In COBRE Phase I we established the Center for Research in Human Movement Variability (MOVCENTR) allowing the development of a strong critical mass of investigators and tremendous growth in terms of research infrastructure with world class facilities and resources such as the Biomechanics Research Building with its associated technologies and methodologies as well as the building?s upcoming expansion. In COBRE Phase II, we build on these foundational successes to maximize the likelihood of achieving an independent, sustainable, thematic, interdisciplinary center.
We aim to further strengthen the infrastructure and expertise base to explore the mechanisms of human movement variability in order to treat and prevent motor related disorders. Therefore, we propose to establish three new research cores, the Movement Analysis Core, the Nonlinear Analysis Core, and the Machining and Prototyping Core. We also aim to expand the critical mass of funded investigators supporting research in human movement variability. As such we propose four research projects that will be carried out under the Center?s umbrella. The project titles are: (1) The influence of prosthesis use on cortical activation and movement variability, (2) Longitudinal study of gait variability to predict falls in Parkinson disease, (3) Exoskeleton optimization for reducing gait variability in patients with Peripheral Artery Disease, and (4) Variability and specificity in reactive stabilization movements to diverse slip perturbations. These projects are led by strong junior investigators paired with senior clinical NIH-funded scientists as scientific advisors. Such a mentoring relationship is unique and has worked very well in enhancing the efficiency and quality of the clinical and translational research that is conducted in each research project under our thematic scientific focus.
Human movement variability has been largely ignored as a source of important clinical information and has been treated as noise and error in the motor system. However, altered human movement variability is found increasingly in a variety of motor related disorders indicating reduced adaptive capacity in the neuromuscular system. The scientists in this Center determine optimal approaches for therapies grounded on the restoration of variability and complexity of movement that could be applied across a range of diseases.
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