Dick Group - Neuromuscular biomechanics

Our research primarily aims to understand the neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms that underlie healthy and diseased locomotor function. We develop new imaging technologies to assess muscle and tendon properties in vivo. We can then integrate these data into models and simulations in an effort to develop a theoretical framework for predicting motor function in healthy and diseased populations.

Cycling      Walking

We use ultrasound imaging which enables us to look ‘under the skin’ at the motor (ie: muscle) and the transmission system (ie: tendon) during movements where muscle-tendon behaviour is challenging to predict, for example during recovery from a fall or during robotically-assisted (ie: exoskeleton) locomotion.

     

Ultimately, our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of how muscles work in the body; how muscle-tendon properties and function adapt to external challenges such as size, age, and disease; and how wearable technologies or exoskeleton devices alter the function of musculoskeletal structures.

Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory      Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory      Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory

Image: B-mode ultrasound of triceps surae muscle group (medial gastrocnemius and soleus during ankle plantarflexion movement)

Research keywords: Biomechanics; musculoskeletal; ultrasound; electromyography; neuromuscular; tendon

Group Head

Neuromuscular biomechanics labOur lab aims to understand the neural and musculoskeletal mechanisms that underlie healthy and diseased movement. We use a highly integrative approach that combines novel experimental tools and computer modelling and simulation techniques.

In the lab we use a variety of experimental techniques to understand mechanisms of musculoskeletal function including:

  • ultrasound imaging
  • MRI
  • electromyography
  • indirect calorimetry
  • motion capture
  • high speed cameras
  • force plates
  • wearable sensors

We can use information from these measurement tools to treat and prevent movement impairments that result from ageing and neuromuscular diseases or to determine the optimal design for wearable robotic devices aimed at augmenting or restoring human locomotion. 

We are interdisciplinary and are always looking for people with new insights and complementary techniques in engineering, computer sciences, mathematics, movement sciences, and physiology to join our team. Positions are available within the research program for undergraduates, honours students, PhD students, and postdocs. If you are interested in joining the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Research Laboratory, please contact Taylor t.dick@uq.edu.au 

We are currently recruiting students interested in, but not limited to, the following projects:

  1. Effects of ageing on muscle-tendon properties and associated movement patterns.
  2. Effects of obesity on muscle-tendon properties and associated movement patterns.
  3. Determining the neuromuscular and biomechanical effects of commercialized exoskeleton devices in rehabilitation protocols for spinal cord injuries (ReWalk) and post stroke (ReStore).
  4. Understanding how the neuro-muscular system behaves when recovering from a fall or a trip.
  5. Dynamic ultrasound imaging of muscle-tendon properties in patients with Motor neuron disease.
  6. Validation of ultrasound based measurements of muscle- tendon morphology using human cadaveric tissues.
  7. Developing portable biomechanics toolbox for measuring neuro-motor function in the field/clinic.
  8. Biomechanics, in vivo muscle-tendon behaviour, and muscular coordination patterns during swimming, rowing, cycling, and running.

Find out more about our research environment and how to apply to do a short or long-term research project with us.