My main research interest is how humans are able to walk on two legs with such remarkable ease. I am convinced that this is due to two things; 1) the way the human body is build, and 2) remarkable control from the central nervous system. In my research, I try to disentangle how this control is achieved.
For instance, during my time as postdoc in Leuven, I combined kinematic measures of gait with brain imaging methods, in order to focus on the neural control of gait stability. I designed a gait-related dual-task paradigm combining fMRI and state-of-the-art diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This project helped to identify (some) gait-related brain areas and corresponding pathways.
Currently, in my NWO-Veni funded project, I'm using measurements of brain activity during walking, by means of Electro-EncephaloGraphy to see which parts of the brain are involved in making us walk stable on two legs.
Other research interests
I continue to have an interest in the coordination of the trunk while walking (see Bruijn et al., 2008; Wu et al., 2008), and am currently working on a project on this topic.
Since my masters thesis about the debate between Camillo Golgi and Ramon Y Cajal, two Nobel prize winners at the beginning of the 19th century (see for example Grant, 2007), and largely due to the enthusiasm of my supervisor Onno Meijer, I became interested in historical research on human movement sciences. At the moment I am not really working on anything historical, but turning my masters thesis into a paper is still one of our plans.
Together with Myrthe Plaisier, I'm working on a more applied project, in which we look into the possibility of improving tactile pavement for navigation. Find more details on the project here