The Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory (www.montana.edu/biomechanics) at Montana State University currently has multiple openings for graduate students to start in Fall, 2021. The openings are through the Exercise and Nutrition Sciences program in the Department of Health & Human Development.

THE PROGRAM: The graduate program is currently at the MS level, with a PhD program anticipated to start in Fall, 2021. The curriculum provides students with an interdisciplinary experience in biomechanics and motor control (courses in both the Exercise and Nutrition Science and Mechanical Engineering programs), along with complimentary course work in exercise physiology, sport nutrition, research methods, and statistics. Exact coursework is tailored based on interests and goals of the student. The laboratory is a shared facility with faculty in Mechanical Engineering and there are close collaborations betwee faculty and graduate students across departments.

ASSISTANTSHIPS: Multiple Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) are available teaching laboratory sections in the Exercise Science undergraduate program. Assistantships are for ~19 hours per week and are accompanied by a tuition waiver and monthly stipend and are awarded on a competitive basis based on student qualifications and experience. For full consideration for GTA positions, all application materials (and supplemental GTA application) must be received by February 15th, 2021.

RESEARCH FOCUS: Current areas of research interest in the laboratory include:
  • Factors contributing to common running injuries (particularly medial tibial stress syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, and tarsal/metatarsal stress injuries). Screening for, prevention of, and rehabilitation strategies for these injuries. (Becker)
  • Foot and ankle mechanics, especially role of intrinsic foot musculature, as related to running injuries. (Becker)
  • Strategies for teaching and learning new motor skills, with emphasis on how manipulating focus of attention influences running mechanics. (Becker)
  • Evaluating the role of dynamic balance recovery training methods on joint loads experience in older adults. This project is anticipating the use musculoskeletal models and finite element models to determine regional loading of the hip and knee joints. (Graham)
  • Evaluation of musculotendinous geometry and function with respect to dynamic balance recovery in older adults. (Graham)
  • Development of forward driven (predictive) musculoskeletal models of the neuromuscular system to determine the critical factors associated with successful balance recovery in older adults. (Graham)
  • Development, and evaluation of, multifactorial training methods to improve the coordination, function, and dynamic balance of older adults. (This project involves the implementation of a longitudinal training study in conjunction with a current student.) (Graham)
  • Evaluating the role of variance and invariance in skilled discrete sporting movements. (Graham)
HOW TO APPLY: Prior to applying, prospective students should contact Dr. James Becker (james.becker4@montana.edu) or Dr. David Graham (david.graham7@montana.edu) to discuss their research interests and whether they would be a good fit for the academic and research aspects of the program.

Information regarding the general application process can be found on the Department’s website: http://www.montana.edu/hhd/graduate/exerciseandnutrition/exphysnutr.html

Application deadline is February 15th, 2021.