Our laboratory is dedicated to understanding the biomechanics, neuromuscular control and clinical rehabilitation of human mobility, with an emphasis on dexterous hand function. Towards this end, we employ a synergy of experimental and theoretical techniques.
In the AMPL we perform basic science and translational research focused on the neural mechanisms for muscle activation, engineering of non-invasive systems to study human motor function, and neuromuscular chronic pain disorders.
This research laboratory is located in the Department of Physical Therapy. The lab contains equipment to examine the diagnosis and treatment outcomes and the mechanisms of upper quadrant, as it relates to musculoskeletal dysfunctions of the cervical spine and shoulder seen in general orthopedics and sports medicine. The primary focus of the lab is two-fold: to examine the diagnosis and treatment outcomes of upper quadrant disorders via clinical trials, and to elucidate the mechanisms of shoulder disorders to facilitate the design of interventions to reduce shoulder pain and restore the ability to perform activities and participate at work, home and sports.
This 2400-square-foot state-of-the art facility is well equipped for metabolic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, body composition, bone density, strength, and physical function testing. The CERC has a full line of resistance exercise machines and free weights for conducting resistance-training studies. The CERC is extensively equipped, including selectorized leg extension, leg curl, lat pull down, seated row, and multi-station machines, a plate loaded leg press and biaxial chest press, smith machine and power rack, 3 Power Plate vibration platforms, and dumbbells.
In the Computational Neuro-Rehabilitation Laboratory, we aim at understanding and enhancing motor learning, especially after stroke. Specifically, our research focuses on two main topics- computational models of motor learning and neural plasticity in healthy and lesioned brains, and optimization of learning via adaptive practice schedules in healthy and stroke subjects.
The Development of Infant Motor Performance Laboratory (DIMPL) is dedicated to the study of the development of human action during infancy and early childhood and to the rehabilitation of action for infants and children.
The Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) is dedicated to the investigation of typical and impaired mechanics as they pertain to safe and optimal participation in sports and physical activities. Specifically, our laboratory focuses on the understanding the mechanics of athletic maneuverability and their relationship to lower extremity injury risk and physical activity behavior. Our work aims to contribute to the development of effective injury prevention and motor performance training and rehabilitation programs.
The Infant Neuromotor Control Laboratory (INCLab) studies the development of neural control of movement during infancy and evaluates interventions for neural and functional development in infants with or at risk for developmental delay. Current projects are focused on understanding the relationship between movement experience, movement outcomes and underlying neural control.
The mission of Institute for Senior Golf Science is to develop novel, safe, and effective golf training programs for seniors whom do not current golf, in order to expand golf participation among older adults and under-represented groups—for example, Veterans.
In the Motor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (PI: Carolee Winstein, PhD, PT, FAPTA), we aim to understand the neurobehavioral basis of motor learning. Specifically, we are interested in the brain-behavior relationships that are optimal for the preparation, and execution of skilled movement behaviors in healthy aging and in those recovering from hemiparetic stroke.
Because of its potential diagnostic value, fetal movements are observed by ultrasound during routine prenatal care. Thus, the research mission of the Motor Control Development Laboratory is to advance our understanding of prenatal motor behavior and its relationship to neonatal motor behavior. Lending to its ready access during experimentation and extensive use in developmental studies, the chick embryo is a valuable model for advancing our understanding of embryonic behavior and its relationship to clinical progress of the human fetus. Further, there are several apparent similarities in behavior between the human fetus and chick embryo. For example, both initiate limb movements less than a quarter of the way through development. By half way through the prenatal period, human fetuses can suck their thumbs and chicks chew their toes. Both begin to generate breathing movements in the final third-stage of prenatal development, and both as neonates can make alternating stepping movements. Research projects in the Motor Control Development Laboratory are addressing 3 critical questions in early sensorimotor development:
The Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory is dedicated to the biomechanical investigation of movement and musculoskeletal disorders, interventions and adaptations. Located in the heart of the USC Health Sciences Campus, MBRL benefits from collaboration with the Departments of Orthopaedics, Neurology, Radiology, and Biomedical Engineering. This fosters an interdisciplinary approach to addressing a variety of research questions. Using state of the art technology, investigators are able to test hypotheses related to the kinematics, kinetics, and motor control strategies associated with both normal and pathological human movement. MBRL is also dedicated to the training and development of graduate-student researchers through education, experimental inquiry, team interaction, and mentorship.
The research at the NAIL aims to investigate brain-behavior relationships during motor skill learning and motor control in both non-disabled and brain-injured individuals using TMS. The research program encompasses three major themes. The first theme aims to characterize and measure the changes in cortical excitability in response to injury (stroke/ Parkinson’s disease), training and rehabilitation. By applying single pulses, or paired pulses to the motor cortex, we can measure the excitability using motor evoked potentials recorded from the muscle. The second theme uses single pulse TMS and/or repetitive TMS to modulate the cortical function and study the effects of this modulation on motor behavior (control and learning). The key objective of these experiments is to reveal the specific role of brain areas in motor control and learning in non-disabled individuals and individuals with brain injury. The last theme entails exploring the possibility of using TMS as an adjunct therapeutic tool to enhance the effectiveness of training and rehabilitation. This is a relatively new and emerging research area that aims to investigate the efficacy of TMS to enhance activity-dependent neuroplasticity that implements recovery.
The Women's Health and Exercise Laboratory (WHEL) is directed by Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, who received her Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Southern California. In the WHEL, we conduct research spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical and translational science with a concentration on the hormone-related pathways in muscle hypertrophy and strength development, and metabolic diseases affecting cancer (i.e., breast, ovarian) survivors. Specifically, we are examining the effects of various estrogen therapies on skeletal muscle growth and repair. We are investigating whether estrogen use in young and old women can attenuate muscle damage and prevent sarcopenia. Additionally, weare focused on studying the effects of cancer treatment-related weight gain on metabolic diseases and further, how clinical exercise interventions may improve metabolic disease risk.
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 155Los Angeles, CA 90089-9006
Phone: (323) 442-2900 Fax: (323) 442-1515