Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Brown University
  • Elizabeth L Brainerd
  • (401) 863-9261
  • David Lee
Award Date:03/05/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 494,311
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 510,061
  • FY 2012=$98,728
  • FY 2013=$98,576
  • FY 2009=$99,364
  • FY 2010=$98,792
  • FY 2011=$114,601
Start Date:03/01/2009
End Date:02/28/2015
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:RCN: A Research Coordinaton Network for X-ray Motion Analysis
Federal Award ID Number:0840950
DUNS ID:001785542
Parent DUNS ID:001785542
Program:Physiolg Mechansms&Biomechancs
Program Officer:
  • Steven Ellis
  • (703) 292-8470

Awardee Location

Street:BOX 1929
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Brown University
Street:BOX 1929
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Newly developed x-ray technologies can now reveal the rapid, three-dimensional (3D) movements of bones during running, swimming, flying, breathing, and feeding activities of diverse animals. X-ray Motion Analysis (XMA) and X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology (XROMM) are poised to transform the way biologists investigate how muscles and bones interact to produce rapid and complex movements in animals. The goal of this project is to develop a Research Coordination Network of scientists and students working with these new technologies. This RCN-XMA will: (1) offer technical training to reduce barriers to XMA/XROMM use for scientists and students, including those from colleges and universities with limited resources for research; (2) make it possible to share data and work together by developing community consensus on data formats; (3) create a centralized computer storage system and database for XMA/XROMM research. With the x-ray facilities at Brown University and University of Nevada at Las Vegas as training and collaborative research centers, the RCN-XMA seeks to advance and extend XMA/XROMM technology to a national and global community of zoologists and biomechanists. The RCN-XMA will contribute to broadening the participation of underrepresented groups by bringing high-school science teachers from Providence Public School system (demographics of PPS students: 81% from groups underrepresented in the sciences, 80% free or reduced-price lunch) into this highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research enterprise. Teachers will gain first-hand research experience and develop learning modules that integrate biology with math/physical sciences, one of the goals of the Rhode Island's "Physics First" educational initiative. This project has the potential to transform research in the field of comparative biomechanics by: (1) introducing a new and powerful set of x-ray measurement technologies; and (2) by developing new data management standards that could vastly increase the value of all existing and new comparative biomechanics data, not just XMA/XROMM data, by making them available in databases for data mining and collaborative research.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

Gidmark, Nicholas J. and Konow, Nicolai and LoPresti, Eric and Brainerd, Elizabeth L. "Bite force is limited by the force-length relationship of skeletal muscle in black carp, Mylopharyngodon piceus" BIOLOGY LETTERS, v.9, 2013, p.. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.1181 

Nowroozi, B. N. and Brainerd, E. L. "X-ray motion analysis of the vertebral column during the startle response in striped bass, Morone saxatilis" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, v.216, 2013, p.2833. doi:10.1242/jeb.085118 

Brainerd, EL; Baier, DB; Gatesy, SM; Hedrick, TL; Metzger, KA; Gilbert, SL; Crisco, JJ "X-Ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology (XROMM): Precision, Accuracy and Applications in Comparative Biomechanics Research" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY PART A-ECOLOGICAL GENETICS AND PHYSIOLOGY, v.313A, 2010, p.262. doi:10.1002/jez.58  View record at Web of Science

Gidmark, Nicholas J. and Staab, Katie Lynn and Brainerd, Elizabeth L. and Hernandez, L. Patricia "Flexibility in starting posture drives flexibility in kinematic behavior of the kinethmoid-mediated premaxillary protrusion mechanism in a cyprinid fish, Cyprinus carpio" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, v.215, 2012, p.2262. doi:10.1242/jeb.070516 

Dawson, Megan M. and Metzger, Keith A. and Baier, David B. and Brainerd, Elizabeth L. "Kinematics of the quadrate bone during feeding in mallard ducks" JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, v.214, 2011, p.2036. doi:10.1242/jeb.047159 

Gidmark, N.J., Tarrant, J.C., and Brainerd, E.L. "nvergence in morphology and masticatory function between the pharyngeal jaws of grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella, and oral jaws of amniote herbivores." Journal of Experimental Biology, v.217, 2014, p.1925. doi:10.1242/jeb.096248 

Camp, A.L., Brainerd, E.L. "Role of axial muscles in powering mouth expansion during suction feeding in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)." Journal of Experimental Biology, v.217, 2014, p.1333. doi:10.1242/jeb.095810 

Camp, A. L. and Brainerd, E. L. "Reevaluating Musculoskeletal Linkages in Suction-Feeding Fishes with X-Ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology (XROMM)." Integrative and Comparative Biology, v.55, 2015, p.1. doi:10.1093/icb/icv034 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

XROMM is a powerful new X-ray imaging technology for research in the field of comparative biomechanics. We can now track skeletal motion with high precision in living animals and humans performing natural activities such as running, flying, swimming, breathing and feeding. XROMM has now been successfully applied to animals as small as bats and birds weighing only 15 grams, and to animals in water as well as air. As part of this Research Coordination project, we have helped 12 colleges, universities and research institutions acquire X-ray equipment primarily for zoological work. We have also helped 7 orthopedic biomechanics labs acquire equipment. We have created a Research Coordination Network for X-ray motion analysis with 133 active members, for sharing information and resources among researchers.

XROMM opens up several new avenues of research. Four are described below, and the applications of XROMM are still developing rapidly.

1) Application to the study of joints. XROMM yields both bone shape and bone motion, so XROMM makes it possible to study the interaction between 6 degree-of-freedom (6 DOF) motion at a joint and the shape of the articular surfaces. Arthrology has a long and valuable history, focusing primarily on gross morphology and histology of joints, to which we can now add XROMM, potentially creating a new field of study, "dynamic arthrology."

2) Measuring muscle, tendon and ligament strain. With XROMM we can reconstruct the motion of every point on the bone (at least within the resolution of the mesh model of the bone, which is usually better than 0.1 mm). This means that we can measure the change in distance between ligament attachment sites and thereby measure ligament strain. We can also measure muscle length changes when there is no tendon, such as in intercostal muscles, and muscle-tendon unit (MTU) length change. We can put radio-opaque beads into muscles to measure fascicle length changes, and from that information plus MTU strain we can calculate tendon strain, and relate those values back to joint angle changes because we have that information too (Astley, H.C. and Roberts, T.J. (2012). Evidence for a vertebrate catapult: elastic energy storage in the plantaris tendon during frog jumping. Biology Letters, 8:386-389.)

3) Inverse dynamics. XROMM increases the accuracy of 3D inverse dynamics calculations of the torque at limb joints from force plate recordings. The joint rotation can be measured much more accurately than with roughly placed surface markers, which improves the accuracy of inverse dynamics calculations. 

4) Musculoskeletal modeling. As with inverse dynamics, accurate, 6 DOF joint motion from XROMM makes it possible to determine accurate, time-varying rotations at joints, which improves moment arm calculations. The in-lever arms for muscles are often small, so small errors, even 1 mm or less, can change moment arm calculations significantly.

In the field vertebrate paleontology, XROMM is making it possible to determine relationships between bone form and function in living animals, with direct applicability to rigorous reconstruction of motions and behaviors in extinct animals. For example, XROMM data are starting to inform our interpretations of tetrapod evolution from aquatic to terrestrial environments, the evolution of birds from non-avian dinosaurs and the evolution of mammal jaws and dentition. Researchers are also using XROMM to study the formation of footprints in humans and birds, with applications to fossil footprints and trackways. 

XROMM is also starting to find wide adoption in human orthopedic biomechanics. XROMM can be used safely on human subjects, and is valuable for determining normal joint kinematics as well as measuring changes in joint kinematics with arthritis and injury, and evaluation of kinematics to compare surgical and other treatments. Through ...

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.