10-10-2008, 03:21 AM
Graduate study in hand biomechanics and motor control

at The Pennsylvania State University

The Biomechanics Laboratory at Penn State University is seeking a highly
motivated Ph.D. student interested in hand and finger biomechanics and motor
control of hand function. The research is conducted together with the Motor
Control lab and is performed under the guidance of Prof. V. M. Zatsiorsky
(biomechanics) and Prof. M.L. Latash (motor control). The applications are
for the Fall semester of 2009.


The current research program is aimed at understanding of the hand
biomechanics and finger coordination/control in prehension tasks involving
several digits, force sharing among fingers as a model of the redundancy
problem, biomechanics and control of manipulation in elderly and in patients
with central and peripheral motor disorders, e.g. in carpal tunnel syndrome
patients. A continuing focus for many of the research projects will be
analyzing the biomechanical aspects of motor control problems especially
during manipulation of the hand-held objects. This direction of research
combines biomechanics, motor control, robotics and clinical disciplines. The
Laboratory has unique equipment to perform this research.

The Laboratory is highly productive with a total number of publications a
year exceeding 15 papers in peer reviewed journals. The research projects
have been funded mostly by the grants from the National Institutes of


This unique and rigorous program includes advanced coursework in
biomechanics and neighboring fields of science, weekly colloquia and
seminars, apprenticeship in the biomechanics laboratory and instructional
mentoring. Students develop a coherent area of expertise by designing an
academic program that includes introductory and advanced graduate courses in
classes such as Experimental Methods in Biomechanics and Motor Control,
Advanced Biomechanics of Human Movement, Modeling in Biomechanics, Sports
Biomechanics, Locomotion Studies, Musculoskeletal Mechanics, Motor Control,
Motor Learning, Neurophysiological Basis of Movement, Psychophysiology of
Movement, Movement Disorders, Skeletal Physiology, Advanced Exercise
Physiology, Engineering of Human Work, and others. In addition to the
courses offered by the Department of Kinesiology, students take classes in
other areas, such as Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and
Psychology. Additional advanced courses, including research seminars, are
also offered.


Applications for admission and financial aid should be received by

the Graduate School Admissions Office no later than December 20, 2008. The
available assistantships are $15,705.00 for a ten-month period and include a
tuition remission. In addition, students who do their research during summer
periods are financially supported during this period of time.

For admission of a student into the Program, the main considerations are:
(a) the course background of the student (science courses, including
Physics, Mechanics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Anatomy, Physiology,
etc.); (b) the student's mathematics ("quantitative") GRE score, which
should be at least in the high 600's, and preferably in the 700's (the
verbal and analytical GRE scores are less important, although the University
requires combined scores in two of the three measures (verbal plus
quantitative) above 1000; and (c) the student's record of interest and

academic performance in the biomechanics of human movement.

Some background in the biological sciences is desirable for this curriculum;
a good aptitude for math/mechanics is crucial. Experience with LabView and
MatLab, as well as experience in biomechanical and neurophysiological
measurements (e.g motion analysis, EMG) and background in the control of
human motion would be advantageous. Outstanding students from the biological
and engineering sciences are encouraged to apply.

Fluent English is required. All applicants whose primary language is not
English and who graduated from a university where the language of
instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate facility in the
English language.

For more information about the program, please visit our lab homepage at the
address "http://www.biomechanics.psu.edu/".

Candidates should send a letter of interest to: Prof. Vladimir M.
Zatsiorsky, Biomechanics Laboratory, 39 Recreation Hall, University Park, PA
16802, Phone: (814) 865-3446, Fax: (814) 865-2440, E-mail (preferred):

If you are seriously considering Graduate Work at Penn State, please request
Department and University information from:

Dori Sunday
Dept of Kinesiology
The Pennsylvania State University
275 Recreation Bldg
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: kinesgrad@psu.edu
phone: 814-863-0847