Hayley Pierce-Ramsdell, Kinesiology B.S. student, has been awarded a UROP grant that will support her work as an undergraduate research assistant in the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) directed by Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D. Hayley’s funded project is “The Role of Chromaticity in the Visual Control of Stance.” Her adviser for the project is Dr. Stoffregen, and she will be working directly with Kinesiology Ph.D. student Ruth Rath.
Thomas Smith, Ph.D., adjunct instructor in the School of Kinesiology, is the author of a chapter in a newly published book by Routledge, Wellbeing in Higher Education: Cultivating a Healthy Lifestyle Among Faculty and Students. Smith’s chapter, “Ergonomic and Ecological Perspectives,” discusses how the design of post-secondary systems influences student wellbeing.
Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory, published in a recent issues of Kinesiology Review. In his article titled “Ecological Physics and the Perceptual Information That Supports Motor Control,” he discusses the nature of perceptual information and implications for kinesiology.
Kinesiology Review is the official publication of the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) and the American Kinesiology Association (AKA).
In an interdisciplinary collaboration with partners in veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota and the Michigan State University, researchers in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory examined horses with shivers disease.
An earlier study identified the previously unknown neuropathology of the disease – a degeneration of neurons in the cerebellum. Because the cerebellum is involved in coordinating the control of muscles during movement, the researchers wanted to find out how the loss of cerebellar function affects the muscle recruitment in these horses. Like humans, horses activate more muscle fibers if they want to run faster. However, these horses recruited more muscles and more muscle fibers than necessary, which led to a loss of movement coordination and problems in their balance.
The results of this study, “Abnormal locomotor muscle recruitment activity is present in horses with shivering and Purkinje cell distal axonopathy,” are published in a paper that appears in Equine Veterinary Journal. Joshua Aman, Ph.D., a former postdoctoral researcher in the lab, is the first author of the paper. Other co-authors are current lab member Naveen Elangovan, Ph.D., and Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology.
Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, gave a lecture on “Somatosensory training to overcome motor dysfunction in dystonia and Parkinson’s disease” to the University of Minnesota ataxia research group. The ataxia group is an interdisciplinary group of basic science and clinical researchers interested in understanding the neuropathology of ataxia and its treatment. Dr. Konczak spoke about how a sensory-based rehabilitation training can improve motor function in focal dystonia and Parkinson’s disease.
The article titled “Virtual-reality headsets ‘make women sick,” is based on Stoffregen’s peer-published study that measured motion sickness using the VR headset Oculus Rift, which was originally published in Experimental Brain Research. The Independent piece quotes Stoffregen saying that motion sickness research reveals that “pretty much always women are more susceptible than men.”
Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D. (2017), former advisee of Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is primary author on an article recently published in Journal of Motor Behavior. The article is titled “Position Sense Dysfunction Affects Proximal and Distal Arm Joints in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. ”
Co-authors are Chia-Liang Tsai (National Cheng Kung Univeristy, Taiwan,), Fu-Chen Chen (National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan), and Jürgen Konczak.
Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects up to 6% of all school-age children. Children with DCD have problems with coordinating movements, may have balance problems and show poor motor skill learning. This study assessed wrist joint position sense in a cohort of Taiwanese middle school children with DCD and related it to the observable motor deficits. Results document that children with DCD is associated with proprioceptive dysfunction of the wrist/hand complex, which likely contributes to the motor problems in children with DCD.
Yu-ting Tseng is currently a post-doc at the Division of Child Health Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences in the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Zhunan, Taiwan.
School of Kinesiology professor Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., and co-authors Chih-Hui Chang, Wei-Ching Kung, and Fu-Chen Chen, have published an article in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. The article, “Effects of Physical Driving Experience on Body Movement and Motion Sickness During Virtual Driving,” studied body movement and motion sickness reactions of individuals, separated by age/experience driving physical automobiles, during driving of virtual automobiles in a video game.
Dr. Chen and Dr. Chang are both School of Kinesiology Ph.D. graduates, and Dr. Change was a visiting scholar in the School in 2012.
Naveen Elangovan, Ph.D., post-doctorate researcher the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL), is the first author of an article titled “A robot-aided visuo-motor training that improves proprioception and spatial accuracy of untrained movement” that is published in The Nature Scientific Reports.
The study examined to what extent a sensory training of body leads to improvements in motor function. The study found that a short 45-min training is already sufficient to see changes in the accuracy of perceiving joint position and joint movement. This project was a collaboration with engineering colleagues at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and Harvard University, USA. Co-authors are former HSCL member Joshua Aman, Ph.D. and lab director Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D.
Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is a co-author on an article recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. “Age-Related Decline of Wrist Position Sense and its Relationship to Specific Physical Training” examines the effects of aging on proprioception (a person’s perception of their limb and body positions necessary for motor control) by comparing wrist acuity in older and younger populations, and explores the effects of training or regular physical activity on preserved wrist proprioception.
Konczak’s former advisee Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D. (2017), is also an author on the article. She is currently a post-doc at the Division of Child Health Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences in the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Zhunan, Taiwan.
Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) published the article “Effects of decades of physical driving on body movement and motion sickness during virtual driving” in PLOS ONE, one of the premiere peer-reviewed open access scientific journals.
Co-authors are Chui-Hui Chang, Fu-Chen Chen, and Wei-Jhong Zeng, all researchers at the Department of Physical Education at the National Kaohsiung Normal University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Chui-Hui Chang and Fu-Chen Chen received their Ph.D. in kinesiology from the University of Minnesota, where they were co-advised by Dr. Michael Wade and Stoffregen.
Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology is the principal investigator on an NIH funded grant program administered through the University’s Office of Discovery and Translation that seeks to promote new therapies for rare diseases. The project will design and build a device that will improve the symptoms of a voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia (SD).
People with SD experience involuntary spasms of the laryngeal musculature that leads to a strained or choked speech. There is no cure for the disease and speech therapy is ineffective. The device will alter how it feels when one speaks. The idea behind the technology is that this sensory trick will help patients to improve their voice quality. The device development and its testing will be conducted in Konczak’s Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory.
Arash Mahnan, biomedical engineer and doctoral student in the HSC lab will serve as primary research assistant for this project.
Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D., 2017 graduate of the School of Kinesiology in the Biomechanics and Neuromotor Control emphasis, has been awarded a post-doc position in the Division of Child Health Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences in the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Zhunan, Taiwan, starting in November. She will be conducting a study on the effect of different types of exercise intervention on the motor, cognitive and overall physical and mental functions in children and older adults. She may also assist in evaluating the status and needs for special needs populations.
Dr. Tseng was advised by Kinesiology professor Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D.
On October 10, Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, presented a lecture on robotic rehabilitation to the PACE network community in Genova, Italy.
PACE stands for Perception and Action in Complex Environments. The network is funded by the European Union and seeks to train predoctoral students with a background in engineering, mathematics, neuroscience, and psychology.
Arash Mahnan, Kinesiology Ph.D. student and IT Fellow, is one of three people featured in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance online newsletter, Global U, promoting Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign, the first system-wide fundraising campaign at the U of M in more than a decade. The Alliance has set a goal of raising $7 million to “Drive a Global U.”
Mahnan discusses his goal to fill the gap between engineering and clinical research, and the imperative to attract top students and faculty from around the world to come to the University of Minnesota. He is a student in the area of biomechanics and neural control and is advised by Juergen Konczak, Ph.D.
Read Mahnan’s feature here.
Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), gave an invited talk at the 87th annual meeting of the National Academy of Kinesiology in Washington, DC, on September 16. His presentation was titled “Ecological physics and the perceptual information for motor control.“
Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is the PI on a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program.
This program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and to accelerate basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. The aim of this grant is to move forward the lab’s robotic rehabilitation technology that is jointly developed with partners in Italy and Singapore. As part of this grant, a team consisting of postdoctoral researcher Naveen Elangovan (entrepreneurial lead), Jürgen Konczak and Pat Tarnowski as a business adviser is formed. Pat is a trained PT with an MBA and is currently the Senior Director of Clinical Health Solutions at BCBS of Minnesota. The team will work closely with NSF staff and advisers to explore and understand the U.S. market.
Arash Mahnan, Kinesiology Ph.D. student in Movement Science, has been appointed to the University’s Senate Information Technologies Committee (SITC). The committee represents the institution’s faculty, academic professional, civil service and student interests in the development, implementation, and distribution of information technologies at the U. The committee reports to the Senate and makes recommendations concerning policies and administration around information technologies.
The committee meets monthly and consists of eight faculty, four P&A, three students, and one civil service representative. The students include Mahnan, a representative from the Department of Engineering and one from the College of Continuing Education. The student representatives were chosen based on their background, experience and qualifications in the field of information technology. Mahnan will serve a two-year term on the committee.
Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, gave an invited presentation at a workshop at the 15th International Conference of Robotic Rehabilitation (ICORR) at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, UK. The conference was a part of the London Rehab Week, where around a thousand attendees discussed the newest trends in neurorehabilitation. Konczak presented an overview on the current state of how robotic medical devices can be used to diagnose sensory and motor deficits of neurological diseases.
School of Kinesiology professor Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., was interviewed on Take Care, a radio program on health and wellness that originates at station WRVO in Oswego, NY. Co-hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interviewed Stoffregen about his research related to motion sickness.