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Research

Vision Statement: To create predictive, biomechanical models that will improve the functional ability and quality of life of individuals with musculoskeletal disorders.

The vision, mission, and values that guide our research and our lab culture are described further in the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab Guidebook

Personalized Musculoskeletal Models via Machine Learning

The wrist and hand are one of the most complex joint systems in the human body. Computer simulations of hand function involve hundreds of interdependent parameters. We are leveraging recent advances in machine learning to rapidly create subject-specific musculoskeletal models. This work also aims to enhance analyses of complex, multi-dimensional, biomechanical simulation data sets.

Collaborations: Joel Harley, Ph.D. 

Current Funding: “A Transfer Learning Framework for Creating Subject-Specific Musculoskeletal Models of the Hand” (R21 EB030068, NIH NIBIB Trailblazer R21 Award)

Past Funding: “Learning Thumb Biomechanics from Large Simulation Datasets” (2019 Outstanding Researcher Award, NIH NCSRR Pilot Project)

Thumb Osteoarthritis

Carpometacarpal osteoarthritis (CMC OA) is a disabling disease marked by pain and functional loss of the thumb. We are studying how joint degeneration, pain, and movement contribute to symptoms of this disease. This work integrates medical imaging (e.g., ultrasound), human movement biomechanics (e.g., motion capture and electromyography), and quantitative experimental pain measurements (e.g., quantitative sensory testing and movement-evoked pain).

Collaborations: Yenisel Cruz-Almeida, M.S.P.H., Ph.D.; Thomas Wright, M.D.

Current Funding: “Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis: Understanding the Intersection of Muscle Mechanics, Joint Instability, and Pain” (NIH NIAMS R01 AR078817)

Past Funding: “Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis: Towards Identification of Biomechanical, Neuromuscular, and Somatosensory Mechanisms” (CTSI NIH KL2 Scholar Program)

Ankle Syndesmosis

Ankle syndesmosis injuries occur when the ligamentous connection between the distal tibia and fibula is damaged. We are examining how patient- and surgeon-specific factors influence clinical outcomes and ankle health. On the patient side, we are evaluating the relationship between tibiofibular alignment and patient-reported outcomes. On the surgeon side, we are designing and assessing surgical techniques. This work involves gait analysis, image processing, and eye-tracking.

Collaborations: Christopher W. Reb, D.O.

Current Funding: Working on it!

Rotator Cuff Tears

Shoulder pathologies, such as rotator cuff tears, are a common source of pain and workplace injury. We are studying how movement and muscle activity change in the presence of symptomatic and asymptomatic injury. This work involves motion analysis, electromyography, ultrasound imaging, and dynamometry.

Collaborations: Federico Pozzi, P.T., Ph.D., Jay King, M.D.

Funding: Working on it!