Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences

Human Agility Laboratory

Agility Lab Logo

Laboratory Description

 Panorama of the Ability Lab

Agility is the ability to make rapid, purposeful and controlled transitions between movement patterns. This fundamental walking skill is often compromised following neurologic impairment. Our research aims to understand the neuromechanical basis of human locomotor agility and to apply this knowledge to advance gait rehabilitation. Specifically, we are working to:

  1. Improve the characterization and assessment of locomotor stability and maneuverability
  2. Develop intelligent robotic tools to optimize the recovery of dynamic balance

Our primary research seeks to improve locomotor agility following incomplete spinal cord injury. However, through collaborations we also are conducting research investigating agility in individuals post-stroke, lower-limb amputees, older adults, individuals with knee osteoarthrities, and non-impaired populations.

Important Links:

Human Agility Lab Website                                                                                                                     
Human Agility Lab Wiki

Matsubara_maneuverability

 

Current Projects

Enhancement of locomotor maneuverability in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury
Perturbation-based assessment of locomotor stability
Neural control of walking trajectories
Contribution of hearing to gait stability

Research Team

Human Agility Lab Research Team

Mengnan/Mary Wu - Neuromechanical Research Engineer

Geoffrey Brown - Research Engineer

Jane Woodward, PT, DPT, NCS - Research Physical Therapist

Postdoctoral Researchers

Wendy Boehm, PhD

 

Graduate Student Research

Stephen Antos, DPT, PT

Stephen is currently pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Current Projects: Stepping preferences of older and younger adults; Development of smart technology to track assistive device use in older adults 

Mary Bucklin

Mary is currently enrolled in the DPT/PhD program. She is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Current Project: Adaptation of locomotor trajectories in novel environments 

Andrew Dragunas

Andrew is currently enrolled in the DPT/PhD program. He is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Current Project: Impact of post-stroke abnormal muscle synergies on leg swing mechanics

Amanda Shorter

Amanda is currently pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Current Project: Characterization of ankle impedance during gait in individuals post-stroke and implications for gait stability and maneuverability.

 

Synthesis Projects

  1. A case series investigating a novel movement amplification training paradigm to enhance dynamic stability in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury.
  2. Clinical biomechanical analysis of running techniques.

Principal Investigator

Collaborating Faculty

Undergraduate Student Researchers