01-30-2008, 06:31 PM
PhD position Neuromuscular Control in Stroke

General description

Stroke is the clinical designation for a rapidly developing loss of brain functions due to a disturbance in the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. Reduced control of motor functions (loss of dexterity) and involuntary reflexive movement (spasticity) are the main symptoms. Appropriate spasticity treatment is a key-element in the treatment of stroke survivors as it does influence functional outcomes. Although the course of recovery can be modified, the functional outcome after stroke is more related to time post-stroke and intensity of treatment than to a specific treatment modality. In order to plan treatment and predict treatment outcome, the time course of spasticity, both clinically as well as reflexive and biomechanical, needs to be addressed. Second, the development of spasticity needs to be related to other changes in neuromuscular control properties.

PhD project

The PhD position is part of a larger project aiming to analyze longitudinal changes in neuromuscular control and spasticity post-stroke. The PhD position will focus on muscular properties and reflexive control. New biomechanical measures for reflexive and biomechanical assessment need to be developed, tested and evaluated. For this purpose, actively powered robotic manipulators will be utilized by which precise measurements of joint torque and joint angle can be recorded during different movement tasks. Recent advances in computer models of the human joint make it possible to quantify muscular and reflexive components from these robot based measurements which are considered of crucial importance for improvement of our understanding of neuromuscular functioning. The main goal is to design new experimental methods for these robots from which relevant biomechanical parameters can be derived, applicable at any time post stroke.

The PhD project is assigned for four years (period 2008 - 2012) and is operated in a consortium of Dutch academic hospitals (rehabilitation departments) and the Delft University of Technology (DUT). Hosting institute is the laboratory for human movement analysis at Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). Day-to-day support is provided by the research group formed by researchers from both the department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the LUMC, headed by Prof. dr. J. Hans Arendzen, and the Neuromuscular Control group at DUT, headed by Prof. dr. Frans C. T. van der Helm. Salary amounts EUR 2294 in the first year to EUR 2465 in the fourth year.

Candidate's profile

M.Sc. in Mechanical or System and Control Engineering or a closely related field, with outstanding results. A strong background in biomechanics and system identification and experience in biomechanical modeling. Combination of academic attitude and engineering skills. Excellent writing and presentation skills in English.


Please send your application including your Curriculum Vitae, list of three persons for reference, a list of publications (if applicable), a summary of your M.Sc. thesis and a cover letter stating your motivation to:

Prof. dr. Frans C.T. van der Helm

Biomechatronics and Biorobotics

Biomechanical Engineering

faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

Delft University of Technology

Mekelweg 2

2628 CD Delft

Additional information can be obtained from:

Prof. dr. F.C.T. van der Helm (f.c.t.vanderhelm@tudelft.nl)

Dr. ir. Erwin de Vlugt (e.devlugt@tudelft.nl)