Current Studies and Grants

Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT)

Lower extremity BFRT applies a pressurized cuff to the thigh in order to partially occlude blood flow as an individual exercises in order to decrease the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscle.  Lack of oxygen to the muscle combined with strength training is believed to result in metabolites staying in the muscle longer and creating an environment which promotes adaptation of the muscle with minimal strain.  Therefore, individuals are able to train at a lower resistance (20-30% 1RM) and receive the same training benefits as if they were training at a higher resistance (70-80% 1RM).  BFRT is a promising alternative method to safely improve muscle strength in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions/injuries where resistance training using higher loads is contraindicated or not well tolerated.

Research performed at the BioMotion Lab:

  • Healthy individuals
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury - NIH funded
  • Patellofemoral pain (PFP) - ACSM funded
  • Patellar instability - DOD funded

Myostatin (MSTN)

Myostatin is a protein that acts to inhibit myogenesis (i.e. the formation of muscular tissue). Following ACL injury and reconstruction, elevated levels of myostatin have been reported and may potentially contribute to prolonged quadriceps muscle weakness. Determining the time course of changes in muscle quality and morphology, as well as the expression of myostatin, following ACL injury and reconstruction can help establish the basis for further research and targeted rehabilitation efforts for patient recovery. Muscle biopsies, blood samples, and strength assessments are collected pre-surgery and at multiple time points post-surgery.

Research Performed at the BioMotion Lab:

  • ACL injury and reconstruction - NIH funded

Patellar Instability (BRAINS)

Patellar dislocation is a common injury experienced by highly active individuals, such as athletes and military personnel, and occurs from a direct blow to the patella or rapid, improper movement during intense activities. Delayed restoration of quadriceps muscle strength increases the risk of repeated injury. Unfortunately, strengthening of the quadriceps muscle after a patellar dislocation is made difficult by pain, swelling, apprehension, and reduced muscle function. Mitigating inflammation, swelling, and reduced muscle function early in the recovery process after patellar dislocation may help prevent subsequent dislocations and expedite return to activity without surgery. ​

Research Performed at the BioMotion Lab:

  • Patellar instability - DOD funded

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (SMACK)

After ACL injury and reconstruction, females experience a markedly slower and poorer recovery of muscle strength and physical function compared to males. Currently, there is limited understanding of sex-specific differences in quadriceps muscle morphology, quadriceps muscle strength, knee mechanics, and psychosocial recovery after ACL injury and reconstruction. Gaining insights into sex-specific differences can help improve post-operative care and rehabilitation in order to target the unique response to injury in females.

Research Performed at the BioMotion Lab:

  • ACL injury and reconstruction - NIH funded

Lower Extremity Fracture (RIFLE)

Traumatic lower extremity fractures present a significant challenge to military personnel as they result in long-term limitations in physical function. Despite improved surgical techniques for lower extremity fractures, little progress has been made in the development of interventions to effectively and efficiently restore physical function. Improved post-operative rehabilitation programs are needed in this population in order to improve functional abilities, restore normal gait mechanics, improve return to work, and enhance psychosocial response.

Research Performed at the BioMotion Lab:

  • Lower extremity fracture - DOD funded