Generating voluntary movements and interacting with our physical environment is fundamental to carrying out the tasks of daily living, as evidenced by the severe limitations that beset those with movement disorders. Due to its importance, there is a long history of movement-related research, though few studies have attempted to understand the interactions between muscle properties, limb geometry and neural control.
Because each of these systems contributes to the functional capabilities of a limb, the relative importance of each is best understood in the context of how these systems interact during typical motor tasks. Our current experiments involve intact and neurologically impaired subjects. Those performed on unimpaired individuals provide a basis for understanding the motor deficits evident when one or more of these subsystems is compromised. The results of these studies are aimed at developing enhanced rehabilitation strategies for restoring motor function to those with neurological impairments.
The Neuromuscular Control & Plasticity Lab is part of the Arms and Hands Lab at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and also affiliated with the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Northwestern University.