EPFL BioE Talks SERIES "Managing Trade-offs Between Effort and Stability During Locomotor Learning and Post-stroke Gait"


Event details

Date 11.04.2022 16:0017:00  
Speaker Prof. James M. Finley, Locomotor Control Laboratory, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

Walking is one of the many skills that we learn during development through trial-and-error practice. We eventually gain the ability to not only walk with little effort over flat, unobstructed terrain, but we also learn to adapt our walking pattern to changes in the environment or changes in the body that result from aging or disease. What factors govern the strategies that we choose during these forms of adaptive learning? Likely candidates include a combination of features related to effort, instability, aesthetics, and fear of falling. The relative weighting of these objectives impacts not only how we adapt our walking pattern when features of our environment change, but it also dictates how our preferred movement strategies change when there is damage to the nervous system, as is the case following a stroke. Here, I will summarize our recent work to understand the trade-offs between two primary objectives in human walking: effort minimization and minimizing fall risk. Through a combination of empirical studies and biomechanical simulations, I will show that asymmetric walking patterns can, in certain contexts, be considered optimal with respect to effort and balance-related costs for both healthy individuals and people post-stroke. I will conclude by making a case for a more personalized approach to identifying targets for locomotor rehabilitation, one that relies on predictions of optimal movement patterns given the constraints imposed by the neuromuscular system.

Dr. Finley received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Florida A&M University, and his MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. After completing his PhD, Dr. Finley completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

Zoom link (with one-time registration for the whole series) for attending remotely: https://go.epfl.ch/EPFLBioETalks

Instructions for 1st-year Ph.D. students who are under EDBB’s mandatory seminar attendance rule:
IF you are not attending in-person in the room, please make sure to
  1. send D. Reinhard a note before noon on seminar day, informing that you plan to attend the talk online, and
  2. be signed in on Zoom with a recognizable user name (not a pseudonym making it difficult or impossible to be identified).
Students attending the seminar in-person should collect a confirmation signature after the talk - please print your own signature sheet beforehand (71 kB pdf available for download here).

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Registration required