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The Motor Control Laboratory

DSC_0370The Motor Control Laboratory is located in the Des Moines University Clinic building. The 930 square foot laboratory contains advanced movement analysis equipment as well as ample open space required for movement studies. Our primary research goals are to determine age- and disease-related changes in the motor control of balance and gait, and to develop and examine therapeutic interventions to improve gait and balance in older adults and in individuals with stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

Motor Control Research Faculty

Current Projects

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  • Evaluating differences in clinical outcomes between novice and experienced instructors  providing Tai Chi to community-dwelling older adults (Dr. Mercuris)
  • Investigating biomechanical parameters associated with gait & turning behavior to facilitate fall risk evaluation (Dr.’s Stevermer and Mercuris)
  • Analyzing mobility involving sit-to-stand as a component movement (Dr. Stevermer)
  • Evaluating the effect of the mental rehearsal of walking on the actual physical performance of walking in older adults and persons with Parkinson’s disease (Dr. Lowry)
  • Determining the efficacy of a task-oriented motor learning program to improve walking skill in persons with Parkinson’s disease (Dr. Lowry)
  • Determining functional mobility outcomes following LSVT intervention in persons with Parkinson’s disease (Dr.’s Lowry and Mercuris, in collaboration with On With Life)
  • Quantifying functional mobility limitations associated with pregnancy (Dr. Stevermer, in collaboration with Dr. Kari Smith, DMU PT Clinic Manager)

Student Involvement

Student involvement is important to the ongoing success of the lab. Research electives provide opportunities for students to directly engage in research, and gain skills and confidence in problem-solving, observational movement analysis, and participant interaction. All motor control research faculty also participate in the Mentored Student Research Program. 

Laboratory Equipment

  • GAITRite Platinum 14 ft. instrumented walkway, with inclinometer, webcam and PKMAS software
  • APDM Mobility Lab System, 6 wireless accelerometers with Mobility Lab software
  • Biodex RTM 600 treadmill
  • NeuroCom Balance Master
  • Camcorders
  • Lafayette dynamometer