Vestibular and Oculomotor Research Laboratory (VORLab)The Vestibular and Oculomotor Research Laboratory, or VORLab, is conducting research to identify markers of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, in athletes. It is co-directed by Jennifer Christy, Ph.D., P.T., associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Claudio Busettini, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Vision Sciences. Its executive committee includes Katherine Weise, O.D., MBA, FAAO, associate professor in the Department of Optometry, Mark Swanson, O.D., MSPH, professor in the Department of Optometry, and James Johnston, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. The VORLab is the first of this kind in Alabama and one of only a few in America - it could lead to a better understanding of the effects of concussions.
Human Performance Laboratory:Laboratory capabilities include assessments of neuromuscular, metabolic, cardiorespiratory, and functional performance, as well as the use of exercise interventions into research endeavors. Also available is technology for assessing sensitive measures of force and power performance. A summary of major laboratory equipment includes: a Biodex mulit-joint dynamometer, a custom-built muscle performance data acquisition system, a Cosmed metabolic measurement system, an electromyography system, one treadmill, five cycle ergometers, four weight training machines, and free weights. Current research projects supported by the laboratory include the Frequency of Aerobic/Resistance Training in Older Women and the Evaluation of an Oral Nutritional Supplement Containing a Derivative of Leucine in Malnourished and Frail Subjects.
Motion Analysis Lab:This lab is designed to assess movement (kinematic and kinetic) and functionally related changes and functional changes in adult mobility and balance. The lab has 2 AMTI force plates and 8 camera VICON motion analysis system.
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This lab is also focused on the development of novel apparati useful for rehabilitation. Two examples include a tilt-cycle ergometer used to measure, during pedaling tasks, weakness in paretic muscles, limb loading capability, speed of movement, lateral balance stability, and rhythmic muscle activity and a new collaborative robotics system, the KineAssist MAX, a gait and balance system. This system allows the study of balance and postural responses to challenging functional tasks such as stairs, stepping over objects, and forward/backward pushes.
Past and current funding received for UAB stroke research and other studies from the Foundation of Physical Therapy, Veteran’s Association, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Institutes of Health.