualized migraine treatment. In HEADACHE Vol. 62 (pp. 52). WILEY.
    2022 Glassner, L. H., Klepper, J., Cirillo, J., Kim, E., & Lipton, R. B. (2022). Patients report greater satisfaction, quality of communication, and medication-specific discussion with headache specialists than with other health care professionals: Results from a survey of an online migraine community. In HEADACHE Vol. 62 (pp. 56-57). CO, Denver: WILEY.
    2019 Cirillo, J., Mooney, R., Ackerley, S. J., Borges, V., Smith, M. -C., Mangold, C., . . . Byblow, W. D. (2019). The Influence of Motor Cortex Inhibition on Upper Limb Recovery: A Multimodal Study. In STROKE Vol. 50 (pp. 2 pages). HI, Honolulu: LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS.
    2018 Abstracts From the 2018 Annual Meeting (2018). In Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair Vol. 32 (pp. 1067-1112). SAGE Publications.
    DOI
    2018 Abstracts from the 2017 Annual Meeting (2018). In Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair Vol. 32 (pp. 242-292). SAGE Publications.
    DOI
    2017 Cirillo, J., Mooney, R., Borges, V., Barber, P. A., Clarkson, A., Ackerley, S., . . . Byblow, W. (2017). Does tonic inhibition in the sub-acute period after stroke alter the trajectory of upper limb recovery?. In INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF STROKE Vol. 12 (pp. 22). SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD.
    2016 North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (2016). In Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology Vol. 38 (pp. S1-S276). Human Kinetics.
    DOI
    2015 Cirillo, J., & Perez, M. A. (2015). Subcortical contribution to late TMS-induced I-waves in intact humans. In FRONTIERS IN INTEGRATIVE NEUROSCIENCE Vol. 9 (pp. 11 pages). FRONTIERS MEDIA SA.
    DOI WoS24
  • Preprint

    Year Citation
    2023 Wadsley, C. G., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. D. (2023). A global pause generates nonselective response inhibition during selective stopping.
    DOI
    2022 Wadsley, C., Cirillo, J., Nieuwenhuys, A., & Byblow, W. (2022). Proactive interhemispheric disinhibition supports response preparation during selective stopping.
    DOI

I have several health and medical sciences teaching interests, including neurophysiology, human movement neuroscience, and human anatomy.

Course Coordination and Teaching:

  • Physiology IIA: Heart, Lung & Neuromuscular Systems (PHYSIOL 2510; Semester 1)
  • Physiology IIB: Systems & Homeostasis (PHYSIOL 2520; Semester 2)

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Targeting brain oscillations for human movement Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Nicholas Simon Nyskohus
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Modulation of intracortical inhibition after the stop cue in the task-relevant and surrounding muscles University of Auckland Bachelor of Science Honours Honours Full Time Kelly Tay
    2021 - ongoing Co-Supervisor The threshold matrix: a composite neurophysiological framework for assessing upper limb recovery after stroke University of Auckland Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Maxine Shanks
    2020 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Motor cortex function during skill acquisition University of Auckland Master of Science Master Full Time Kelly Ho
    2019 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Modulation of ipsilateral motor evoked potentials in a game-based context University of Auckland Bachelor of Science Honours Honours Full Time Kelly Ho
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor The Benefits of Physical Activity on the Ageing Brain University of Auckland Master of Science Master Full Time Sarah Peek
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor The Influence of Physical Activity on Motor Learning in the Ageing Brain University of Auckland Master of Science Master Full Time Carys Ward
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Motor cortex inhibition and homeostatic meta-plasticity with somatosensory and transcranial direct current stimulation University of Auckland Master of Science Master Full Time Anita Trudgen
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Effect of between-hand coupling on response inhibition University of Auckland Bachelor of Science Honours Honours Full Time Corey Wadsley
    2017 - 2017 Co-Supervisor The role of intracortical inhibition during proactive movement preparation University of Auckland Master of Science Master Full Time Matthew Cowie
    2016 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Mapping muscle synergies University of Auckland Bachelor of Science Honours Honours Full Time Matthew Ward
    2015 - 2015 Co-Supervisor The role of GABAB-mediated intracortical inhibition within the primary motor cortex during selective movement prevention University of Auckland Bachelor of Science Honours Honours Full Time Matthew Cowie
    2015 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Executive control in young adults – the effect of physical inactivity on reaction time and motor preparation University of Auckland Bachelor of Science Honours Honours Full Time Jonathon Finch
  • Mentoring

    Date Topic Location Name
    2019 - 2022 PhD Topic: Response Inhibition University of Auckland Corey Wadsley
    2018 - 2019 PhD Topic: Motor Recovery after Cerebellar Stroke University of Auckland Samuel Dodd
    2015 - 2019 PhD Topic: What is the relationship among motor imagery abilities, hypnotic susceptibility and motor Conversion Disorder? University of Auckland Alexander Srzich
    2015 - 2019 PhD Topic: Effects of ageing and stroke on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)–mediated inhibition in human motor cortex: Implications for motor learning and recovery University of Auckland Ronan Mooney
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Board Member Australasian Brain Stimulation Society - Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2015 - ongoing Member Centre for Brain Research New Zealand
    2015 - 2022 Member Brain Research New Zealand New Zealand
    2013 - 2021 Member Society for Neuroscience New Zealand
    2008 - 2010 Member Australian Neuroscience Society Australia
    2006 - 2009 Member Research Centre for Human Motor Control Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2020 - ongoing Board Member Experimental Brain Research - Australia

Connect With Me
External Profiles