Research Laboratories

 

REHABILITATION SCIENCES DOCTORAL PROGRAM LABORATORIES

College of Health Sciences Basic Research Muscle Laboratories

The basic science (wet) labs of the Rehabilitation (RHB) Sciences Doctoral Program faculty occupy approximately 5,000 square feet on the 4th floor of the Wethington building, and are part of the Center for Muscle Biology (CMB; www.uky.edu/chs/muscle), directed by Dr. Charlotte Peterson. The CMB is home to 35 members, representing five colleges and 10 departments from across the UK campus with approximately $14 million in extramural research funding. The mission of the CMB is to support and integrate basic, clinical and translational research on muscle throughout the University of Kentucky. The goal is to understand mechanisms regulating muscle structure and function that impact overall health, to develop new strategies to improve physical performance and prevent frailty and the loss of functional independence following injury and in the face of chronic disease and aging.

The laboratories of Drs. Esther Dupont-Versteegden, Christopher Fry and Charlotte Peterson are fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for cellular and molecular biologic analyses of rodent and human muscle tissues. The labs contain several tissue culture facilities for studying isolated primary muscle cells. Human tissue and primary muscle cell lines are stored in the CMB Human Muscle Bank, directed by Dr. Grace Walton. Shared equipment includes QuantStudio3 real time PCR detection system, BioRad ChemiDoc MP imaging system, and ZetaView (R) Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis system.

The wet labs are supported by a shared imaging facility that serves as the CMB Muscle Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Imaging Core (MIMIC), directed by Dr. Kate Kosmac. The facility includes three Micron cryostats, Zeiss AxioImager MI upright and AxioObserver D1 inverted fluorescent microscopes, each with fully automated stages for whole slide scanning and image stitching capabilities. The inverted scope is also equipped with an incubator system for live cell time lapse imaging. A third Olympus BX61VS upright fluorescent microscope has a fully automated stage which can hold up to 5 slides at once for whole cross-section imaging in batches. The MIMIC also provides access to MyoVision, an automated image analysis software program for quantifying muscle properties.

Dr. Tim Butterfield’s muscle mechanics lab contains animal treadmills, with integrated electromyography and high speed camera systems to measure in-vivo kinematics and kinetics, and custom fabricated tissue loading devices and instrumentation for the measurement of passive and active mechanical properties of rodent muscle, in-vivo.  A complete Aurora muscle physiology system allows measurement of mechanical properties in isolated, whole muscle, including force-frequency, force-velocity, and force length, and permits additional measurements of fatigue, calcium sensitivity, rate of tension rise and recovery, passive muscle stiffness, and break length. The lab also contains custom fabricated mechanotherapy equipment  (instrumented human and animal massage devices) for the application and quantification of external mechanical loads to human and animal skeletal muscle.

 

College of Health Sciences Translational Research Laboratories

Dr. Brian Noehren, director of the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) and Biomotion Labs (located in the adjacent Multidisciplinary Sciences (MDS) building, see below), has his Biomotion Computer Lab on the 4th floor of Wethington near the wet labs, where modeling and analyses of biomechanics data obtained from human research volunteers are performed.

Dr. Geetanjali Gera’s Neuromotor Control & Rehab Lab is located across the hall. The Neuro Motor Control and Rehab Laboratory is well equipped for assessing balance and postural control deficits. The lab has 10 cameras (Motion Analysis, Santa Rosa, CA), a 7 x 3 surface perturbation treadmill with overhead safety harness (Activestep, Symbex, Lebanon, NH), 7 sensor Opal inertial measurement unit (IMU) system (APDM, Portland, OR).

Located in the MDS building, the HPL occupies approximately 1365 square feet on the first floor and 1765 square feet in the basement, the latter housing the Biomotion Lab. The HPL embodies translational science with investigators from the colleges of Health Sciences, Education, Medicine, and Engineering working side by side on projects ranging from mechanistic studies in biomechanics to cutting edge physical therapy treatments. The first floor laboratory contains space dedicated to evaluating biomechanics across activities ranging from basic tasks such as transitioning between sitting to standing to advanced tasks such as performing a running cut motion at full speed. The Biomotion Lab contains two separate areas, one dedicated to the collection of walking and running biomechanics with a sophisticated force measuring treadmill, motion capture cameras, as well an isokinetic dynamometer. The other area of the Biomotion Lab contains a full functioning physical therapy clinic with dedicated space for both resistance and endurance exercise equipment, treatment plinths and exam rooms. The two spaces provide a unique environment to mechanistically test new treatments, and also serve as the University of Kentucky Running Clinic. This specialty clinic allows runners from the community to come in for a fee and have their running form and/or injuries assessed. Major equipment in the HPL includes: Keiser resistance exercise equipment, cycling ergometers, treadmills, Bertec and AMTI force measurement platforms, Bertec Instrumented treadmill, Biodex dynamometer, 20 Motion Capture Cameras, Delsys EMG equipment, accelerometers, novel instrumented insoles and 12 computer workstations.

 

Laryngeal and Speech Dynamics Laboratory

Directed by Drs. Richard Andreatta and Joseph Stemple, this lab is dedicated to the study of physiological mechanisms underlying the human vocal tract during speech and vocalization.  The lab currently supports many lines of research that together addresses the integrative nature of vocal function and speech production.  Research lines include neuroimaging using fMRI, sensory perception, laryngeal physiology, and basic research in laryngeal muscle biology in animal models.  The lab boasts a comprehensive array of technologies that allow for the recording and analyses of respiratory, phonatory, and neural subsystems during a variety of dynamic and static speech/voice tasks.  The lab is equipped with several stimulus and transducing systems including: (1) a servo-linear motor for mechanically evoked reflex studies of the trigemino-facial pathway, (2) a precision vibrotactile delivery system for somatosensory perceptual and movement-related gating studies, (3) an automated muscle force assessment workstation for analyzing lip, jaw and tongue muscle performance skills in vivo, (4) kinematic transducers for various orofacial motion tracking applications, and (5) state-of-the-art tools for visual imaging of vocal function, acoustic analysis of the voice signal, and aerodynamic assessment of voice production including respiratory and glottal airway measures. A full-size Faraday booth built within the lab space is also available for EMG and evoked response studies.

 

Sports Medicine Research Institute

The UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI) is a state-of-the-art research center with the mission to conduct interdisciplinary research to optimize the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries and performance. The SMRI has a vision to be a leader in sports medicine research that empowers people to achieve long-term health and wellness. Initially created from a collaboration that includes the College of Health Sciences, UK HealthCare, UK Athletics, and the College of Medicine, the SMRI is focused on research, outreach, and service within four specific initiatives: Active Duty/Veterans, Athletics, Active Women’s Health, and Jockey and Equestrian.

The SMRI believes in instilling, cultivating, and fostering an altruistic, mentor-based culture to benefit and develop students and faculty to be future thought-leaders in their professions. SMRI provides applied research opportunities and experiences for students both internal and external to the University at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. SMRI is aligned with the CHS Rehabilitation Sciences Doctoral Program and provides opportunities for research training by providing student funding through graduate research assistantships and mentoring of PhD students. Research experiences are also provided for students enrolled in the CHS Undergraduate Research Certificate program.

 

The EKU-OT Research Center

The EKU-OT Research Center is located within the Occupational Therapy Department, at 107 Dizney Building, on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. Research taking place there can be reviewed through the Department's web page: https://ot.eku.edu/ot-research-center.  The Research Center is used by multiple research teams, who schedule meeting times in the Center, as well as by a variety of research support workers, such as graduate assistants and transcriptionists.  The Center includes four workstations, one of which is a Macintosh video analysis system.  Data analysis software available there also include Hyper Research, Ethnography, and SPSS.  Research meeting support includes video projection from laptops, tea and coffee service, refrigerator, and a selection of local take-out menus.  Secure data storage, methods reference library, conference phone, and audio-recording equipment are also available. The EKU-OT Research Center serves as the primary research space of the Endowed Chair in Occupational Therapy and is restricted to research use by Department faculty members and doctoral students.

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