We are recruiting volunteers to participate in the following studies. Please email the staff member listed for more details.

Muscle tone and functional performance in 6-12 year olds

Atypical muscle tone is one of the most common clinical features observed in children with motor disorders with 6-8% collective prevalence.

Who can participate?

Ambulatory children aged 6 to 12 years with or without muscle tone issues.

What is involved?

Children will receive three free assessment sessions from a Physiotherapist.

  • Session 1 will include a clinical assessment of muscle tone (10 minutes)
  • Session 2 will include a ultrasound-based assessment of muscle stiffness (30 minutes)
  • Session 3 will include assessments of motor performance and participation (50 minutes) such as walking on a line or standing on one leg

All tests are non-invasive and non-harmful, as testing is conducted in a resting state or based on daily activity.

A report of your child’s performance, compared to same-age of peers, will be provided to you after the assessment day. For children, a certificate of junior researcher will be provided.

Where will the study take place?

Sessions will take place at either the University of Queensland or the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Who are the researchers?

Members of the Children’s Motor Control Research Collaborative (CMCRC):

  • Dr Leanne Johnston, Chair of CMCRC, Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Kylie Tucker, Director of Motor Control and Pain Laboratory, Senior Lecturer
  • Ms Miran Goo, Pysiotherapist and PhD candidate, School of Biomedical Sciences, UQ
  • Dr Honey Heussler, Paediatrician and Director, Child Development Service, CHQ-HHS
How do I take part?

If you are interested, please contact Miran Goo (m.goo@uq.edu.au or 0434 479 331).

Knee pain in 12-18 year old adolescents

Chronic or re-occurring knee pain affects 1 in every 3 adolescents. Adolescents with knee pain tend to reduce their physical activity levels, school attendance, participation in hobbies and social activities. Knee pain can cause disturbances in appetite, sleep and mental health.

There are many reasons why knee pain might begin, but we are particularly interested in a type of kneecap pain also known as patellofemoral pain, because it is the most common cause of knee pain in adolescents.

Very little research has been conducted on what causes kneecap pain in adolescents. This means we know relatively little about it and what we might be able to do to help people with it.

This is one of the very first studies that is designed to help us understand if the control of movement is different in adolescents with kneecap pain compared to those without kneecap pain. We are hoping to collect enough data to understand what factors might help us predict those who are likely to get better and those who are likely to continue to have pain.

Who can participate?

Adolescents with kneecap pain, and adolescents with no history of kneecap pain. We cannot include anyone who: i) has pain in more than one place in their lower limb, ii) has had surgery on their knee, hip or spine; or iii) has other suspected knee joint troubles. If you might be able to participate, but are unsure, please contact us as a Physiotherapist from our team can complete a screening test.

What is involved?

Participants will complete some questionnaires, and may be assesses by our Physiotherapist prior to inclusion in the study.

Session 1 will include laboratory measures of muscle activation in the research laboratory. This takes less than 2 hours.

Session 2 involves having an MRI of the participants thigh. This takes less than 45 minutes.

Participants will receive $50 reimbursement for their time and parking expenses etc upon completion of data collection.

Where will the study take place?

All sessions will take place at the University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus

Who are the researchers?
How do I take part?

If you are interested in participating, or would like to find out more about these studies, please email Marion Crouzier. Marion will send you a full information sheet and consent for you to consider.

Motor control in adults with and without musculoskeletal pain

We aim to understand the factors that underlie individual movement control strategies, the consequences of these strategies on the musculoskeletal system, and if or when an intervention is required. This knowledge will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for people who have great potential to develop, or are already living with painful musculoskeletal conditions.

As part of this broad aim, we conduct many movement control studies in the lab. Studies generally align with undergraduate or postgraduate work, and may begin and end at multiple times within each calendar year.

Our studies may involve all non-invasive measures, like measuring muscle activity with electrodes suck on the skin, or others where we need to insert small wires into muscle. They might involve ultrasound, or MRI so that we can assess muscle architecture. Studies sometimes involve sitting in a chair and producing force, other times they might require our participants to run, jump, cycle or hop!

In some cases we have funding to support small payments for our participants to reimburse them for their time and parking costs etc. Other times our participants volunteer to be part of a study to learn more about movement control, to get exposure to a human movement lab, or just for the love of science!

If you are interested in hearing more about what is going on in the lab at the moment, please email Dr Kylie Tucker who will put you in contact with the students currently recruiting, who will provide more information for you to consider. 

Knee osteoarthritis

We are currently recruiting people over 45 years of age with no lower limb pain or previous lower limb surgery. We will be assessing your lower limb strength, dynamic balance and measures of everyday function. This will be compared to gender- and age-matched people with painful knee osteoarthritis.

The aim of the study is to:

  • further target management of people with knee osteoarthritis,
  • improve outcomes of pain, function and quality of life, and
  • retard the progression and prevent the onset of knee osteoarthritis in at-risk populations.

Collection of data is a one-off assessment that will be conducted at The Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside. If available for assessment please contact Andrew Hislop on 3139 5370 or tpchknee@health.qld.gov.au.