Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering



Using ultrasound imaging to understand dynamic muscle-tendon behaviour: experimental and modelling approaches


Dr. Taylor Dick


School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia


Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 12:00:00 PM


Applied Physiology Building (555 14th Street NW), Room 1253 Building, Room 1253


Boris Prilutsky


Skeletal muscle is the engine that produces force to power movement in humans and animals alike. To date the invasive nature of obtaining muscle-tendon forces in humans has limited our understanding of muscle function and restricted our ability to develop effective treatment protocols for diseased populations. Phenomenological, Hill-type models of the muscle are often used to predict muscle force, for example within musculoskeletal simulations of human movement. However, few studies have examined the accuracy of forces obtained from such models during in vivo motor tasks. The goal of my work is to develop, test, and refine methods to better quantify muscle mechanical output in humans, using ultrasound and electromyographic recordings, together with advanced Hill-type models. In this seminar I will first discuss imaging techniques to non-invasively estimate in vivo muscle-tendon forces. Next, I will present a series of comparisons between ultrasound-based force estimates and predictions from traditional Hill-type models as well as from new-age models that account for task-dependent changes in motor unit recruitment or alterations in 3-dimensional muscle shape. These studies are helping to identify the contractile and architectural features of muscle models that are most critical for predicting time-varying patterns of force during dynamic muscle contractions in healthy and clinical populations. Finally, I will share new insights into how we are using ultrasound imaging to look ‘under the skin’ during tasks where muscle-tendon behaviour is challenging to predict—for example, during exoskeleton-assisted walking or during recovery from a fall.


Dr Taylor Dick is a Lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia. She completed her PhD in 2016 at Simon Fraser University, Canada under the supervision of Dr James Wakeling. Following this, she conducted a Post-Doc in the PoWeR Lab within the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on using novel experimental and modelling tools to study muscle-tendon mechanics, to determine how neuromuscular properties are altered with age or disease, and to unveil how these disruptions affect muscle force production and locomotor performance.


Brown Bag
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