Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Ostrow School of Dentistry
Neural mechanisms for muscle activation
Engineering of non-invasive systems to study human motor function
My research is focused on three goals: 1) To understand how the complex networks in the central and peripheral nervous systems produce coordinated activity in muscle fibers. 2) To engineer practical, non-invasive systems to study these networks in humans. 3) To apply our findings and technology to improve the lives of people with neuromuscular disorders. My research has shown that micro fluctuations in the forces exerted by the muscles in the human body contain a large amount of information about how the central nervous system (CNS) is coordinating multiple muscles. I have also found that associating these fluctuations with electrical activity in individual muscles reveals how the CNS is regulating the activation of spinal motoneurons that control the muscle. These two findings form the basis for noninvasive technology that can assess whether the CNS is properly controlling muscle at the spinal level, and may help reveal the mechanism of impairment in neuromuscular disorders.