The Zelik lab is a core member of Vanderbilt CREATE (Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology), which strives to improve health, mobility and independence for individuals with disabilities, and to enhance human capabilities beyond natural biological limits, through advances in science and technology. In the Zelik lab specifically, we investigate fundamental mechanisms underlying legged locomotion and how these principles can translate to improvements in assistive technologies such as prosthetic limbs, exoskeletons and smart clothing. We seek to develop devices that better interface with the human body and better augment performance. We also seek to develop new tools and methods to enhance our understanding of human movement biomechanics.
We perform experimental and computational research on human locomotion by combining techniques from engineering, biomechanics, bio-signal analysis and neural control. 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 assistive devices to developing new experimental approaches for assessing human mobility to performing computational simulations to better elucidate fundamental principles underlying locomotion. Our interdisciplinary research is performed in collaboration with both local and international engineering and clinical partners.