Current Status: M4
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Other Degrees: BS in Microbiology, Georgia Institute of Technology;
Advisor(s): Lena Ting, PhD;
Hometown: Spokane, WA
How do we move? In a normal day, our nervous system reliably and effortlessly coordinates our muscles and joints for us to move flexibly and efficiently. However, the human body is remarkably complex, with more muscles and joints than needed to make a movement. This poses a tremendous computational problem to the nervous system: to make any movement, it must plan a trajectory and map the motion onto the overabundant set of muscles and joints, choosing from an almost infinite number of combinations. Using human posture and balance as a framework, I study how the nervous system chooses a movement and maps it onto the musculature of the body. Recent work suggests that instead of controlling muscles individually, the nervous system organizes groups of muscles into modules called muscle synergies, simplifying neural computations while still allowing for movement flexibility. While it is possible to predict motor outputs using muscle synergies, it is not known how the body may recruit such muscle synergies to achieve motor tasks.
Leadership in MD/PhD Program: Executive Committee