The mechanisms underlying metabolic cost of walking are unclear. This is important not only because they provide fundamental insight in human movement, but they are also essential to reduce increased cost of walking in the elderly and impaired. To understand these mechanisms, it is required to know the link between energetics at the human level and the energetics at the muscle level. Whereas the energetics at the human level is experimentally accessible, that at the muscle level is not. Current estimations greatly overestimate actual metabolic cost and hence there is no basis understanding metabolic cost of walking.
In this project I will first ever directly measure oxygen consumption of dynamically contracting muscle fibres. These experiments will be conceptually linked to in vivo experiments measuring oxygen consumption during isolated movements as well as during walking. Using these data and state-of-the art optimization techniques applied to detailed neuro-musculoskeletal models I will link energetics at the muscle level to that of a walking human and provide insight in the mechanisms underlying the metabolic cost of walking.
This grant would allow the applicant to return fully to a EU research environment and would have a very significant and direct impact on my career perspective.
Fields of science
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