Dick Group - Neuromuscular biomechanics

Our research primarily aims to understand the neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms that underpin healthy and pathological locomotor function. We develop and use novel 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 can be designed and applied to augment or improve movement.

How muscles work
Exoskeleton device

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

Group Head

Students

Connor Clarke – Honours Student

India Lindemann – Undergraduate Student (Mathematics)

Matt Richards – Undergraduate Student (Physics)

Jordan Yee – Undergraduate Student (Engineering)

Our 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 with computer modelling and simulation techniques.

State-of-the-art research methods and approaches used in our lab include:

  • muscle and tendon imaging (including elastography, ultrasound, and MRI)
  • surface, fine wire and high density electromyography
  • movement and gait analysis
  • kinetic analysis
  • biomechanics
  • sensor technologies
  • wearable robotic devices (exoskeletons)

We can use information from these measurement tools to:

  1. discover fundamental mechanisms between the form and function of the neuro-musculoskeletal system, in both health and disease.
  2. Inform the optimal design of wearable assistive technologies (exoskeletons and prosthetics) capable of augmenting or restoring mobility
  3. Assess the influence of targeted interventions (exercise or technology based)

Neuromuscular biomechanics labWe are interdisciplinary and are always looking for people with new insights and complementary skills 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 at t.dick@uq.edu.au.

Our 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.

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

  1. Understanding how muscle-tendon properties and function adapt to challenges such as size, aging, and disease;
  2. The application and design of wearable robotic devices, such as passive ankle exoskeletons, to augment healthy or restore pathological movement
  3. Understanding biomechanical and neuromuscular responses to movement in unpredictable, real-word environments.
  4. Developing a portable biomechanics toolbox for measuring neuromotor function in the field/clinic.
  5. Quantifying the biomechanics and in vivo muscle-tendon behaviour, and motor coordination during swimming, rowing, cycling, and running.

Metro South Health and Princess Alexandra Hospital

We work together with clinicians and patients to (1) perform clinical evaluation and analyses of gait, balance, and treatment outcomes in a range of clinical populations and (2) assess the feasibility and short-term impact of exoskeletons on mobility in older adults.
 

Queensland Academy for Sport

We work together with athletes, sports scientists and coaches to use our tools and techniques to improve sport performance and better our understanding of neuromuscular structure and function during movements associated with high performance sport.

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