UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

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Computational Neuromechanics Lab

B.J. FREGLY, PH.D.
KNOX T. MILLSAPS
PROFESSOR, AND
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RESEARCH FOUNDATION PROFESSOR

Seeking to make "computational neurorehabilitation"
a clinical reality for the design of personalized treatments for movement impairments.

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Walking motion predicted for a hemiparetic subject using a subject-specitic computational model controlled by five muscle synergies per leg (Meyer et al., Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 2016)

Vision

Neurological impairments stemming from clinical conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and osteoarthritis frequently produce associated biomechanical impairments that limit walking ability. Since decreased walking ability leads to a decreased quality of life and an increased risk of serious health conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes), restoration of walking function following neurological impairment is a critical public health problem. Unfortunately, traditional neurorehabilitation treatments for walking impairments have achieved only limited success in restoring lost function, in part due to the highly subjective nature of the current treatment design process.

Consistent with the recent emphasis on “evidence-based medicine,” patient-specific computational models could potentially be used to design more effective treatments for walking and other movement impairments arising from neurological conditions. Such models could provide objective predictions of how a specific patient will function following different neurorehabilitation treatments under consideration (i.e., “computational neurorehabilitation”). Customized prescriptions could potentially be designed for treatments involving robotic gait training, clinic-based gait training, partial body-weight support treadmill training, strength training, exoskeletons, and fast functional electrical stimulation.

The goal of the Computational Neuromechanics Lab is to make model-based design of customized neurorehabilitation prescriptions a clinical reality. The current emphasis of the lab is on using computational models to improve walking function for individuals with stroke, Parkinson's disease, and knee osteoarthritis. However, I am also interested in expanding to other activities and the upper extremity. The primary technical fields used for this endeavor include multibody dynamics, numerical methods (especially optimization), contact mechanics, and computer programming (mainly Matlab and C++).

Feel free to explore this website to learn more about our efforts to use computational technology to improve the quality of life of individuals with movement-related disorders.

Click here to watch my recent invited lecture "Computational Neurorehabilitation of Walking Impairments" delivered at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute in Auckland, New Zealand on July 12, 2016.