University of Vermont

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science

Research in Rehabilitation and Movement Science

The Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science integrates three complementary applied human sciences that focus on promoting optimal health as well as disease and injury prevention through participation in physical activity. Department faculty have strong interdisciplinary research ties with faculty in engineering, nutrition, psychology, and medicine.

Human Motion Analysis Laboratory

Long-Term Research Goals

The long-term goal of the Human Motion Analysis Laboratory is to better understand the mechanisms underlying motor control of a variety of movement tasks in diverse populations. Our present approach quantifies human motion through three-dimensional analysis of body position (kinematics) and reaction forces (kinetics), as well as sophisticated physiological recordings of muscle and brain activity.

Laboratory Equipment and Space

The Human Motion Analysis Laboratory is housed in a handicapped accessible 2,100 square foot area. The lab is well equipped to perform a wide range of three-dimensional, biomechanical measurement and analyses of human movement. Equipment includes:

  • Four portable biomechanical force plates (Advanced Medical Technology Inc. OR-6) that can be located in a 6-m walkway or on a postural perturbation platform that can move in multiple directions simultaneously. View photo.
  • A 3 degree-of-freedom, movable platform that can translate in all directions in the horizontal plane and rotate about one axis. View photo.
  • A 7-camera motion capture system (VICON MC-F20, 2 megapixel resolution, 500-Hz sampling). The automatic tracking function allows efficient data processing. It is connected to a data acquisition system that can collect 64 channels of analog signals simultaneously with the camera data.
  • A 16-channel surface or wire EMG system. This measures muscle activation patterns.
  • A 16-channel Delsys wireless EMG/accelerometry system.
  • A 136-channel EEG system (ANT North America Inc.) with electrode digitizer and source estimation software. View photo.
  • 3 linear accelerometers (Kistler). View photo.
  • 5 biaxial electrogoniometers and amplifiers (Penny & Giles).
  • 2 sets of triaxial Integrated Kinematic Sensors including velocity and acceleration transducers (Watson Industries).
  • A foot plantar pressure plate system (Tekscan).
  • A 6-sensor APDM Opal inertial motion sensor system.
Faculty Research in the Lab
  • Dr. Sharon Henry Motor control of human posture and movement, particularly as they relate to musculoskeletal impairments and injuries.
  • Dr. Jesse Jacobs Neural mechanisms underlying the coordination of human posture and movement of people with and without disease or injury in order to direct clinical diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
  • Dr. Susan Kasser Balance and mobility in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Specifically, her research examines the neural mechanisms underlying postural control and gait in this population.
  • Dr. Ge Wu Biomechanical analysis of human movement, postural control changes with aging, and fall prevention mechanisms in elders.

Human Performance Center

The Human Performance Center houses two distinct research laboratories - the Physical Activity Laboratory and the Exercise Behavior Laboratory. Both are devoted to the study of physical activity participation and exercise outcomes in various populations.

Physical Activity Laboratory

Long-Term Research Goals The Physical Activity Laboratory provides research space and equipment for the study of physical activity in the human population. The lab’s research efforts are primarily centered on projects that examine novel and creative ways to promote physical activity in sedentary, overweight/obese adolescent and adult populations. Of specific interest is fostering long-term adherence to physical activity programs and the impact on health-related outcomes, worker productivity, health care costs, and quality of life. The lab also has access, upon protocol approval, to the NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center. Projects tend to be highly collaborative with expertise in exercise physiology, obesity, psychology, preventive medicine, epidemiology, and nutrition. Laboratory Equipment and Space The 2,200 square foot lab includes a wide spectrum of of anthropometric, physiological, and metabolic testing capabilities with state-of-the-art equipment. Equipment includes:

  • Parvo Medics TrueOne 2400 fully integrated metabolic measurement system, with 12-lead ECG (gold standard system) (2 units)
  • Research Grade Treadmills with full integration for ECG and metabolic testing (5 units)
  • Lode Excalibur Ergometer with full integration for ECG and metabolic testing (1 unit)
  • Resting Metabolic Rate Canopy Testing System (1 unit)
  • GE Lunar Prodigy DEXA (1 unit)
  • Tanita Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis System (1 unit)
  • Handheld Lactate Analyzers (6 units)
  • Handheld Resting Metabolic Rate System (portable)
  • Full CANTAB neuropsychological/cognitive/executive function testing suite with touch screen notebook (i.e. Wisconsin card sorting task, Stroop, Iowa gambling task, etc.)
  • Core temperature measurement system (measurement sensor is in pill that subject swallows)
  • 55-inch mobile LCD TV

Faculty Research in the Lab

  • Dr. David Brock Examination of inter-individual and environmental differences with exercise adherence and human endurance performance.
  • Dr. Connie Tompkins Prevention and treatment of obesity in the pediatric population.
Exercise Behavior Laboratory

Long-Term Research Goals The Exercise Behavior Laboratory provides research space and equipment for the study of exercise as it relates to psychosocial variables like mood, anxiety, and cognition. The lab's research efforts are primarily centered around projects that examine the effects of acute and longitudinal exercise on mood and cognitive ability in both healthy and clinical populations. Long-term interests include exploring exercise as an adjunctive modality in clinical populations including but not limited to substance abuse, clinical depression, etc. The lab also has access, upon protocol approval, to the NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center, which supports both inpatient and outpatient studies and offers services in the areas of administration, nursing, nutrition, laboratory (biochemistry, physiology, imaging core, and mass spectrometry), biostatistics, computing, and pharmacy. Laboratory Equipment and Space There is a strong collaborative relationship between the Physical Activity Laboratory and the Exercise Behavior Laboratory. The two laboratories share a common space which houses equipment for evaluation of standard aerobic exercise testing and prescription. Faculty Research in the Lab

  • Dr. Jeremy Sibold The effects of acute and longitudinal exercise on mood and cognitive ability in both healthy and clinical populations.

Adapted Physical Activity Laboratory

Long-Term Research Goals

The long-term goal of the Adapted Physical Activity Laboratory is to better understand exercise outcomes in diverse populations. Specific research aims to quantify the effects of therapeutic exercise interventions on fitness, function, and quality of life in persons with chronic conditions.

Laboratory Equipment and Space

The Adapted Physical Activity laboratory is equipped to offer a variety of fitness and balance-related activities. The laboratory's equipment includes:

  • Two Cateye ergociser EC-3600 recumbent bicycles
  • Landice L7 rehabilitation treadmill
  • Two Kettler upright stationary bicycles
  • Two Cybex FT 360 functional cable resistance training machines
  • Free weights, weighted Velcro cuffs, weighted vests, stability balls, mats
  • Raised treatment tables, stand-alone stairs with railings, weighted kinesio-balls of assorted sizes, balance discs and pads
Faculty Research in the Lab
  • Dr. Susan Kasser Physical activity in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Specifically, her research focuses on intervention outcomes as well as adoption and adherence issues within this population.

Last modified April 09 2013 01:03 PM