Tuesday, September 20, 2016

URSP Student Alicia Suchicital Collects Data and Conducts Protocol Development for Exploring Stretch Reflex

My name is Alicia Suchicital, I am a rising senior in the Bioengineering program at George Mason University and this summer marks my second session as an OSCAR fellow. I had been graciously granted the opportunity to work under Dr. Wilsaan Joiner in his SensoriMotor Integration lab located in the engineering building. This summer, I assisted two PhD candidates, Nima Akhlaghi and Erin McKenna, in data collection and protocol development for a project exploring the stretch reflex. Using Ultrasound imaging and EMG’s (surface electrodes) we hope to show that ultrasound is a better alternative to EMG signal analysis when observing the muscle mechanics behind stretch reflex.

This project allowed me to become more familiar with ultrasound imaging, a skill that is of the utmost importance to bioengineers in clinical settings. Furthermore, I was trained to conduct the experiments needed for our data collection: set up of the robotic manipuladum (Kinarm), accurately placing surface electrodes on subjects, and correct placement and set up of an ultrasound probe. My experience with OSCAR this summer enabled me to improve my ability to solve problems and develop more advanced methods for displaying data for the purpose of project presentation. The research is still ongoing, and I look forward to continuing our project observing the underlying mechanism of the stretch reflex for the purpose of creating more objective scales for measuring it quantitatively. I would like to endlessly thank Nima, Erin, Paul Otto, Dr. Joiner, Dr. Sikdar, and Dr. Harris-Love for their continuous hard work on this project, as well as OSCAR for the funding and constant support of undergraduate research.