Rat Gait Biomechanics
Although we already have established methods of testing the functional recovery of injured animals, we are always looking for additional markers. Alongside Dr. Shawn Russell of the UVa Gait Lab, we are utilizing a rodent treadmill and Vicon motion capture software to track joint motion and angles throughout a gait cycle. Though this project is still in its infancy, we hope that the combination of the Vicon data and OpenSim modeling will allow us to track differences in the gait of healthy animals and those with injuries. Eventually, a single lane track equipped with force plates will be added to this study, providing yet another level of data on how the animals alter their gait in response to injury and how their gait recovers as the tissue does the same. The ultimate goal is to use all this information as an additional indicator in measuring the functional recovery of the animals when treated with our various tissue repair technologies. This work is being supported by a pilot grant from Art3, and addresses the importance of developing new paradigm for regenerative rehabilitation. A new international organization, of which UVA is a founding partner, the International Consortium for Regenerative Rehabilitation, is a key player behind the development of this burgeoning field of medical research.