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David J. Nuckley
11-16-2007, 11:04 AM
Graduate Student Position in Biomechanics at the University of Minnesota!



The Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory has an opening for graduate
study within Rehabilitation Science. This funded RA position will
investigate pediatric neck muscle mechanics and model these responses for
the improvement of safety systems. This research will involve measuring
neck muscle strength and biopotentials in children and then translating
these into a computational model. A full abstract for this project can be
found below.



Interested students should send their resume / CV to Dr. David Nuckley
(dnuckley@comcast.net).



For program information please see the website:
http://www.med.umn.edu/rehabscience/ and feel free to contact Dr. Nuckley
with any questions regarding this position.



Thank you and best wishes,

David Nuckley

______________________________________________

David J. Nuckley, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Minnesota, Physical Therapy

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation





Project Abstract:



Traumatic head and neck injury is the leading cause of death for children in
the United States (15,000 each year) and permanently disables close to
150,000 more children annually. These statistics persist in spite of
interventions like advanced safety systems in cars and new safety gear and
surfaces for sports and playgrounds. Unfortunately, these interventions
have been developed largely in the absence of child biomechanical data for
the head and neck, relying on geometrical scaling of the adult to child.
This strategy is flawed particularly for the head and neck due to their
differential allometry-head circumference of a 4-year-old is 90% of its
adult value while the neck circumference does not approach 90% of adult
until age 14. We have, therefore, engaged in an effort to characterize and
simulate head and neck biomechanics during maturation. Through a better
understanding of child neck mechanics during these changes, emergency
medical services such as patient extraction, transport, and diagnosis can be
performed without further exacerbation of child head and neck injuries.
Further, knowledge of the response of the child head and neck to injurious
scenarios will facilitate the prevention of these injuries. The objective
of this research is to characterize the developmental growth trajectories of
neck muscles and employ these data in a head and neck computational model
able to address emergency medical services and injury prevention in
children. Specifically, this research effort will begin with a human
subject experiment examining neck muscle mechanics across the developmental
spectrum (4-to-23 years). The peak and endurance mechanics will be measured
and correlated with muscle biopotentials (EMG), subject anthropometry, age,
and sex (specific aim 1). These data and our previous work will support the
development and validation of a series of child musculoskeletal models to
examine parametric issues affecting child head and neck injury (specific aim
2). These models will be able to assess current automotive, sport, and
emergency care injury prevention strategies and expose improvements
(specific aim 3). The clinical import of this work lies in modifications
for emergency medical extraction, transport, and diagnosis of the injured
child and advancements in child safety devices all afforded by an improved
understanding of pediatric musculoskeletal neck mechanics.