NewsSpring 2012

Room to move

The Movement Science Lab in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy received a big makeover this past year, moving from a small 550-square-foot space to one that is more than 1,700. “It means having a better space for research and activities,” says Margaret Finley, KSPT director of research.

“We have many faculty and students who study movement science research and study human movement. Now we have one of the best labs in the state.”

Movement lab goes high-tech

Some of the new equipment in the lab includes three force plates in the floor that calculate loads and stresses; 10 video cameras hanging from the ceiling that are used to record the joint angles when someone is walking or moving; an upper-extremity platforms game system to help treat adults following a stroke; and a gait map, a long mat with sensors that can calculate timing and symmetry of a person’s gait. Finley says that thanks to the new space, several activities can take place at the same time in the lab.

“We are getting a lot done,” she says. “We are in there almost daily and are working on a new round of projects that we can get started on later this year.”

Some of the current research focuses on knee motion and joint loading after certain types of knee replacement, arm function and gait after a stroke, and balance and gait in people with Parkinson’s disease after being in an exercise program. Many of the patients who come to UIndy are from local support groups for victims of stroke and Parkinson’s, referrals from area doctors, and the Community Patient Resource Group within KSPT.

“Now we have the ability to collaborate with other places and institutes who have the same equipment,” explains Finley. “We can expand our studies to places around the country, which is a major benefit.”

Entry-level PT students who are interested in furthering their research skills can partner with faculty to work on a project for a couple of years. Finley says that the faculty strive to make sure that student work is presented and published in scholarly journals.

“This gives students great clinical research skills,” she says. “We’re training them to better understand the research process and how to find things out to be better practitioners. “I’ve been here at UIndy for four years, and what we have done in that time has been impressive. This new lab just kicked things up a notch.”

the authorMarty