Zelik Lab for Biomechanics & Assistive Technology

Mission

Our mission is to improve health, mobility and independence for individuals with physical disabilities, and to enhance human capabilities beyond natural biological limits, through advances in movement science and assistive technology. We perform research on a range of topics, from investigating fundamental mechanisms underlying legged locomotion to translating biomechanical principles into improvements in technologies such as prosthetic limbs, exoskeletons, wearables and smart clothing. We strive to develop devices that better integrate with the human body and better augment human capabilities and performance. We also seek to develop new measurement tools and analysis methods to deepen our understanding of human movement biomechanics. Zelik Lab is housed within Vanderbilt CREATE (Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology).
Graphical Summary of What We Do in CREATE

Approach

We perform experimental and computational research on human locomotion by combining techniques and knowledge from engineering, biomechanics, bio-signal analysis, neuromotor control and clinical practice. Our interdisciplinary research is performed directly alongside clinical doctors — many of whom have offices within short walking distance of our lab — and in collaboration with other engineers and scientists. To study human movement we use state-of-the-art measurement equipment, including an infrared motion capture system, force-instrumented treadmill, portable respirometry system, ultrasound imaging and an electromyographic (muscle activity) measurement system. Research projects in our lab range from designing, building and testing wearable assistive devices to developing new experimental approaches for assessing the biomechanics of human performance to conducting computational simulations to better elucidate fundamental principles underlying locomotion.

Culture

Collaborative, inclusive, interdisciplinary, curiosity-driven, hard-working, superhero-enamored, supportive of risk/failure/success inside the lab and enjoying life outside the lab, and perhaps a little goofy at times…