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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Delaware
  • Stuart A Binder-Macleod
  • (302) 831-8046
Award Date:06/14/2010
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 309,590
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 309,590
  • FY 2010=$162,766
  • FY 2011=$146,824
Start Date:06/15/2010
End Date:01/31/2014
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Linking Information about Self-motion to Multi-joint Coordination of Upright Stance
Federal Award ID Number:0957920
DUNS ID:059007500
Parent DUNS ID:059007500
Program:Perception, Action & Cognition
Program Officer:
  • Betty Tuller
  • (703) 292-7238

Awardee Location

Street:210 Hullihen Hall
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Delaware
Street:210 Hullihen Hall
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

How is sensory information used to coordinate the many joints of the body during stable standing, while simultaneously allowing for the performance of other more dynamic movements? This project will examine the influence of visual information on muscle and joint coordination related to the control of the body's center of mass and head position. The generality of sensory influences on multijoint coordination will be assessed by modifying tactile information from the support surface. Finally, the work will examine how postural stability is maintained when some of the body's segments are prevented from moving, analogous to what may occur as a result of injury and some disease processes. Poor standing balance is a leading contributor to falls and subsequent hospitalization of the elderly and this project may provide important insights to guide the development of new treatments. The project will also provide laboratory experiences for undergraduate students (through the University of Delaware's Undergraduate Research Program) and for high school students (through the STEM program of Cecil County, Maryland). The work fosters an international collaboration between investigators at the University of Maryland and the University of Delaware and those at the University of Bochum in Germany, including international research experience for a graduate student from each of the two participating U.S. universities. This work is co-funded by SBE/BCS, EPSCoR, and the Office of International Science and Engineering.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Park ES, Scholz JP, Schöner G "Functional synergies underlying the control of posture during changes in head orientation" PLoS One, v.7, 2012, p.e41583. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041583 

Scholz JP, Park ES, Jeka JJ, Schöner G, Kiemel T "How visual information links to the multijoint coordination of quiet standing" Experimental Brain Research, v.222, 2012, p.229-239. doi:10.1007/s00221-012-3210-9 

Scholz JP, Park E, Jeka JJ, Schöner G, Kiemel T, & Riemann H "How visual information links to the multijoint coordination of quiet standing." Experimental Brain Research, v.222, 2012, p.229.

Park E, Schöner G, & Scholz JP "Functional synergies underlying control of upright posture during changes in head orientation." PLoS ONE, v.7, 2012, p.41583.

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.

Project Outcomes Report – NSF 0957920


Poor balance control is a major precursor to falls and related injuries in our society. Although a high percentage of falls occur in the context of locomotion, the performance of other activities during standing plays a contributing role. A better understanding of how sensory information is important for good balance control will provide a framework for better understanding postural disorders and may lead to innovative evaluation and treatment paradigms. 


Major Activities:

The studies resulting led to an improved understanding of multijoint postural control and how sensory information, specifically from vision, affects that control.

Specific Objectives:

The goal of this proposal is to investigate the extent to which back-coupling plays a role in postural control.

Key outcomes or other achievements:

Stability of upright posture primarily involved multijoint coordination of lower extremity and lower trunk joints. Consistent changes in the orientation of the head, however, required flexible coordination of those joints with motion of the cervical spine. A two-segment model of postural control was unable to account for the observed stability of the center of mass position during the tracking task, further supporting the need to consider multijoint coordination to understand postural stability. 


What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?

A graduate student (Eunse Park) in Dr. Scholz’ laboratory was intimately involved in the project from the outset, participating both in data collection and analysis, but also in the writing of manuscripts and presentation of results at scientific meetings. One undergraduate student per year was recruited to work on this project through the University of Delaware’s Undergraduate Research Office and the Howard Hughes Medical Program, which identifies promising underrepresented students. In addition, the Departments of Physical Therapy and Kinesiology received the University’s Diversity Initiative Award, which recruits and provides a mentoring program for undergraduate students of diversity to promote their interest in rehabilitation science and, specifically, physical therapy. Students had the opportunity to work in Dr. Scholz’s lab prior to applying to a physical therapy program. Finally, Dr. Scholz  worked with Mrs. Kathy Kunda of the STEM program of Cecil County, MD to facilitate participation of underrepresented high school students in biomedical research in his laboratory.


How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?

The  work generated two published manuscripts, one manuscript in preparation and five conference presentations. The results were also presented at the CBER research day at the University of Delaware, held each spring.


Last Modified: 04/09/2014
Modified by: Stuart A Binder-Macleod

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