Athletic Training Research Laboratory
The primary focus of this lab within the domain of Sports Medicine is to study sensorimotor and neurocognitive aspects of musculoskeletal related injury. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on sport related concussions.
- Examine injury mechanisms, prevention and rehabilitation strategies in athletes for accelerated return to competition
Cardiovascular Nutrition Research Laboratory
Our research focus is the role of dietary nutrients on the cardiovascular system in healthy and diseased states. We use a variety of techniques to study heart and blood vessel function in humans.
- Vascular Effects of Dietary Potassium in Humans
- Vascular Effects of Dietary Salt in Humans with Salt-Resistant Blood Pressure
- The Role of Antioxidants on Attenuating the Acute Effects of a Salty Meal
- Vegetarian Diets and Vascular Function
- Habitual Diet Study
- Impact of Diet on the Gut Microbiota
Cardiovascular Physiology Research Laboratory
The focus of the laboratory is to examine blood pressure regulation and autonomic nervous system function in humans. The lab is working on projects related to better understanding how fluid and electrolyte imbalance in the body affect blood pressure control at rest and during exercise, and brain blood vessel function. We study healthy young and older adults, and those who are hypertensive or chronically consume high dietary sodium.
- The influence of Habitual Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness on Cardiovascular Responses to Dietary Salt
- Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Reactivity to Acute Dietary Sodium – PI: Kamila U. Migdal
- Blood Pressure Control During Mild Dehydration, and the Effect of Aging – PI: Joseph C. Watso
- The Effects of Dietary Salt on Blood Pressure Responses to Acute Aerobic Exercise – PI: Matthew B. Babcock
Concussion Research Laboratory
The overarching goals of the Concussion Research Group are to explore balance following sports related concussion particularly during recovery and beyond return to participation & to investigate the effect of repetitive head impacts on neurological health and physiology in collision sport athletes.
- NCAA/DoD Grand Alliance Concussion Education Research Education (CARE) program
- Unresolved Post-Concussion Balance Deficits and Subsequent Musculoskeletal Injury
- Neurobiological Consequences Subconcussive Impacts and Concussion in Ice Hockey
- Effects of Dual-Task Cognitive Training on Head Impact Kinematics
Control of Balance and Locomotion Research Laboratory
The primary goal of the CoBaL lab is to understand the neural and biomechanical basis of human upright balance. 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 body dynamics and guide motor processes for upright balance control. The applied goal is to better understand patient populations with neurological disease and injury that lead to balance problems.
Website: Control of Balance and Locomotion Research Laboratory
Director: John J. Jeka
- Mechanisms of Balance Control during Locomotion
- Sub-Concussion and Balance Control
- Sensory Processing and Balance Control during Walking in CP
- Sensory Processing and Balance Control during Walking in Parkinson’s Disease
- Balance During Obstacle Avoidance
- Sensor Fusion for Balance Control in Children with Cerebral Palsy
Developmental Motor Control Research Laboratory
Research focuses on ways to improve the ability of children to move successfully in their everyday lives. In particular, we study the development of motor control and coordination as well as perceptual/cognitive/motor relationships in typically and atypically developing children and adults.
- Patterns of cortical oxygenation as a function of motor planning with different Tower of Hanoi puzzles in children with and without developmental coordination disorder
- A longitudinal study of neural biomarkers of brain plasticity in a biofeedback rehabilitation protocol for stroke patients
Exercise Neuroscience Research Laboratory
The goal of the ExNeuro Lab is to provide new knowledge about the use of exercise to improve mobility and fitness in people with Parkinson’s disease and older adults. We focus on the effects of exercise on the nervous system and the prevention of age- or disease-related slowing.
- Coming Soon
Falls and Mobility Research Laboratory
The long-term goal of our research is to reduce the incidence of falls, lessen the severity of fall injury, and enable physical activity in patient populations. We employ clinical and biomechanical analyses of mobility and balance, including tests of fall recovery. Our research is applicable to many groups of people, including older adults, individuals with chronic stroke, and children with cerebral palsy.
- Fall-recovery training for individuals with chronic stroke
- Development of a comprehensive evaluation of postural control in children with cerebral palsy
- A study of how counter-rotation movements help maintain balance
- The effects of backward walking training on balance, mobility, strength and fall recovery in older adults
Gait Biomechanics Research Laboratory
The overall aim is to understand the mechanisms responsible for changes in gait due to age, pathology, injury, or exercise. Understanding how changes in muscle strength, power, or control affect gait biomechanics will enable the development of targeted interventions to help adults maintain mobility across the lifespan. We examine the role of muscle function and behavior in gait biomechanics by testing the response of gait to transient, fatigue-induced changes in muscle strength and by studying how long-term physical activity or gait behavior (as measured in the real world) relates to gait biomechanics and joint loading.
- Development of tools for real-world gait analysis
- Determining the role of muscle weakness in altered gait
Molecular Physiology Research Laboratory
The focus of our lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for physiological and pathological processes. Our lab primarily focuses on skeletal muscle related pathologies and sports related head impact.
- Neurological and Neuromuscular disorders including head impact/injury
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
- Tay-Sachs Disease
- Cachexia and Muscle Atrophy
Motor Neuroscience and Neuroimaging Research Laboratory
Our lab is devoted to advancing knowledge of human neural control of movement in health and disease and leverage this information to develop rehabilitation interventions for improving motor function in people with movement disorders. Our current research is geared toward a better understanding of the neural mechanisms contributing to motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and utilizes an interdisciplinary approach by integrating functional and structural brain imaging techniques, detailed assessments of motor and non-motor function, as well as genetic data.
Website: Motor Neuroscience and Neuroimaging Research Laboratory
Director: Roxana G. Burciu
- Functional organization of the motor system during lower limb movements in Parkinson’s disease
- Multimodal imaging signatures of motor phenotypes in Parkinson’s disease
Neuromechanics Research Laboratory
Our lab studies the neurologic and biomechanical aspects of injury proneness. Most common neuromusculoskeletal injuries are caused by brief errors in judgment and coordination. This momentary loss of situational awareness can be studied by measuring how the brain controls protective muscle tone/stiffness. Life often requires focused attention and split-second decisions to avoid unintentional injuries so applying our results to injury prevention and rehabilitation programs will help mitigate future accidents.
- Neuromechanical contributions to hamstring stiffness dysregulation and injury
- Neuromechanical links between cognition, fear, and joint instability
- Factors influencing upper extremity tissue characteristics and injury in youth overhead athletes
Neurovascular Aging Research Laboratory
Our laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which impaired vascular function contributes to cognitive impairment and risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. Our long term goal is to develop novel pharmacological, lifestyle and dietary interventions to delay or reverse age-associated cognitive decline by increasing blood flow to the brain.
- NAD+ therapy for improving memory & cerebrovascular function in patients with MCI
- The impact of vascular aging on brain stiffness and cognitive function
- Mechanisms of impaired brain blood flow with aging
Orthotics & Prosthetics for Enhanced Mobility Research Laboratory
Our lab primary focuses on orthotic and prosthetic biomechanics, with goals of understanding the interaction between the human musculoskeletal system and orthotic/prosthetic devices, and optimizing the design and prescription of orthotic and prosthetic devices to enable all orthotic and prosthetic users to reach their optimal functional level. To achieve these goals, we employ engineering tools alongside experimental and computational biomechanical approaches.
- Personalization of ankle-foot orthoses for individuals post-stroke
- Quantification of ankle stiffness during different activities
- Quantification of the force-deformation patterns of the ankle-foot system during different activities
- Optimization of the design of passive-dynamic ankle-foot orthoses
- Assessment of the accuracy of a mobile gait analysis system for prosthetic users
Sensorimotor Control & Robotic Rehabilitation Research Laboratory
Our lab uses a KINARM robotic exoskeleton to study sensorimotor function and rehabilitation of the upper limb in individuals with stroke and other neurologic diseases/injuries. We are interested in understanding the neural and behavioral mechanisms that contribute to learning and recovery of sensory and motor function after neural injury through the use of a variety of techniques, including: robotics, neuroimaging, neurostimulation, and computational modeling.
Website: Sensorimotor Control & Robotic Rehabilitation Research Laboratory
Director: Jennifer Semrau
- Relationship of eye movements and proprioception after stroke
- Proprioceptive learning after stroke
- Multi-modal learning after stroke
- Robotics for rehabilitation
Vascular Function in Chronic Disease Research Laboratory
Our laboratory is interested in understanding vascular function and blood flow regulation throughout the lifespan and in the face of chronic disease, with particular emphasis on cardiovascular disease. Our long term goal is to improve the overall health and ultimately quality of life in these people through exercise, lifestyle, and pharmacological interventions.
Website: Vascular Function in Chronic Disease Research Laboratory
Director: Melissa Witman
- Vascular Consequences of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
- Arterial Stiffness and Vascular Function in Children
- Vascular Function in Chronic Kidney Disease
- Assessment of Vascular Function: Changes throughout the Menstral Cycle
Vascular Physiology Research Laboratory
The focus of this lab is studying vascular function/dysfunction in healthy and diseased states, with particular emphasis on chronic kidney disease. Additionally, vascular responses to exercise and diet are studied. A variety of techniques are utilized to examine macro- and microvascular function as well as arterial stiffness in humans and animal models.
- Chronic Kidney Disease Research
- Vascular Effects of Dietary Salt in Humans with Salt-Resistant Blood Pressure
Womens Cardiovascular Research Laboratory
Our research focus is on cardiovascular health in women throughout the lifespan. We study mechanism contributing to vascular dysfunction in women as they age, and the role estrogen may play in maintaining vascular health. We also study blood pressure regulation in women to understand why the prevalence of hypertension is greater in women after menopause.
- Effects of Menopause on Vascular Function in Women
- Estrogen effects on Vascular Function in Women
- Vascular Function in Hypertensive Women
- Impacts of Dietary Salt on Sympathetic Blood Pressure Regulation (Collaboration: William Farquhar & Sean Stocker)