Dr. Boris Prilutsky
School of Applied Physiology, Center for Human Movement Studies,
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Research in the laboratory of Dr. Prilutsky focuses on the mechanisms of movement generation and control. This includes control of force by the arm during learning new movements, modeling of the spinal cord neural circuitry that controls locomotion, and studying the role of the motor cortex in different locomotor behaviors.
We collaborate with the laboratory of Dr. Prilutsky in the analysis of biomechanics of complex locomotion behaviors and involvement of motor cortex in the control of them. We conduct experiments together in Phoenix recording whole-body kinematics and dynamics of subjects while they walk along a cluttered pathway, along series of elevated platforms, along a narrow strip, or on other complex surfaces. We also record the activity of muscles and the motor region of the cerebral cortex the same time. Some of these measurements are then repeated in Atlanta where more advanced equipment for tracking biomechanics is available. The goal is to describe, analyze, and eventually understand biomechanics of complex locomotion behaviors, and their neural correlates.
A student from the Georgia Institute of Technology Brad Farrell was actively participating in these studies for about 1.5 years while in undergraduate school. This fall Brad has started his graduate studies in the Georgia Institute of Technology PhD program in Applied Physiology. Brad's research is focusing on the mechanisms for the precise stepping.
For more information, visit his website.
Drs. Tatiana Deliagina and Grigory Orlovsky
Department of Neuroscience
Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden
The general goal of research in the laboratory of Dr. Deliagina is to understand the organization and operation of the neuronal networks responsible for maintenance of the basic body posture.
We collaborate with the laboratory of Dr. Deliagina in studies aimed at characterizing the commands that are transmitted from the brain motor centers to the spinal cord during different postural tasks. In our joint experiments, we test subjects while they balance on a platform that periodically tilts to the right and then to the left. The subjects assume different postures (such as leaning to the right or to the left) or perform stepping movements while still keeping balance on the platform. We record kinematics and dynamic parameters of limbs and body movements, the activity of limb muscles, and the neuronal activity of the motor cortex, motor thalamus, and midbrain. We then compare body mechanics, the activity of muscles, and the activity of brain areas during balancing with different postural configurations and reveal the parameters, which are associated specifically with each of the configurations. This allows us to understand the contribution of supraspinal mechanisms to the control of posture.
A graduate student from Karolinska Institute, Anastasia Karayannidou, did her full academic year rotation (2005-2006) in my laboratory during her second year in the graduate school. She will be coming back to continue her work on supraspinal mechanisms for control of posture.
For more information, visit their website.