As an Associate Professor of Biomechanics and through directing the Biodynamics Lab here at UK, I have the opportunity to engage in a lot of hands-on research that aids in helping others. My research interests are the assessment and treatment of movement disorders and disability due to stroke, cerebral palsy, limb loss, diabetics and aging. My research has been sponsored by the Department of Education, American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, and the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association, as well as industry. The Biodynamics Lab at UK is a research and education facility with state-of-the-art equipment for conducting a variety of biomechanics research. We have a 15-camera Motion Analysis system, three force platforms, a 16 channel Delsys EMG system and an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill. In addition, we have Visual3D and Matlab for data analysis and processing.
Do you have an interest in getting involved in research that can help others with their mobility? The Department of Kinesiology & Health Promotion (KHP) has a large body of undergraduate students with a wide range of career paths such as physical education, athletic training, physical therapy and medicine, and biomechanics plays an important role in bridging their education to their future careers. Several KHP undergraduates are involved in my studies and it’s great to see their dedication and achievement. In one study, we are using an anti-gravity treadmill (see picture) to provide weight-support gait training in populations with movement disorders. We assess its effects on functional performance including gait and balance/posture control. One KHP senior, Eric Honaker, has been working with me on the project since the beginning, and he has done a great job in helping submitting the proposal for the study, preparing tests, collecting data and drafting/presenting abstracts for presentation. We have presented our findings at local and international conferences. UK has funding to help students who are interested in working with faculty members on research that interests them. It is a great idea to get involved with professors, graduate students, and other undergraduate students early in your program for networking and experience for your resume. More information on the Office of Undergraduate Research can be found here: https://www.uky.edu/chellgren/undergraduate-research
Eric summarized his experiences here: “Working in the Biodynamics Laboratory as an undergraduate student has given me many opportunities to apply the concepts that I have learned in the classroom by pursuing innovative research in the fields of biomechanics and rehabilitation. While working alongside Dr. Gao, I have had priceless experiences that have contributed to my pursuit of professional school and will help me become an effective healthcare provider. I want to encourage any fellow undergraduate students who are interested in research to take the first step in approaching a professor. As I have experienced firsthand, with the leadership of Dr. Gao and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, an innovative idea that you have can develop into a project that you feel dedicated and passionate towards. Overall, the undergraduate research that I have been able to conduct in the Biodynamics Laboratory has been one of the highlights of my undergraduate career and has fueled my inspiration to continue to pursue innovation and research in the field of rehabilitation.”
UK KHP offers a dynamic and collaborative environment that facilitates biomechanical studies with clinical implications. For example, we have easy access to some local hospitals including UK Health Care, Shriner’s, and Cardinal Hill RehabilitationGet involved…join our Biodynamics Lab research team in KHP Hospital from which we recruit our patient populations. In addition, we can establish collaboration with clinicians whose expertise is indispensable in conducting clinical trials.
Want to join us in research? Contact me (email@example.com) to find out more or visit our web page: https://education.uky.edu/khp/laboratories/biodynamics-laboratory/. We would love to have your join our lab!