Daniel Ferris, Ph.D.

Daniel Ferris
Daniel Ferris, Ph.D.
Robert W. Adenbaum Professor & Senior Associate Chair
Primary Faculty
Biomechanics, neuromechanical control, locomotion and prosthetics
1275 Center Drive, Biomedical Sciences Building JG44, PO Box 116131, Gainesville, FL 32611
Office Phone: 
(352) 294-1281

Ph.D., Human Biodynamics, University of California, Berkeley, 1998
M.S., Exercise Physiology, University of Miami 1994
B.S., Mathematics Education, University of Central Florida 1992

Research Summary:

Dr. Ferris’ research focuses on the neural control of human locomotion. Specifically he uses mobile brain imaging, robotic lower limb exoskeletons, and bionic lower limb prostheses to investigate how humans control walking and running, and adapt to robotic assistance.

In order to better study the relationship between neural control and body mechanics in human locomotion, Dr. Ferris has developed a collection of robotic lower limb exoskeletons to perturb and assist human movement. He has built exoskeletons for ankle, knee, and hip joints, as well as for the whole limb. By perturbing the relationship between neural commands to the muscles and the resulting mechanics, he can identify general strategies that humans use to control their movement. In addition, the findings from these basic science studies are critical to the future development of robotic devices for assisting patients with neurological and/or musculoskeletal disabilities. There are several research groups around the world that have built robotic lower limb exoskeletons for assisting human locomotion. In every case, the changes in gait mechanics, muscle activation, and/or metabolic energetics produced by the exoskeletons have not achieved the intended outcome. The primary reason why the systems have not produced expected results is that there is a great deal about human locomotion physiology that we still do not fully understand. By testing basic hypotheses about how robotic mechanical forces influence the biomechanics, neural control, and energetics of walking and running, he has provided important insight into the most effective ways to add mechanical assistance for locomotion. Ferris has demonstrated that different control algorithms and exoskeleton designs can independently have profound effects on the motor adaptation of the user. In tests on patients with neurological disabilities, he has shown that patients with incomplete spinal cord injury can benefit from different types of lower limb mechanical assistance.

Honors and Awards:

  • Editor-In -Chief, IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 2018-2020
  • Program Chair, American Society of Biomechanics Annual Meeting, 2019
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2017

Selected Publications:

Google Scholar Citations Link 

JR Koller, DH Gates, DP Ferris, CD Remy (2017) "Confidence in the Curve: Establishing Instantaneous Cost Mapping Techniques using Bilateral Ankle Exoskeletons," Journal of Applied Physiology 122 (2), 242-252.

AJ Young, DP Ferris (2017) "State of the Art and Future Directions for Lower Limb Robotic Exoskeletons," IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 25, 171-182.

AS Oliveira, BR Schlink, WD Hairston, P König, DP Ferris (2017) "A Channel Rejection Method for Attenuating Motion-Related Artifacts in EEG Recordings during Walking,"
Frontiers in Neuroscience 11, 225. 2017.

A Melnik, P Legkov, K Izdebski, SM Kärcher, WD Hairston, DP Ferris, P König  (2017) "Systems, Subjects, Sessions: To What Extent Do These Factors Influence EEG Data?" Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11, 150.