red and teal spiral bar graphic


photo of Sook-Lei Liew, Phd, OTR/L

Sook-Lei Liew, Phd, OTR/L

Assistant Professor

Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
University of Southern California


Phone: 323-442-0315

Lead Mentor

C. Winstein, PhD, PT, FAPTA

Research Areas

Big data neuroimaging to predict motor recovery and rehabilitation outcomes after stroke; brain computer interfaces, virtual reality, and noninvasive brain stimulation to promote motor recovery after severe stroke

  • 2006 BA Kinesiology/English, Rice University
  • 2008 MA Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California
  • 2012 PhD Occupational Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Southern California

Research Funding

NIH CLDR Pilot Grant from P2CHD065702 01/01/17 - 12/31/17 NIH Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR) "ATLAS: Anatomical Tracings of Lesions After Stroke" This award supports the archiving of the largest known, manually traced lesion dataset of over 300 MRIs from individuals after stroke for open-source testing and development of new tools. Role: Principal Investigator

AHA 16IRG26960017 01/01/16 - 12/31/17 American Heart Association National Innovative Research Grant "REINVENT: A Closed-Loop VR Neurofeedback System for Motor Recovery after Severe Stroke" This novel project aims to develop and test a portable, affordable brain computer interface for individuals with severe stroke. It uses 3D-printed hardware for electroencephalography and electromyography, and provides biologically-integrated feedback via immersive virtual reality. Role: Principal Investigator

K12 HD055929 01/01/15 - 08/01/20 NIH K12 Rehabilitation Research Career Development Grant (NIH NICHD/NCMRR, NINDS) "Noninvasive Brain Stimulation and Neuroimaging to Characterize and Stimulate Recovery after Stroke" The goal of this career development award is to use neuroimaging to identify potential neuroanatomical predictors of responsiveness to noninvasive brain stimulation after stroke. Role: Research Scholar (PI: Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Ph.D., OTR/L)

NIH NINDS Intramural Competitive Fellowship Award 05/01/14 - 12/31/15 NIH/NINDS (Intramural equivalent to NIH NRSA F32) "Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback for Motor Recovery after Stroke" This award funded the development and testing of a brain computer interface, specifically using real-time fMRI connectivity neurofeedback, to improve neural motor connectivity after stroke. Role: Principal Investigator

Publications (past 5 years)

Sainburg, R., Liew, S.-L., Frey, S., & Clark, F. (In press). Promoting Translational Research Between Movement Science, Occupational Science, and Occupational Therapy. Journal of Motor Behavior.

Sugiyama, T., & Liew, S.-L.** (In press). The effects and mechanisms of different sensory contexts on motor learning. Journal of Motor Behavior.

Ito, K., & Liew, S.-L.** (In press). Calculating the laterality index using FSL for stroke neuroimaging data. Proc Brainhack Americas, GigaScience.

Kan, E., Anglin, J., Borich, M., Jahanshad, N., Thompson, P, & Liew, S.-L.** (In press). Facilitating big data meta-analyses for clinical neuroimaging through ENIGMA wrapper scripts. Proc Brainhack Americas, GigaScience.

Craddock R, S. Margulies D, Bellec P, Nolan Nichols B, Alcauter S, A. Barrios F, Burnod Y, J. Cannistraci C, Cohen-Adad J, De Leener B, Dery S, Downar J, Dunlop K, R. Franco A, Seligman Froehlich C, J. Gerber A, S. Ghosh S, J. Grabowski T, Hill S, Sólon Heinsfeld A, Matthew Hutchison R, Kundu P, R. Laird A, Liew S-L, J. Lurie D, G. McLaren D, Meneguzzi F, Mennes M, Mesmoudi S, O'Connor D, H. Pasaye E, Peltier S, Poline J-B, Prasad G, Fraga Pereira R, Quirion P-O, Rokem A, S. Saad Z, Shi Y, C. Strother S, Toro R, Q. Uddin L, D. Van Horn J, W. Van Meter J, C. Welsh R, Xu T. (2016) Brainhack: A collaborative workshop for the open neuroscience community. GigaScience 5:1-8.

Buch, E.*, Liew, S.-L.*, & Cohen, L. (2016). Plasticity of sensorimotor networks: Multiple overlapping mechanisms. The Neuroscientist, doi:10.1177/1073858416638641

Liew, S.-L., Rana, M., Cornelsen, S., Furtunato de Barros Filho, M., Birbaumer, N., Sitaram, R., Cohen, L, & Soekadar, S. (2015). Improving motor cortico-thalamic communication after stroke using real-time fMRI connectivity-based neurofeedback. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, doi:10.1177/1545968315619699.

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.

Johnson, A., Liew, S.-L., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2011). Demographics, learning, and imitation, and body schema in Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Indiana University Undergraduate Journal of Cognitive Science, 6:8-15. [Mentored undergraduate]

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

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography

UF: University of Florida logo
USC: University of Southern California logo
UTMB: University of Texas Medical Branch logo