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Neuromotor Science (NMS) Research Consortium

The Neuromotor Science (NMS) Research Consortium is a state-of-the-art research facility consisting of the following interdisciplinary laboratories:

  • Adaptations to Repetitive Motion and Stress (ARMS) Laboratory
  • Biomechanical Assessment for Movement and Rehabilitation (BAMR) Laboratory
  • Motion-Action-Perception (MAP) Laboratory
  • Movement Assessment and Health Outcomes (MAHO) Laboratory
  • Personal Health Informatics and Rehabilitation Engineering (PHIRE) Laboratory 
  • Spinal Neuromotor (SNM) Laboratory
  • Sports Concussion Laboratory
  • Virtual Environment and Postural Orientation Lab (VEPO) Laboratory

investigating a range of basic and clinical issues in human sensorimotor neuroscience, including:

  • upper extremity function
  • posture and gait
  • spinal cord function
  • concussion
  • sensorimotor integration
  • assistive device development

Virtual reality is an important component of these laboratories as a means to understand how sensory processing is integrated with motor function and to develop new rehabilitative techniques. 

There are currently nine full-time faculty along with 20 undergraduate/graduate students/postdoctoral fellows housed in a common space to promote interaction/discussion, providing a rich scientific atmosphere to share ideas through journal clubs and invited lectures.

For more information, contact:

Tre Grue
Assistant Director of Admissions

W. Geoffrey Wright, PhD
NMS Program Director

Adaptations to Repetitive Motion and Stress (ARMS) Laboratory

Stephen Thomas, PI

A large number of individuals in the United States suffer from diseases related to inactivity. Regular physical activity has been shown to reverse many of these conditions. Therefore, performing regular physical activity is recommended for all individuals. Unfortunately, repetitive physical activity and sports have the potential to increase the risk of musculoskeletal conditions. Due to this, it is important to identify the biomechanical, neuromuscular, and tissue adaptations that occur during repetitive activities. By identifying these adaptations and the mechanisms associated with them, we can develop optimal training guidelines to prevent overuse injuries. Our lab uses a variety of methodologies to identify specific adaptations. We often integrate clinical methodologies into our research to create a more fluid transfer of our results to the clinician. Our methods include motion capture, electromyography, muscular strength, range of motion, joint stiffness, and tissue architecture using diagnostic ultrasound. Our populations often include athletes and patients with chronic rotator cuff tears. 

Biomechanical Assessment for Movement and Rehabilitation (BAMR) Laboratory

Richard Lauer, PI

A state of the art laboratory under the direction of Dr. Richard T. Lauer focuses on the development of novel assessments and interventions addressing the neuromuscular basis of balance and movement. Current projects examine gait and postural dysfunction in adults and pediatrics with neurological injuries such as spinal cord injury (SCI) and cerebral palsy (CP). Additional resources are devoted to develop interventions and technologies to address the needs of these populations. Applications include advanced signal processing techniques applied to biomechanics and electromyography data, and the use of accelerometers and motion capture system to quantify human movement in natural environments. Equipment includes a Trigno wireless EMG recording system, 7 laptops and personal computers tablets with MATLAB, a six-camera motion capture system.

BAMR Laboratory is not accepting new students at this time.

Motion-Action-Perception (MAP) Laboratory → 

W. Geoffrey Wright, PIDirector, NMS Graduate Programs

The Motion-Action-Perception (MAP) Laboratory focuses on how one's senses and perceptions guide one's actions. More specifically (and in scientific terms), we study how sensorimotor, perceptual, and psychological influences control human movement. The human nervous system uses highly complex and extremely sensitive processes to help a human stand, walk, and reach for and hold objects. Any damage or disease to the nervous system can affect how well these processes work and in turn how well a person can move. Clinical populations such as Parkinson’s disease, TBI, PTSD, and various sensorimotor disorders are some of the diseases and injuries that we investigate. One approach to solving these problems involves the use and development of advanced technologies including virtual reality goggles and smart phone applications to find portable and economically accessible solutions to investigating the human nervous system. The lab is also equipped with cutting-edge research-grade equipment such as motion capture cameras for studying body movements, electro-oculography for studying eye movements, force plates for studying balance, electromyography equipment for studying muscle activity, and MRI for studying brain activity. The main goal of our research is to accurately detect sensory, motor and cognitive impairments, treat these impairments, and help individuals lead healthy independent lives.

Movement Assessment and Health Outcomes (MAHO) Laboratory

Carole Tucker, PI

The Movement Assessment and Health Outcomes Lab focuses on the use of technology to improve our understanding of health outcomes, Dr. Tucker directs the Child Health Outcomes Laboratory (MAHO) which is dedicated to the advancement of person centered health outcomes using modern measurement approaches, qualitative and psychometric expertise, and development of smart systems of wearable sensors for adaptive data collection. The laboratory provides support for psychometric and item bank development, qualitative and clinical validation, and technologies to support patient reported outcomes (PROs) in children who have difficulty with typical modes of self-report of health concepts. We have strong collaborative ties with The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, the Shriners Hospitals for Children, and local parent and patient networks, as well as across academic departments at Temple University (TU) including the College of Engineering, Institute for Survey Research, Communication Sciences, and the Center for Data Analytics and Biomedical Informatics at TU. The laboratory has 3computer workstations, 6 Microsoft bands, 2 Empatica embrace devices, Shimmer multi-sync sensor development platform, and 5 Actigraphs (wGT3X-BT) and Actilife software. Five tablets and an additional 2 Surface Android tablets are also available for use.

Personal Health Informatics and Rehabilitation Engineering (PHIRE) Laboratory →

Shiv Hiremath, PI

The PHIRE lab focuses on understanding people’s quality of life needs and seamlessly assisting them through science and technology. The team is currently working on an adaptive feedback app to help those with spinal cord injuries maintain and improve physical activity.

Dr. Hiremath is a rehabilitation science researcher with an interest in personal health informatics and rehabilitation engineering. The theoretical bases for his research program stem from the intersection of rehabilitation science and biomedical engineering, with a focus on both the development and application of new technologies to enhance the health and quality of life of people with disabilities. His doctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh involved studying physical activity patterns of individuals with spinal cord injury who use manual wheelchairs, towards developing and evaluating a physical activity monitoring system. His postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine involved developing and evaluating neural decoders, personalized to individuals with upper limb paralysis, which translate modulated cortical activity towards controlling assistive technologies through direct brain-computer interfaces. His current research focuses on: (1) studying health and physical activity patterns of people with disabilities in the community, and (2) developing and applying novel physical activity monitoring and feedback technology, which when combined with behavioral programs would improve the health and physical activity of people with disabilities.

Spinal Neuromotor (SNM) Laboratory

Christopher K. Thompson, PI

The Spinal Neuromotor Laboratory seeks to better understand how the spinal cord controls movement. To accomplish this, we use a wide variety of approaches and models to better understand the activity of the central nervous system. One of the main approaches we use is to record the electrical activity of skeletal muscle and decompose this information into the discharge of several dozens of individual spinal motoneurons. Recent technological advances have allowed us to record these detailed neuronal firing patterns noninvasively in humans using high-density surface electrode arrays. This approach has opened up several new avenues or research: Not only can we record from a large number of neurons, but we are now able to perform these detailed analyses in a wider range of subjects, including children, and in more relevant environments, including in the home or hospital setting. This state-of-the-art human work is paralleled by animal investigations in which we are able to perform more invasive recordings, such as recording the discharge of spinal interneuron populations using intraspinal microelectrode arrays. Our work is highly collaborative and we have active projects with our local, national, and international colleagues. The new knowledge we produce regarding the spinal control of movement is focused on developing life-changing therapies for individuals with disorders of the peripheral or central nervous system.

Sport Concussion (SC) Laboratory →

Ryan Tierney, PI

The mission of the Sport Concussion Laboratory is to broaden our understanding of brain injury. We conduct clinical research and, through collaboration with basic scientists, translational research connecting basic science and clinical practice. We are particularly interested in elucidating the mechanisms underlying variable cellular and clinical responses to mechanical stress imparted during concussive and sub-concussive head impacts.

Temple Research Immersive Balance and Locomotion Laboratory (TRIBAL), NMS Faculty

The Temple Research Immersive Balance and Locomotion (TRIBAL) Lab is a shared resource of all NMS faculty. The primary goal of the TRIBAL lab is to understand the neural and biomechanical basis of human balance and locomotion. Individuals stand or walk in a room-sized virtual reality cave that allows precise control of the visual surround along with input from vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile sensory systems. Balance control mechanisms can then studied with regard to processes that fuse information from multiple sensory systems. Computational methods combine mechanisms of multisensory fusion with biomechanical investigations of multilink body dynamics to develop new techniques and “smart health technology” to improve mobility in patient populations with balance disorders including Parkinson’s disease, individuals with the loss of inner ear (vestibular) function, elderly individuals at risk of falling and athletes who have experienced concussion. Our multidisciplinary lab group, which includes physical therapists, kinesiologists, biomechanists, engineers and mathematicians, (and extreme sports enthusiasts) reflects the basic-to-applied range of problems we are investigating.

Virtual Environment and Postural Orientation (VEPO) Laboratory →

Emily Keshner, PI

The Virtual Environment and Postural Orientation Lab focuses on identifying how humans use visual cues to maintain balance and how the multimodal sensory inputs are processed and used for postural control. Current emphasis is on the control of balance in elderly adults and post-stroke patients. The lab uses virtual reality technology to provide a meaningful or unreliable visual environment and a dynamic posture platform with embedded force plates to produce physical instability. Motion analysis infrared cameras and electromyography are used to record changes in muscles and body motion.

VEPO Laboratory is not accepting new students at this time.