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Musculoskeletal Physiology Laboratory

Musculoskeletal Physiology Laboratory


Research in this lab focuses on (1) understanding the mechanical signals and nutrients that optimize growth and development of the musculoskeletal system and (2) the development and application of techniques that enable a detailed assessment of musculoskeletal health in humans.

Musculoskeletal Physiology Laboratory
Research Video

Lab Personnel

Lab Director:
Christopher Modlesky, PhD - modlesky@udel.edu

Lab Personnel:
• Tori Haggett, BS, MS student in Biomechanics - hagget@udel.edu
• Harshvardhan Singh, MS, PT, PhD Student in Applied Physiology - harsh@udel.edu
• Daniel Whitney, BS, PhD Student in Applied Physiology - dwhitney@udel.edu
• Alex Fang, Undergraduate Research Assistant
• April Gulotti, Undergraduate Research Assistant
• John Kingston, Undergraduate Research Assistant
• Mark LaGreca, Undergraduate Research Assistant
• David Lerman, Undergraduate Research Assistant
• Kimberly Milla Ceja, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Focus

The focus of the research in our lab is to understand the mechanical signals and nutrients that optimize growth and development of the musculoskeletal system. We are particularly interested in studying the effect of conditions that compromise bone and muscle development due to limited mobility, such as cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury.

Another research focus in our lab is on the development and application of techniques that enable a detailed assessment of musculoskeletal health in humans. We have developed magnetic resonance imaging software that allows us to evaluate the structural features of trabecular and cortical bone, skeletal muscle mass and adipose tissue infiltration of skeletal muscle in humans.

Current Projects

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neuromuscular disorder that affects approximately 800,000 individuals in the U.S. An estimated 70-80% of these individuals have spasticity which affects ambulation and requires management. Therefore, the treatment of spasticity is a primary goal of interventions for children with CP. One treatment widely used to reduce spasticity is Botox because of its ability to temporarily paralyze a muscle. However, no studies have determined the effect of Botox treatment on bone in humans. Also, a low intensity vibration treatment has been shown to improve bone structure in the lower extremity bones of children with CP.

The aims of this study are: 1) to determine the effect of Botox treatment in conjunction with a daily vibration treatment on bone mass, bone structure and muscle function in children with spastic CP; 2) to identify the mechanism that underlies the effect of Botox and vibration on bone and muscle in children with spastic CP; and 3) to determine the effect of Botox and vibration on physical activity and balance in children with spastic CP.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health

Recent Publications
  1. Modlesky CM, Whitney DG, Carter PT, Allerton BM, Kirby JT, Miller F. The pattern of trabecular bone microarchitecture in the distal femur of typically developing children and its effect on processing of magnetic resonance images. Bone. 60:1-7, 2104
  2. Riad J, Modlesky CM, Gutierrez-Farewik EM, Broström E. M. Are muscle volume differences related to concentric muscle work during walking in spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 92:1937-43, 2012
  3. Maser RE, Kolm P, Modlesky CM, Beck TJ, Lenhard MJ. Hip strength in adults with type 1 diabetes is associated with age at onset of diabetes. J Clin Densitom. 15(1):78-85, 2012
  4. Rawal R, Miller F, Modlesky CM. Effect of a novel procedure for limiting motion on body composition and bone estimates by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in children. J Pediatr.159(4): 691-4e2, 2011
  5. Modlesky CM, Bajaj D, Kirby JT, Mulrooney BM, Rowe DA, Miller F. Sex differences in trabecular bone microarchitecture are not detected in pre and early pubertal children using magnetic resonance imaging. Bone 49(5):1067-72, 2011.
  6. Johnston TE, Modlesky CM, Betz RR, Lauer RT. Muscle changes following cycling and/or electrical stimulation in pediatric spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 92(12):1937-43, 2011
  7. Logan, S.W., Modlesky, C.M., Scrabis-Fletcher, K., Getchell, N. A. The relationship between motor skill proficiency and body composition in preschool children. Res Quart Exerc Sport. 82(3):442-8, 2011
  8. Modlesky, C.M., Cavaiola, M.L., Smith, J.J., Rowe, D.A., Johnson, D.L., Miller F. A DXA-based mathematical model predicts midthigh muscle mass from magnetic resonance imaging in typically developing children but not in those with cerebral palsy. J Nutr. 140(12):2260-5, 2010
  9. Johnson, D.L, Miller, F., Subramanian, P. Modlesky, C.M. Adipose tissue infiltration of skeletal muscle in children with cerebral palsy. J Pediatr. 154(5):715-20, 2009
  10. Mackenzie, S.J., Getchell, N., Modlesky, C.M., Miller, F., Jaric, S. Using grasping tasks to evaluate hand force coordination in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Arch Phys Med Rehab 90(8):1439-42 2, 2009
  11. Modlesky, C.M., Kanoff, S.A., Johnson, D.L., Subramanian, P., Miller, F. Evaluation of the femoral midshaft in children with cerebral palsy using magnetic resonance imaging. Osteoporosis Int. 20(4):609-15, 2009
  12. Modlesky, C.M., Subramanian, P., Miller, F. Underdeveloped trabecular bone microarchitecture is detected in children with cerebral palsy using high resolution magnetic resonance imaging. Osteoporosis Int 19:169-176, 2008
  13. Modlesky, C.M., Majumdar, S., Dudley, G.A. Trabecular bone microarchitecture in female collegiate gymnasts. Osteoporosis Int. 19:1011-8, 2008

  • College of Health Sciences  •   Department of Kinesiology & Applied Physiology  •   541 South College Ave.
    Newark, DE 19716    •   Phone: 302-831-2937  •  kaap-info@udel.edu   •  © 2014
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