Today, I hit the RRAMP: no I wasn’t falling out the door in a haze at 7am and down the slope outside my door, I refer to the Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance lab at SUNY Stonybrook. Thanks to my friend Susan, I had made a good connection with the braniac Dr. Sue Ann Sisto, who has since agreed to be both my mentor and committee member for the dissertation process. I am sure she knows not what she is getting into, but she seems quite affable about my hair-brained schemes so far. I have 100 hours to log in lab-time for my dissertation, and I am going to be spending considerable time here, so I hope you also enjoy the journey!
The morning began with the usual class introductions: my fellow volunteers at the lab are a mixed bunch, some undergrad bio-engineering students, a 2nd year medical student and a couple of Koreans who are tech guys in some respects. All share an interest in kinetics, kinematics, wires, cameras and computers. Good job so, as the lab is full of them. A 12 camera Vicon 3-D motion analysis system, a build-in system of force plates, a 16 lead EMG system, capable of both surface and needle EMG. And a whole lot of fancy amplifiers, wires and screens. As a PhD candidate, hanging out with bio-engineering students, I nervously figured on a fairly high level of intellectual interaction, and had braced myself with a 50% full octane coffee en route to RRAMP. Dr. Sisto wanted to start from scratch. “When you come in, the first thing to do is turn on this switch”. She really was going to begin at the beginning. Phew. She walked us through the initial data entry, and next thing I knew, I was sticking small reflective balls onto various body-parts of the Athletic Training program director, who had just stopped by for a chat. Christos was soon plastered in markers, and began dancing about on the force plates, watching his data points dance on the screen like a demented pac-man. We took a couple of measures for kinematic data and then added some EMG electrodes on his shoulder for some more tests. His department is interested in studying the shoulder girdle musculature response to heavy loading in line-backers. While he and another professor simulated football contact positions and recorded data, Dr. Sisto asked if I can bring my bike the next session! Yaaay. Absolutely. I almost wanted to drive home and get it right away. I am so excited to be getting the chance to jump right into the lab experience. Coming next: cyclists as lab rats!