The goal of this project is to build a new model of muscle contraction called the Active Spring Muscle Model (ASMM) and to verify the model in human gait mechanics.
Notwithstanding the success of “sliding filament” model of actin and myosin filaments over 60 years in elucidating the mechanism of muscle contraction, the model still suffers from many problems in predicting muscle’s real mechanical behaviour, especially when the force, length, and velocity are changing dynamically. To overcome these limitations, the ASMM includes “titin”, a giant protein that spans the whole half sarcomere from M-line to Z-disk, as an extra spring-like mechanical component added to the existing sliding filament model. The model hypothesizes that titin works as an active spring by changing its mechanical properties upon muscle activation. This novel hypothesis can potentially explain many unexplained observations in muscle mechanics.
To this end, we will focus on mechanical behaviours of lower limb muscles during human locomotion, and see if our new model can provide a viable explanation to the observed mechanics of lower-limb muscles. To assess in-vivo muscle function we will combine state-of-the-art measurement techniques including optimal motion capture, dynamometry (Biodex), electromyography, and ultrasound sonography to measure the time-course of gait mechanics.
Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:
We are looking for motivated people to participate in the development of the experimental protocol, data collection, and numerical modelling/analysis. using OpenSIM and MATLAB. The ideal candidate will have a background in biomechanics and physiology with some experience in human experiment and will be intimately familiar with running numerical analyses using MATLAB.
Eligibility requirements: An Undergraduate Honours degree with a minimum classification of a 2.1 science BSc or a MSc or equivalent and a life science, clinical, or engineering background. English Language qualification for international students.
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