Humans have a remarkable agility which allows them to move gracefully while adapting to perturbations from their environment. This motor dexterity is still poorly understood scientifically. We believe the reason for this is that motor coordination cannot be understood by studying the nervous system in isolation.The purpose of our research is to understand the integration of neural control with musculoskeletal biomechanics. To do this, we combine methods from experimental biomechanics and modelling tools from motor control and computational neuroscience.

Sports neuromechanics

  • Handwalking

    Dr. Charlotte Le Mouel
    Balance and mobility rely on efficient postural coordination, which adapts throughout a person's life. In this project, we study how gymnasts adjust their posture for standing and walking on their hands, and how this affects their balance and mobility.

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  • Twisted somersaults

    Jens Natrup
    In trampolining, gymnasts perform a variety of rotational jumping elements and have to demonstrate perfect control of the body during the flying phase. Gaze behavior is essential for controlling during the flight phase and to prepare for a perfect landing. This study aims at investigating the head motion and gaze behavior during a somersault with a full twist.

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Impact neuromechanics

  • Frontal car collisions with small overlap

    Dr. Andreas Mühlbeier
    Due to excessive mobile phone usage, the small overlap accident recently became one of the most frequent accident types. In this project, we analyze the kinematic and muscular responses of living vehicle occupants during low velocity collisions. To gain information about higher and more realistic collision velocities, the low velocity responses will be extrapolated with our threedimensional human model “Myonardo”.

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  • External perturbations to the trunk [finished]

    Dr. Andreas Mühlbeier

    In this project, we investigated the postural reflex responses of the trunk musculature aswell as the kinematic responses to unilateral and bilateral sudden external perturbations. We found that the onset of the trunk muscle activity is prior to, or coincident with, the onset of the trunk movement.

Balance neuromechanics

  • Adaptation of neural sensorimotor feedback to biomechanics

    Dr. Charlotte Le Mouel
    When a standing person is shoved by an external force, they must respond appropriately to maintain steady balance. The neural response to the perturbation must adjust to the biomechanics of the person's body. With Dr. Christiane Bohn, we study whether skateboard training helps children with ADHD to better their control of standing balance. With Dr. Rosemary Dubbeldam and Lena Fennen, we study whether physiotherapy after an ankle sprain helps subjects with chronic ankle injury (due to an ankle sprain) to adjust their control of standing balance.

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  • Augmented visual feedback in Parkinson's disease: Assessing and improving postural control [finished]

    Dr. Maarten van den Heuvel

    This PhD-project focused on the clinical, behavioral, and neurophysiological effects of augmented visual feedback on balance and balance training in patients with Parkinson’s disease.