HEALTH SCIENCES COMPLEX

A Hub of Innovation

The Health Sciences Complex is a hub of innovation where discovery is connected to delivery and experiential learning for our students, not just in theory but in practice.

Translation Hallway, the main thoroughfare in the Health Sciences Complex, was intentionally designed with the labs parallel to the clinics. Taking the latest research and translating it into cutting-edge care at our clinics.

 

Our expert clinicians provide comprehensive, coordinated care while our students get the opportunity to interact with patients in our three clinics. With over 30,000 patient visits a year, we take our commitment to improve the health of individuals seriously, while training the workforce of the future.

 

Our researchers collaborate across the University on meaningful research projects and with more than 20 labs in the Health Sciences Complex alone, innovation and impact are at the forefront of what we focus on every day. 

RESEARCH LABS

Dr Cole Galloway and Dr. Samuel Lee - Research focuses on improving social engagement and mobility for children with disabilities. Initiatives include a pediatric portable harness, modified ride-on cars and adult in-home/community harnesses. Research also focuses on improving physical function of kids with Cerebral Palsy by developing training approaches and technologies to enhance strength, fitness and participation.

Dr. Hyosub Kim - Researches how the brain controls reaching movements through the combined use of behavioral testing with robotics and virtual reality and mathematical modeling. They are interested in how processes underlying normal movement are affected by neurological diseases like stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Their goal is that this work will advance rehabilitation by providing specific targets for intervention and more sensitive tests for clinical diagnosis. 

Lab website

Drs. Jill Higginson and Panos Artemiadis – Study human movement and how the brain makes muscles function.  Improves the understanding of muscle coordination for normal and pathological movements through coupled experimental and simulation studies. The group uses computational models and robotics to form a scientific rationale for therapeutic interventions to improve movement.

Dr. Darcy Reisman and Dr. Susanne Morton – Stroke Studies - Focuses on understanding post-stroke recovery, neuroplasticity and motor learning in those with neurologic impairment. We use motion capture equipment that can precisely measure movements during walking. We study the capacity of healthy subjects and those post-stroke to learn new walking patterns using our treadmill that has 2 separate belts, one under each leg, that can be driven at different speeds and our visual feedback system that can provide real-time visual feedback that can be accurate or inaccurate, depending on the walking pattern we want the person to learn.

Dr. Anjana Bhat’s team studies the behaviors of children with autism and develops movement-based interventions to address their social communication difficulties. Currently, they are testing effects of group dance and hippotherapy in school-age children with autism.

Dr. Michele Lobo’s group designs and studies cutting edge interventions to advance learning and development for infants and children with disabilities. Dr. Lobo also runs the Super Suits FUNctional Fashion and Wearable Technology Program that designs and tests low- and high-tech wearables aimed at increasing independence and quality of life for people with disabilities. This includes things like clothing with adapted fit or fasteners that are easier to don and doff through clothing that senses and supports movement (e.g. the Playskin Exoskeletal Garment that helps kids move their arms and play).  

Dr. John Jeka –  The primary goal of this lab is to understand how humans maintain upright balance while walking. The bipedal human is inherently unstable and needs a sophisticated control system to remain upright. We investigate how the nervous system uses sensory information (vision, inner ear) to estimate where we are and how fast we are moving. We then study how signals to the muscles keep the body upright as we walk on uneven terrain or around obstacles. The applied goal is to better understand patient populations with neurological disease and injury that lead to balance problems, such as Parkinson’s disease and concussion.

Dr. Karin Silbernagel – Investigates improving treatment and outcomes for tendon injuries.

Dr. Susanne Morton - Uses newly-available technology to measure brain and nervous system function in healthy people and people with neurologic conditions.  The research shows how well the brain is controlling movement before and after a particular rehabilitation intervention to determine whether our intervention has actually improved brain function or not. 

Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler – Lab is home to research that seeks to improve rehab outcomes for patients with knee/ACL injuries and focuses on improving physical function and societal participation in individuals with hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Dr. Jeremy Crenshaw – Falls Research – Assessing and improving people's ability to recover from a fall in order to reduce fall risk, prevent injury, and enable physical activity.

Dr. Jocelyn Hafer - Aging Gait & Mobility - Determining how and why gait deteriorates with age, including muscle weakness and joint pathology; identifying targets for rehabilitation or exercise to maintain or improve mobility function in aging adults.

Drs. Tom Buchanan & John Cashaback – Research on neuromusculoskeletal modeling.  They look at muscle control strategies and how that can change due to injury or pathology. They use rehabilitation robots to study the control of arm movements and gait analysis to study recovery from ACL injury.

This lab is being remodeled this fall and Dr. Dawn Elliott will be moving in. She studies spinal tissue injuries using a multi-scale approach.

Dr. Kurt Manal – They image muscle, tendon, and cartilage using ultrasound and MRI to determine subject specific properties for musculoskeletal models.  Specifically they look at tendon structure and knee structure in ACL injured and other populations.

Dr. Fabrizio Sergi – Lab is used for experiments on human robot interaction. Two exoskeletal robots are currently used: the ALEX-II, a treadmill based leg exoskeleton for gait training, and the MR-SoftWrist, an MR-compatible wrist robot for experiments on the control of wrist movements during functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Drs. Fabrizio Sergi & Curtis Johnson– Lab is used for the fabrication and testing of human-interacting robots. Two systems are currently being tested: the UDiffWrist, a lightweight cable-driven wrist exoskeleton used for robot-aided rehabilitation of fine motor skills, and the EMG-controlled ball and beam, a system used for teaching neuromuscular interfaces and nonlinear controls in the class Biomechatronics (BMEG467/667).

Dr. Tom Buckley –  Lab is focused on understanding the short and long term recovery from sports related concussions and they use force plates, motion capture, and accelerometers to measure balance after concussion. They also look at the effects of playing collision sports like hockey and football and how that affects a person's nervous system.  They also use MRIs to measure changes in the brain in athletes playing collision sports".

Lab functions in both healthy and diseased states. Vascular responses to lifestyle behaviors including diet and exercise are studied. The lab also has a large focus on studying vascular dysfunction in Chronic Kidney Disease patients with the aim of reducing the very high risk of Cardiovascular Disease in these patients

Researching cardiovascular disease, heart failure, heart disease, stroke, national average. Creating interventions that will improve heart health. One of the data collection rooms is investigating blood pressure and nervous system comparisons between different groups of women (ie., young women to post-menopausal  women, etc.)

Dr Matt Hudson  - Researching the molecular mechanisms responsible for neuromuscular and neurological pathologies including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, muscle wasting/cachexia, lysosomal storage diseases, and head injury.  The lab has a large focus on identifying small molecule biomarkers of disease related injury and progression of disease, as well as identifying and developing therapeutics for treatment.

Dr. Sheau-Ching Chai research focuses on the role of functional foods (foods and food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition) and dietary antioxidants in prevention and reduction of age- and nutrition-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline. Also research of the link between inflammation, oxidative stress, and chronic conditions in humans. Dr. Chai has conducted several dietary intervention studies involving older adults and postmenopausal women. Her research findings have shown that several plant-derived foods are able to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, bone loss and cognitive decline. 

Dr. Chris Martens – This lab is interested in understanding how impaired blood flow to the brain during aging contributes to cognitive decline and risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  They use ultrasound probes over the temple region of the head to study how well blood flows to the brain of older adults and patients with early stages of memory loss, and relate these responses to the participants’ performance on various memory tests.  In addition to understanding why these changes occur with age, they are also conducting clinical trials to restore brain blood flow in patients with early memory loss, in hopes of decreasing their risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Anjana Bhat - This lab examines brain activity patterns using optical technology called fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy). They put a cap with probes on your head that emits and absorbs light beams. It is completely safe and non-invasive. As the light passes through the skull and into the brain, it forms a banana-shaped arc and picks up a signal based on how much the blood supply/oxygenation is reaching to the brain parts below the probe. You could be problem solving tasks, make gestures to another person, or reach for objects. The fNIRS system will pick up activity in different parts of the brain that are being used for that activity. Currently, adults and children with and without autism are being tested on various tasks.

Dr. Carrie P. Earthman - This lab utilizes measures of muscle mass, muscle quality, and protein and energy metabolism to improve our understanding of the interactions between disease, illness and aging and nutritional status.  The primary goal is to more effectively identify and monitor poor muscle health as a key feature of clinical malnutrition in hospital and outpatient settings, and develop optimal interprofessional management strategies to improve nutrition status and health outcomes in individuals with chronic diseases such as heart failure and cancer, and in those undergoing hospitalization for acute illness or injury.

Dr. Greg Hicks & Dr. Darcy Reisman – Research focus on improving physical function and societal participation in older adults with low back pain and hip pain.