Research Topics Muscle Function in Locomotion Muscle is the motor that drives locomotion. Our recent studies in this area have focused on questions such as: how do the different tasks that muscles perform during walking contribute to the total metabolic cost, and how does muscle fiber type distribution influence the mechanics and energetics of movement. Current research is focused on understanding the effects of musculoskeletal design on the energetic cost of locomotion, and on developing improved models that link muscle structure and mechanics with metabolic energy consumption. Current work is supported by grants from the UMass Research Office. Restoration of Gait People who experience difficulty walking, such as individuals who use lower-limb prostheses or children with cerebral palsy, have impaired mobility and a cost of walking that can be considerably greater than able-bodied people. We are using 3-D models of the musculoskeletal system in a model-based design approach to help create improved assistive devices that can restore mobility and improve quality of life. This work is being pursued in collaboration with colleagues from the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, FTL Labs, Inc., and the Shriners Hospital for Children. These lines of research are supported by the National Science Foundation, DARPA and Kosair Charities. Evolution of Bipedalism Walking upright on two straight legs is one of the key evolutionary adaptations that sets humans apart from other primates. However, it is difficult to understand the evolutionary events that led to our current condition based on the fossil record alone. In this research, we are using computer models of modern humans, chimpanzees, and extinct human ancestors to better understand the mechanical and energetic consequences of specific evolutionary adaptations in the structure of the bones and muscles in the legs. This research will provide a foundation for an evolutionary medicine perspective on the musculoskeletal impairments that affect modern humans. This work is being pursued in collaboration with colleagues from University of Arizona and Stony Brook University, and is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Locomotion Research Group
Locomotion Research Group Department of Kinesiology University of Massachusetts 30 Eastman Lane Amherst, MA 01003-9258 Phone: 413-545-1436 Fax: 413-545-2906
Studying fundamental and clinical aspects of human locomotion