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Neuromusculoskeletal Health Laboratory

About Us

The primary goal of the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Laboratory is to develop robust indicators of musculoskeletal health and to identify effective treatment strategies that increase physical activity and combat bone and muscle deficits in children with movement disorders.

We have a special interest in cerebral palsy, the most common movement disorder in children. To assess musculoskeletal health we use novel magnetic resonance imaging techniques and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

We are now conducting a randomized controlled trial to assess the effect of a mild vibration treatment on muscle development, physical activity, and balance in children with spastic cerebral palsy.

Join Our Study!

Do you have a child with cerebral palsy who can walk without a walker or cane and is 5 to 11 years old? They may be eligible to take part.
Get more details

Parent FAQs

What Parents/Caregivers Should Know

Will my child be comfortable? Absolutely! Our goal is to make your child as comfortable as possible while we conduct our studies. We provide snacks, movies, and more to make the experience enjoyable. You are also free to bring in any items of comfort he or she may have at home.

Who will be directly handling my child? Research staff, clinical staff, and research assistants will be administering the tests.

Will I be allowed to be in the testing room? Of course, but there is also an option to sit in an adjoining room that has sliding glass windows to allow you to view the testing.

Grants and Publications

September 2017: Lab director Christopher Modlesky was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help identify useful treatments to improve the lives and functioning of children with cerebral palsy, the most common developmental disability in children. If a mild vibration treatment is found to increase muscle size and strength and decrease fat infiltration of the muscles while increasing balance and physical activity participation, it would present a viable strategy for reducing chronic disease risk in children with cerebral palsy.

In the News

Lab Equipment and Uses

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows us to assess the size, architecture, and fatty infiltration of muscle and bone.

Dual-energy X-ray Absorpitometry (DXA): allows us to assess areal bone mineral density, bone mineral content, bone area, bone architecture, bone strength, fat-free soft tissue mass and fat mass.

Ultrasound allows us to assess muscle size, muscle architecture, muscle stiffness, and blood flow.

The Neurocom allows us to assess balance.

Motion capture allows us to assess the kinematics associated with balance, gait, and various motor tasks.

Force plates allow us to assess the kinetics associated with balance, gait, and various motor tasks.

Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) allows us to assess muscle activation during various motor tasks.

Dynamometry allows us to assess muscle strength and spasticity.

Electromyography allows us to assess muscle activity.

Accelerometer-based activity monitors allow us to assess physical activity.

Affiliated Programs

The Neuromusculoskeletal Health Laboratory works closely with the University of Georgia’s Pediatric Exercise and Motor Development Clinic .

Info for UGA Students

Undergraduate Students

The Neuromusculoskeletal Health Laboratory offers research experience for students in a variety of majors, such as kinesiology, engineering, biology, computer science, and human development and family science! If you have an interest in working with children or simply gaining experience in a lab environment, the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab may be a good fit for you.

Graduate Students

This lab aligns with the program requirements for students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology, motor behavior, or biomechanics.

Join Our Team

If you are interested in being a part of the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab, please fill out this google form . We are looking for passionate and dedicated undergraduate students to join our team and gain experience in the world of research! We will follow up with you after your form has been reviewed.

If you have any additional inquiries, please email our lab coordinator, Sydni Whitten, at uga.cp.research@gmail.com .

Meet Our Team

Sydni Whitten

MS, Research Coordinator

Sydni Whitten is the research coordinator for the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab. Her responsibility is to coordinate and maintain our current clinical trial research project. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern University. Her expertise lies in biomechanics research, which assesses the movement of individuals. She is passionate about engaging in research that furthers the field of rehabilitation science and improves the mobility of those with neuromusculoskeletal disorders.

Joel Licea

MS, Graduate Research Assistant

Joel Licea is a graduate research assistant for the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab at UGA. His responsibilities focus primarily on the collection and analysis of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data. Joel completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina. He then completed his master’s degree in Kinesiology- Movement Science at the University of Michigan before beginning a PhD program in Kinesiology at UGA. Joel is passionate about uncovering underlying neural mechanisms related to motor function in efforts to provide insight on potential therapeutic interventions in those with motor deficiencies.

Junsoo Lee

BS, Graduate Research Assistant

Junsoo Lee is a graduate research assistant for the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab. His responsibility is to collect and analyze muscular and skeletal architecture data with Ultrasound and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Oriental medicine at Wonkwang University in South Korea. His interest is focused on improving the quality of life in people with muscular-skeletal diseases and providing an evidence-based medicine aspect to Oriental medicine.

Owais Khan

PT, Graduate Research Assistant

Owais is a physical therapist and budding educator-researcher from Mumbai, India. He worked as a pediatric PT before joining the doctoral program at UGA, where he is the recipient of the GREAT fellowship awarded by the Graduate school. Owais’s expertise lies in the interaction of the visual and motor systems in goal-directed reaching in children with cerebral palsy. He is deeply interested in exploring novel assessments and treatment strategies to improve arm and hand use in children with CP. Owais is passionate about scientific writing and communication, and hopes to teach basic and clinical sciences at a medical school after completing his PhD.

Trevor Batson

MS, CSCS, Graduate Research Assistant

Trevor completed his undergraduate degree in Applied Exercise Science at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. He earned his master’s degree in Exercise Physiology here in the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab at the University of Georgia. Trevor’s research focuses on secondary complications of cerebral palsy, specifically cardiometabolic disease. He aims to present research that informs clinical care in an effort to improve the health and quality of life of those with cerebral palsy throughout their lifespan.

Shelley Jakiel

MBA, LAT, ATC, OTC
Graduate Research Assistant

Shelley earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine and went on to serve as a Certified Athletic Trainer. She has a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sports Management. Prior to accepting her position here at UGA, she worked as a surgical athletic trainer at Emory Orthopedics and Spine Hospital where she assisted in total joint replacement procedures. Her specialty is biomechanics, working directly with our lab’s participant populations, and analyzing biomechanical data. Her goal is to improve therapeutic interventions and quality of life in children with cerebral palsy.

Simin Rahman

MS, Graduate Research Assistant

Simin is a Graduate Research Assistant working in the Neuromusculoskeletal Health Lab and a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Department of Kinesiology here at UGA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Medical Physiology with an emphasis in neurosciences. She has previously worked as a research assistant at a movement disorders lab, where she gained experience working with clinical populations. She is interested in assessing neural activity during functional tasks. She is passionate about translating novel research into real-world applications.

Shelby Thompson

BS, Graduate Research Assistant

Shelby received her BS in Health Science from Spelman College, where she was involved in a variety of premedical organizations and Parkinson’s disease research. Shelby’s responsibilities in the lab include collecting and analyzing biomechanics data to assess the physics behind human movement. Her interests include utilizing evidence-based biomechanical research to incorporate into her future practice as a pediatric orthopedic physician.

Visit Us

Ramsey Student Center and map

We are located in the academic wing of the Ramsey Student Center.

If you are interested in participating in our study, please email uga.cp.research@gmail.com .

If you are a UGA student interested in joining our team, please fill out this google form .

Contact Info

Director: Christopher Modlesky
210 Ramsey Student Center 330 River Road Athens, GA 30602
© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
706‑542‑3000