The Department of Kinesiology has several research labs that provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to actively engage in the research process.
Adaptations to Repetitive Motion and Stress (ARMS) Laboratory
ARMS lab research focuses on the adaptation of tissues to stress and overuse specifically at the shoulder. Dr. Thomas has training in both basic science and applied research methods, which allow him to address clinically relevant questions with translation approaches thereby bridging the gap between bench and bedside. His current research agenda is two-fold and includes integration of translational research to investigate 1) the structural and biologic mechanisms governing soft tissue adaptation caused by the repetitive stress of throwing and the association with throwing biomechanics using novel diagnostic ultrasound methods, and 2) the structural, neuromuscular, and biologic adaptations occurring due to chronic rotator cuff tears and repairs.
The mission of the Cardiovascular Genomics Laboratory is to elucidate molecular genetic mechanisms underlying cardiovascular adaptations and functions by conducting translational research with genomics being the common theme. We are particularly interested in cellular adaptations to mechanical / biological / biochemical stimulations induced by exercise. We use research techniques in Physiology, Cell Biology, and Molecular Genetics such as primary cell cultures, Tg mouse, mitochondrial functional assays, site-directed mutagenesis, random (nDNA/mtDNA) mutation capture, microarray, mechanical shear stress experiment, and acute and chronic exercise training.
Control of Balance and Locomotion (CoBaL) Laboratory
CoBaL uses room-sized advanced visualization that combines high-resolution, stereoscopic projection to create a complete sense of presence in a virtual environment. Combined with techniques that precisely manipulate input from vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile sensory systems, balance control mechanisms are studied during standing and walking with particular regard with how these sensory inputs are fused. We develop new techniques and assistive devices for treatment of 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 the athletes with concussion.
NeuroMotor Control and Plasticity Laboratory
The NeuroMotor Control and Plasticity Laboratory focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms of muscle coordination in the human upper extremity. The major equipment includes an isometric force measurement setup (a novel modification of Biodex system), the KINARM endpoint robot (a 2-D manipulandum robotic device; BKIN Technologies, Inc.), and 16-channel wireless electromyographic recording setup. Focus areas include human motor neuroscience and neurorehabilitation following neurological disorders.
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. Our current research foci include: 1) Evaluating responses to sub-concussive head impacts using a controlled laboratory and field studies. 2) Evaluating diagnostic accuracy of state of the art concussion assessment techniques. 3) Evaluating factors that may result in variable responses to head impacts.