View Full Version : PH.D. STUDENTSHIPS in Human Motor Control

Robert L. Sainburg, Ph.d.
11-12-1997, 04:17 AM
REHABILITATION SCIENCE AT SUNY/BUFFALO. Our laboratory is seeking positions
for students interested in Human Motor Control. Students with backgrounds
in physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise science, and other
areas of clinical rehabilitation are encouraged to apply. Students with
backgrounds in engineering with interests in rehabilitation research are
also encouraged to apply. Tuition remission and stipends are currently
available to students from a variety of sources including a newly awarded
training grant from OSERS and state supported teaching assistantships.
Please refer to separate listing describing Ph.D. program in detail. The
Human Motor Control Laboratory is described in some detail below.

Human Motor Control Laboratory Director: Robert L. Sainburg, Ph.D.

The human motor control laboratory in the school of Health Related
Professions at SUNY/Buffalo is focused on discerning the neural mechanisms
responsible for the control of multijoint arm movements. Specifically, we
are examining how visual and proprioceptive information contribute to
control of limb dynamics during targeted reaching movements. Experiments
are conducted on neurologically intact subjects as well as subjects with
specific lesions, including sensory neuropathies and patients with CNS
damage. In current work, we are attempting to discriminate which components
of control are implemented through feedback circuits and which features are
handled through feedforward or anticipatory mechanisms. Anticipatory
control requires learning and we are thus examining how subjects learn
about novel inertial dynamics. We expect that these investigations will
help clarify the algorithms the nervous system uses for controlling
multijoint reaching movements. To examine these topics, we use a
combination of psychophysical experiments coupled with biomechanical and
electromyographic analysis, and computational methods, including computer
assisted musculoskeletal modeling of the arm, to help understand and guide
our experimental work.

The laboratory is equipped with a custom designed air powered hovercraft to
support the arm in the horizontal plane, removing both frictional and
gravitational torques at the joints (in the plane of motion). High
frequency kinematic recordings are synchronized with electromyographic
recordings. Data acquisition is accompanied by high frequency real-time
feedback presented in a custom designed computer game format. Data is
analyzed off-line using kinematic, biomechanical, and computational
modeling techniques. Dr. Sainburg's research is supported by the National
Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research.

Selected publications:

Viril-Babul, N., Sainburg, R.L., Huagn, H., and Ghez, C. Rate of learning
novel limb dynamics depends on the nature of feedback signals. Soc.
Neurosci. Abstr: 23:85.7, 1997.
Sainburg, R.L., Faran, K., Rossi, L., Alberoni, M. and Ghilardi, M.F.
Learning of novel limb dynamics transfers to the contraleral arm. Soc.
Neurosci. Abstr: 23:85.13, 1997.
Sainburg, R.L., and Ghez, C. Limitations in the learning and
generalization of multijoint dynamics Soc. Neurosci. Abstr: 18:1324 1995.
Sainburg, R.L., Ghilardi, M.F., Poizner, H., and Ghez, C. The Control of
limb dynamics in normal subjects and patients without proprioception. , J.
Neurophysiology 73:2 820-835, 1995.
Sainburg, R.L., Poizner, H., and Ghez, C. Loss of Proprioception Produces
Deficits in Interjoint Coordination. J. Neurophysiology 70: 2136-2147,
Ghilardi, MF., Gordon, J., Sainburg RL., and Ghez, C., Planning Direction
of Planar Reaching Movements: I. The Importance of Where You Come From,
Submitted (1996)
Ghez, C. and Sainburg, R.L. Proprioceptive control of interjoint
coordination. Can. J. Physiol. & Pharm. 73:273-284, 1995.
Ghez, C., Gordon, J., Ghilardi, M.F., Sainburg, R.L. Contributions of
vision and proprioception to accuracy in limb movements. The Cognitive
Neurosciences. Eds. Gazzaniga, M.S. MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. (549-564),

Current Laboratory Personel and field of study:

Robert Sainburg, Ph.D. Director Neurobiology and Rehabilitation
Dimitrios Kalakanis Ph.D. Post-Doctoral Fellow Biomechanical Engineering
Karen Faran M.S. Doctoral Student Mechanical Engineering
Kelly Lommer B.Sc. Technician Exercise Science

For more information about the motor control laboratory, please contact
Robert Sainburg.

For more information about application procedures to the program, please
contact :
William J. Gavin, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies

Address if writing: University at Buffalo
Department of Occupational Therapy
515 Kimball Tower
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-3141

E-mail address: Gavin@shaman.socsci.buffalo.edu

Robert L. Sainburg Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Director, Motor Control Laboratory
519 Kimball Tower
3435 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214-3079
Voice 716-829-2093 Fax 716-829-3217

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