His main area of interest is transcranial magnetic stimulation and motor control. His group has pioneered the use of the paired-pulse technique (Kujirai et al 1992), interhemispheric studies (Ferbert et al 1992). Professor Rothwell was educated at the University of Cambridge and progressed to a Medical Research Council Fellowship.
He did his Doctor of Philosophy under David Marsden.
He became head of the Medical Research Council Human Movement and Balance Unit upon the untimely death of David Marsden. He has written over 400 papers and numerous chapters.