Sarah Roelker

UMass Amherst Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Sarah Roelker
Assistant Professor
159B Totman


B.S., The Ohio State University; M.S., The Ohio State University; Ph.D., The Ohio State University; Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, The University of Texas at Austin

Area(s) of Specialization: 

gait biomechanics; neuromuscular control; dynamic balance; musculoskeletal modeling; locomotor rehabilitation

Research Description: 

Dr. Roelker’s research in the UMass Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory leverages musculoskeletal modeling and simulation techniques to gain insights into the neuromusculoskeletal mechanisms underlying typical and impaired locomotion to identify rehabilitation targets to improve locomotor function and quality of life in individuals with impaired mobility. A primary aim of her research is to identify the biomechanic and neuromuscular mechanisms contributing to impaired dynamic balance in populations with increased fall-risk using a combination of experimental and simulation techniques. The goal of this work is to identify intervention targets to improve dynamic balance and decrease fall-risk, particularly in older adults, individuals with post-stroke hemiparesis, and individuals with Parkinson’s disease. In addition, NMBL is working to characterize motor control across locomotor tasks in order to design models of neuromuscular control that can be incorporated into current musculoskeletal models to improve their ability to predict locomotor function and response to rehabilitation treatments.

Publication List: 

PubMed Search Link

Key Publications: 

Roelker SA, Caruthers EJ, Baker RK, Pelz NC, Chaudhari AMW, Siston RA. Effects of Optimization Technique on Simulated Muscle Activations and Forces. J Appl Biomech. 36(4):259-278, 2020.

Roelker SA, Kautz SA, Neptune RR. Muscle Contributions to Mediolateral and Anteroposterior Foot Placement During Walking. J Biomech. 95:109310, 2019.

Roelker SA, Bowden MG, Kautz SA, Neptune RR. Paretic propulsion as a measure of walking performance and functional motor recovery post-stroke: a review. Gait Posture. 68:6-14 2019.

Roelker SA, Caruthers EJ, Baker RK, Pelz NC, Chaudhari AMW, Siston RA. Interpreting Musculoskeletal Models and Dynamic Simulations: Causes and Effects of Differences between Models. Ann Biomed Eng. 45(11):2635-2647, 2017.

Schloemer SA, Thompson JA, Siler A, Thelen DG, Siston, RA. Age-Related Differences in Gait Kinematics, Kinetics, and Muscle Function: A Principal Component Analysis. Ann Biomed Eng. 45(3): 695-710, 2017.