Michael Ridding

Professor Michael Ridding

University Professorial Research Fellow

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Professor Michael Ridding.

I am a neurophysiologist who uses non-invasive techniques (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography) to investigate human brain plasticity in healthy and impaired populations. Current projects of mine include the development of novel non-invasive techniques for inducing and studying human brain plasticity. 2. The characterisation of changes in brain plasticity following stroke. 3. Identification of neurophysiological markers of early cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. 4. Lifestyle influences on brain plasticity, network connectivity and cognition.

My Research

I am a neurophysiologist who uses non-invasive techniques (including non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS), high density electroencephalography, MRI/PET) to probe human neuroplasticity and brain network connectivity to examine their contribution to the pathophysiology of chronic disabling neurological conditions (including neurodevelopmental disorders, stroke, and dementia) across the lifespan. Brain network connectivity and its ability to change (neuroplasticity) is critical for all cognitive function. In addition, network connectivity and neuroplasticity modify an individual’s impairment with pathological load and influence neurological rehabilitation.

In my early work I pioneered the use of NIBS techniques to examine cortical inhibition in healthy and neurologically impaired subjects. This resulted in seminal discoveries of the role of cortical inhibition in movement control. I was the first to show abnormal cortical inhibition in Parkinson’s disease and focal dystonia. I made internationally recognised research contributions in the area of human cortical neuroplasticity, for example by providing novel insights into the role of afferent input in driving cortical plasticity. More recently I have established evidence for the influence of ageing, physical activity and preterm birth on human neuroplasticity.

My research vision is “a healthy brain for life” and to this end my work is now focused on (1) examining life-course influences on brain connectivity and neuroplasticity, (2) investigating how neuroplasticity and connectivity contribute to impairment and (3) how neuroplasticity and connectivity influence susceptibility to later life impairment. I will use the knowledge gained from these studies to underpin the development of effective intervention strategies. To achieve this I have established a multidisciplinary research team of clinicians, physiotherapists, and neurophysiologists.

NeuroPAD group members

Prof Michael Ridding: Co-leader

Dr Julia Pitcher: Co-leader

Dr Luke Schneider: Post Doctoral Researcher

Dr Mitchell Goldsworthy: NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow

Dr Michelle Marneweck: NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow

Dr Carolyn Berryman: NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow

Dr Brenton Hordacre: Post Doctoral Researcher

Ms Bahar Moezzi: Research Officer

Mr Lynton Graetz: Research Assistant

Ms Jessica Martin: Hons Student

Ms Samantha Newell: Hons Student

Mr Jago Van Dam: Hons Student

Ms Olivia Paris Quinn: Hons Student

Dr Zhimai Lyu: Visiting Researcher

Ms Ashley Rowland: Summer Scholar

Grants and Funding
ARC Research Support
Date Project details Investigators Amount
2015 - 2017 Discovery Project grant (DP150100930). Inhibitory mechanisms in the ageing brain and their functional relevance. CIs JG Semmler, MC Ridding and U Ziemann. Total funding $266,300
2003 - 2007   Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellowship (MCR) and Discovery Project grant (DP0343198). Afferent stimulation-induced plasticity and its functional significance. CIs MC Ridding and TS Miles. Total funding $630,910
2004  LIEF Grant (ID LE0453073). Establishment of a regional rTMS Facility. CIs MC Ridding, TS Miles, MA Nordstrom, KS Turker, PD Thompson, S Hillier, R Young. ARC funding $129,485 plus collaborative funding from Uni Adelaide (DVC(R)) $37,500, Faculty of Science $12,500, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science $25,000, Faculty of Health Sciences $6,000, Department of Medicine $5,000; Flinders University $5,000; Uni SA $15,000. Total funding $235,485.
1999 - 2001 ARC Large Grant (ID A09943096).   “The role of afferent input in human cortical reorganisation”. (Note: I applied for an ARC Research Fellowship in conjunction with this grant application. Although I initiated the project and largely wrote the application ARC regulations stopped me for being a Chief Investigator on the application). Co-author with CIs TS Miles and PD Thompson. (1999 $63500; 2000 $53,500; 2001 51,900).


    NHMRC Research Support
    Date Project details Investigators Amount
    2014 - 2017  Project Grant (ID APP1058639). "Enhanced human neuroplasticity following stroke". CIs MC Ridding, JC Rothwell, S Koblar, N Ward, M McDonnell. $735,659.80
    2014 - 2016    Project Grant (ID APP1065016). "The physiology of learning and memory impairments in adolescents born preterm". CIs JB Pitcher, MC Ridding, JC Rothwell, A Clow, N Hodyl. $511,226.00
    2008-13  Senior Research Fellowship (ID519313).   $107.5K/year
    2010-13 Project Grant (ID 627104). " The influence of human cortical rhythms on the induction of plasticity". CIs MC Ridding, JC Rothwell. $294,234
    2009-11 Project Grant (ID 565302). "Harnessing human motor cortical plasticity for performance and rehabilitation". CI MC Ridding. $339,267
    2009-11  Project Grant (ID 565344). "The neurophysiology of abnormal motor development in preterm children". CIs JB Pitcher, MC Ridding, TA Nettelbeck, JS Robinson.  $477,248
    2009 NHMRC Equipment Grant. “A fully integrated EEG, EMG, evoked potentials and transcranial magnetic stimulation neuronavigation system for comprehensive neurodevelopmental follow-up, neuroplasticity and neurocognitive studies.” MC Ridding, JB Pitcher, NR Burns, RJ Casson, VL Clifton, GA Dekker, J Dodd, JD Kennedy, M Makrides, A Ma-Wyatt, TJ Nettleback, MA Nordstrom, P Rolan, JG Semmler, MJ Stark, GA Wittert. $75,000
    2007 NHMRC Equipment Grant. Neuromotor Training and Rehabilitation Facility. JG Semmler, MA Nordstrom, JB Pitcher, G Todd, MC Ridding, PD Thompson. $38,000
    2005 - 2007 Project grant (ID 349498), “The role of afferent input in the development of focal task specific dystonia”.  CIs MC Ridding, MA Nordstrom, PD Thompson.  
    2005 - 2007 NHMRC Project grant (ID 349452), “Neuroplasticity and hand motor skill”.  CIs MA Nordstrom, MC Ridding, PD Thompson.  
    2003 - 2005 NHMRC Project grant (ID 250394), “Mechanisms of cortical reorganisation and functional recovery following stroke”.  CIs MC Ridding, TS Miles, PD Thompson.  
    2003 Offered an RD Wright Career Development Award. Accepted the offer of an ARC QEII Fellowship in preference.     
    2003 NHMRC Equipment grant. Support for purchase of Rapid Rate Magnetic Stimulator.   $23,000



    Over the last 10-15 years I have given occasional lectures to undergraduate students in a number of courses including BSc (year III) in Psychology and Human Movement studies.

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

      Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
      2018 Co-Supervisor The Neuroscience of Learning: An Evaluation of Different Modes of Studying Anatomy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Toby Martin Branson
    • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

      Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
      2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Feedback Optimization for Restorative Brain-Computer Interfaces Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Sam Darvishi
      2012 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Towards establishing long-lasting neuroplastic change in the human primary motor cortex Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mitchell Ryan Goldsworthy
      2012 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Investigating Intracortical Inhibitory Mechanisms Contributing to Age-related Deficits in Motor Function Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr George McKenzie Opie
      2010 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Approaches to Optimise Neuroplasticity Induction in the Human Motor Cortex Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Suzanne Mary McAllister
      2010 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Human Motor Cortex Plasticity Induction is Influenced by Multiple Factors Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr John Cirillo
      2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Age Related Changes in Corticospinal and Intracortical Excitability in Men Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Ashleigh Smith
      2006 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Experimentally Induced Cortical Plasticity: Neurophysiological and Functional Correlates in Health and Disease Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Siobhan Schabrun
      2005 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Factors Influencing the Induction of Neuroplastic Changes in Human Motor Cortex Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Martin Sale
      2003 - 2006 Co-Supervisor Human Motor Cortical Plasticity and Upper Limb Performance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Michelle McDonnell
      2001 - 2005 Co-Supervisor Induction of Cortical Reorganisation for Rehabilitation in Stroke Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jeric Uy
    • Board Memberships

      Date Role Board name Institution name Country
      2018 - ongoing President Committee member and President Australasian Brain Stimulation Society Australia
    • Committee Memberships

      Date Role Committee Institution Country
      2016 - ongoing Member 2017 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference
      2016 - ongoing Member 2016 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference.
      2014 - ongoing Member Symposium, Combining TMS and EEG: from consciousness to brain oscillations. 30th International Congress of Clinical Neurophysiology (ICCN). Germany
      2014 - ongoing Chair Symposium “Harnessing brain plasticity for rehabilitation. (Symposium 17). 34th Australian Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting
      2014 - ongoing Member Motor Control Meeting. Official satellite meeting of the 34th Australasian Neuroscience Society conference.
      2013 - ongoing Member Organising Committee - 5th International Conference on Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Germany
    • Editorial Boards

      Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
      2014 - ongoing Member Clinical Neurophysiology
      2013 - ongoing Editor European Journal of Neuroscience
      2012 - 2014 Editor Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
    • Position: University Professorial Research Fellow
    • Phone: 83137592
    • Email: michael.ridding@adelaide.edu.au
    • Fax: 8313 3356
    • Campus: Womens & Childrens Hospital
    • Building: WCH - Norwich Centre, floor G
    • Room: G 15
    • Org Unit: Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

    Connect With Me
    External Profiles