What do we do?

  • Research
  • Undergraduate, Graduate, & Postdoctoral training
  • Community Outreach
Our goals are to understand:
1) How neuromuscular structure and function support mobility-related health
2) How mobility can be maintained in the face of aging or morbidity
To do this, we study a variety of muscle properties with relation to mobility.  Specifically:
  • muscle structure (size, architecture, morphology)
  • neuromuscular function (contractile and neural properties, energetics and vascular)
  • mobility (physical activity and physical function)

Some areas of interest include: magnetic resonance, aging, mitochondria, neuromuscular junction, glycolysis, balance, fatigability, motor units, physiological reserve, fat, foot tap speed, sex differences, ATP, fatigue, connective tissue, gait, perfusion, in vivo measurements, oxygenation, exercise, acidosis, accelerometry, disease

Below are some photos from our lab in action! We are very excited about the new 3-T magnet that recently arrived. 

We study biochemical changes that occur within the muscle during exercise with  Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (image above) .  This allows us to determine how you are using energy when you contract your muscles.
Recently, UMass Amherst installed a new 3-T magnet.  The lab is very excited to have access to a new magnet right on campus.  The 7 ton magnet took almost a day to deliver.
Magnet arriving_3
 The magnet arriving.
Magnet arriving
 Magnet arriving_2

Watching the magnet get delivered.  From Left: Dr. Mark Miller, Dr. Jane Kent, Dr. Kath Boyer, Jocelyn Hafer, Erica Hartman 
We examine muscular strength and look at muscle activity in the legs.
We are working on a way to identify individuals with a decline in central function by tracking the slowing of rapid repetitive tapping with age.  We also like to have fun and strive to create an enjoyable environment for our participants.
We use a combination of non-invasive techniques to measure the roles of neural activation, bioenergetics, contractile function, and blood flow in the development of muscle fatigue. The primary source of funding for our work is the National Institutes of Health.