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What unsolved research questions are currently under investigation in your laboratory?

Our group is interested in quantifying joint mechanics and understanding how normal, pathological, and surgically-altered joint mechanics and muscle-tendon architecture influence the capacity of muscles to produce movement. We use a combination of in vivo experiments, cadaver testing, and computational modeling in these investigations.

Some specific questions we would like to answer: (1) Does the skeleton adapt during development in ways that influence joint and muscle function? (2) How is locomotor function affected by the intentional or unintentional manipulation of tendon lever arms that results from surgeries such as partial-foot amputation and total ankle replacement? (3) Does the sloppiness or "play" inherent in joints like the knee and ankle enhance strength?

What novel equipment and/or experimental models are currently in use in your research program?

We use standard tools found in many biomechanics laboratories: video based motion analysis, force platforms (in a walkway, a treadmill, and a staircase), dynamometry, ultrasound imaging, cadaver testing, EMG, and respirometry, among others. We use Visual3D software to process motion data to get joint kinematics and kinetics. We also create novel computer models of the musculoskeletal system using software specialized for this purpose (OpenSim and SIMM).

Do you have a need for a collaborator on an ongoing or new project? If so, what type of expertise are you looking for?

It would be interesting to see if human sprinters have genetically-determined skeletal characteristics that we would expect to contribute to performance. This would require a collaborator with expertise in genetics.

We often document musculoskeletal structural differences between groups of adults but can't say how those differences came to be. Longitudinal studies of children and adolescents could help with answering this question, but we haven't done that kind of work before.