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Physical Therapy Faculty Undergrad Research Projects
 

Student Binder-Macleod

The Muscle Performance Laboratory is used to perform research in electrical stimulation of skeletal muscle. Currently funded research includes: 1) Force optimization of skeletal muscle: The overall goal of this work is to enhance our understanding of the factors that affect the force responses of skeletal muscle to electrical stimulation using brief trains of pulses. 2) FES and Biomechanics: treatment of movement disorders: The goal of this project is to assist patients with CNS dysfunction to produce improved walking patterns through a combination of functional electrical stimulation (FES), robotic-assistive training and biomechanical modeling.

 

James (Cole) Galloway

Research focuses on motor behaviors of infants: how neural, biomechanical, behavioral and environmental influences interactions as infants learn to coordinate their early head, arm and leg behaviors for later skills such as reaching, sitting, and walking. Current projects include: 1) a series of studies on the development of object exploration with the arms and legs; shoulder and elbow coordination during the development of reaching; and learning and memory in infants at risk for coordination disorders such as cerebral palsy 2) a series of studies focused on the effect of early, intensive movement and postural training on motor development in the first months of life and 3) the first comprehensive study of the relationship of advance brain imaging, motor learning and coordination in high risk preterm infants and development of mobility devices for special needs infants.

 

Gregory Hicks

Research interests include: developing interventions for persons with low back pain, particularly older adults; developing rehabilitation strategies focused on trunk muscle function for older adults with increased fall risk; and understanding factors (i.e. micronutrient status, inflammation) that impact body composition and physical function in older adults.

 

Irene Sprague Davis

Relationships between lower extremity structure, mechanics and injury. The purpose of this research is to further understand the mechanics of the lower extremity during locomotor activities (walking, running, etc.) and how it relates to injury. High speed video analysis, along with force plates are used to gain information regarding movement patterns and forces experienced by the lower extremity. Based upon our past research findings, we are now engaged in a number of gait retraining projects. These are designed to teach individuals to alter their faulty walking and running patterns. Familiarity with computers helpful. Student may work for credit, work-study or volunteer.

 

Sam Lee

The research focus is on electrical stimulation to enhance muscle strength and function following strength training in children with cerebral palsy. Additionally Dr. Lee's interests include implementing Functional Electrical Stimulation programs for cycling and upright mobility in individuals with cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries

 

Darcy Reisman

1) Locomotor Adaptations following Stroke: goal of this research is to understand the capacity of persons with post-stroke hemiparesis to adapt locomotor interlimb coordination and the influence of this on gait symmetry. 2) Speed Manipulation and Locomotion Post-Stroke: The long term goal of this research is to develop speed dependent treadmill training programs that improve walking speed, symmetry and ultimately community participation in people with hemiparesis after stroke.

 

Katherine S Rudolph

(1) Control of knee stability in persons osteoarthritis in the knee; (2) development of a computer controlled Smart Knee Brace that will help re-train walking in people who have had a stroke, (3) speed dependent changes in movement and muscle activation patterns and energy cost in people with post-stroke hemiparesis. The overall goal is to improve patient function through scientifically based physical therapy interventions through better understanding of neuromuscular mechanisms during walking. Three-dimensional motion analysis and electromyography (muscle activation) are used to study movement and muscle activity patterns. Required: Computer skills including word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint; good organizational skills; self-directed, enjoys working with people. Recommended: Knowledge of human anatomy and statistics. Student may work for credit, salary/stipend, work-study, or as a volunteer. I would consider sponsoring a

 

John Peter Scholz

(1) The nature of movement coordination underlying performance of functional tasks; (2) How motor control and coordination are altered in patients with neurological disorders such as stroke; (3) Effect of novel interventions on the recovery of function following a stroke. Our research seeks to understand how the nervous system coordinates the muscles and joints to successfully perform functional tasks such as reaching or sit-to-stand consistently. Because there are many more muscles and joints available than are strictly necessary to achieve most functional tasks, it is important to know how the nervous system "decides" which combinations of these motor elements to use. This is a focus of our work. In this context, we also are interested in understanding the nature of coordination deficits in patients with neurological disorders such as a stroke and developing new strategies for helping such patients recover their function. We perform behavioral experiments with people using techniques such as camera-based motion analysis to record joint motions, electromyography to sense the activity of participating muscles, and force transducers to measure forces applied by subjects during performance of these tasks. Students may participate as volunteers or for course credit. In addition, application for Peter White or Science & Engineering Fellowships for research during the summer is possible.

 

Lynn Snyder-Mackler

The validation of therapeutic interventions for recovery of function of injured muscle. The specific therapeutic intervention that I am most interested in is neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). This laboratory will investigate whether NMES affects the way patients with weak muscles recover from injury. The muscle model is the human quadriceps after anterior cruciate ligament injury. We will examine the effects of NMES on thigh muscle strength, fatigue and gait parameters. We will also examine the relationship between muscle strength and function. Helpful: Word processing/spreadsheet user; statistics. Student may work for credit, salary/stipend, work-study or as a volunteer.

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