BME Lunch Seminar: “Experimental and Computational Biomechanical Methods to Understand Strategies to Complete Functional Tasks” by Brooke Odle, PhD, BME Faculty Candidate in Neuroengineering

Thursday, March 28, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Floor/Room #: 
Brooke Odle, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Case Western Reserve University


Abstract:   Spinal cord injury (SCI) often results in partial or total paralysis of the trunk and lower extremity muscles. Thus, many individuals with SCI rely on their upper extremities for functional tasks, such as wheelchair propulsion, reaching, standing, and transferring to and from the wheelchair. Experimental and computational biomechanical methods can provide insight on strategies used to complete these tasks and how they may contribute to secondary shoulder injuries in this population. In this talk, I will highlight how these methods were used to understand upper extremity muscle contribution to wheelchair propulsion in an individual with a low-cervical SCI. I will also describe mathematical models that estimate the interaction forces of the upper extremities and walkers in individuals standing with implanted neural prostheses (assistive devices that stimulate paralyzed peripheral nerves).
Transferring to and from the wheelchair is another important functional task for many individuals with SCI. Depending on the level of the injury and/or the difference in surface heights, many individuals may require transfer assistance from a caregiver (nurse, therapist, aide, or family member). Manual patient-handling tasks, including transferring, lifting, and repositioning individuals, have been reported to be major risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal injuries. I will conclude this talk by discussing how experimental and computational biomechanical methods may be implemented to understand the interactions of caregivers and individuals with SCI during manual patient-handling tasks. In addition to individuals with SCIs, I will discuss other individuals with movement disorders that could benefit from such studies.     
Biography: Brooke Odle received the B.S. degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA), the M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ), and the doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University Biomedical and Health Science (Newark, NJ). She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH). In her most recent project, funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, she is developing and validating mathematical models of how individuals with spinal cord injury use their upper extremities to interact with assistive devices while standing with peripheral nerve stimulation. These models will be utilized to design advanced nerve stimulation
control systems for enhancing balance during standing and walking after paralysis. She is also investigating the effects of neural stimulation to facilitate assisted transfers. As an extension of this work, she is interested in understanding the interactions of caregivers and patients during manual patient-handling tasks and how these interactions may contribute to musculoskeletal injury risk in caregivers. Brooke is also an advocate for STEM education and mentoring. She serves as the Principal Instructor for the Biomedical Engineering and Technology Track at the Accelerated Learning Academy, an intensive academic and leadership program for forward-thinking high school students interested in the STEM fields, developed by the W. E. B. Du Bois Scholars Institute at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).
Department of Biomedical Engineering
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