Research – University of Copenhagen

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Motor Control > Research

Neural Control of Movement Laboratory

The research group is unique nationally and internationally by combining expertise and knowledge from neuroscience, health research and sport sciences, which is also reflected in the dual association of the group to INF/ Health Faculty and IFI/Science Faculty. The group thus utilizes inspiration and knowledge from both the neuroscientific/ health and sport science/exercise research areas to address central research questions of interest within the two fields The research group originates from research on spinal cord neural circuitries and spinal motoneurones, which still remains a major focus area, but the group has gradually extended its field of interest first to an understanding of the corticospinal control of human movement and then more broadly to an understanding of the basis of voluntary movement. Many of the present research questions thus relate to how movements are generated at a cortical level and how we consciously perceive our movements. The contribution of unconscious (reflex) contributions to voluntary (conscious) movements, however remain a fundamental interest. In addition, the group are interested in quantify human movement and understand how the body and anatomical structures are loaded in dynamic situations. Methods that involve biomechanical and computational musculoskeletal modeling are applied for these purposes.

Through inspiration from sport sciences the group has also over the past 10 years developed a keen interest in understanding the neural basis of motor learning and the field of neuroplasticity has consequently become one of the most important focus areas for the research in the group. The group attempts to understand how different levels of the nervous system interact and contribute to the gradual improvement of motor performance during learning.Through this work, the research group has obtained considerable knowledge, which may also be used for rehabilitation following brain and spinal cord injury. The group has consequently for some years aimed to utilize this knowledge in practically-oriented clinical rehabilitation projects. For this purpose, we established ´Center for Research in Spasticity and Neurorehabilitation´ in 2006. Through this center, we have now established close collaboration with the neurological departments and rehabilitation clinics at the major hospitals in the Copenhagen area and we have a number of ongoing projects with them. Most importantly we have established a very close collaboration with The Helene Elsass Center, which is a private center for training of children with cerebral palsy. Research in cerebral palsy has consequently become another of our main research interests and we are striving – together with The Helene Elsass Center – to create an active and stimulating research environment for young researchers interested in cerebral palsy.

The laboratory consists of nine research groups: