“The Spinal Cord: Parallel/Distributed Processor Regulating Limb Mechanics”
T. Richard Nichols, PhD
Professor & Chair
School of Applied Physiology
The work in the Neurophysiology Laboratory is focused on mechanisms underlying motor coordination in mammalian systems. These mechanisms are to be found in the structure and dynamic properties of the musculoskeletal system as well as in the organization of neuronal circuits in the central nervous system. Our work concerns the interactions between the musculoskeletal system and spinal cord that give rise to normal and abnormal movement and posture, and in the manner in which central pattern-generating networks are modified for specific motor tasks. Their studies have applications in several movement disorders, including spinal cord injury. The experimental approaches span a number of levels, from mechanical studies of isolated muscle cells to kinematic measurements of natural behavior in quadrupeds.