Life is Motion: An Integrated View On The Neuromuscular System
Abstract: Motion is a defining feature of human life allowing us to perform various tasks. Motion is typically the consequence of the chemo-electro-mechanical properties of muscles. Moreover, muscles can act as interface between the brain and the environment. As such, they provide us a window to the brain, to study, for example, control. Yet, despite more than a century of scientific effort, only a crude understanding of the entire mechanisms enabling motions, and hence the neuromuscular system and its force-generating capability exists. A fundamental challenge to study the neuromuscular system in-vivo is the lack of sophisticated experimental methods providing insights how human physical performance is mechanistically linked to the biophysical function of our body. This also limits the development and the assessment of therapies aiming to tackle the diverse class of neuromuscular disorders. Hence, novel methods to study the neuromuscular system in-vivo are desperately needed. Investigating the neuromuscular system requires an integrated approach for studying the biophysical basis of human motion. That is the combination of experimental methods, computational models and data science. While we perform research in all three areas, we focus within this talk on in silico models, particularly on continuum-mechanical, volumetric models of the neuromuscular system, as well as computational techniques to study motion and, hence, the neuromuscular system. The talk will, for example, address homogenization techniques for microstructurally motivated constitutive laws, methodologies to determine the system-inherent pre-stretches, the use of multi-scale chemo-electro-magneto-mechanical simulations to study neuromuscular recruitment (forward problem) and novel methodologies and emerging sensor technologies to better decompose the complex neural recruitment patterns resulting in muscular contraction (inverse/source localization problem) and hence motion.
Bio: Oliver Röhrle is Founding Director of the Institute for Modelling and Simulation of Biomechanical Systems and Professor for Continuum Biomechanics and Mechanobiology at the University of Stuttgart. He is a Fellow of the Stuttgart Center for Simulation Science and a Senior Research Expert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (Fraunhofer IPA) in Stuttgart. Since 2021 he also serves as Dean for the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He received a Master of Science in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, USA (1999) and his Diplom in “Wirtschaftsmathematik (Mathematics and Economical Affairs)” at the University of Ulm (2000). After his PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA (2004), he spent 4 years as a research scientist at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, before returning to Germany in 2008. He received numerous awards, e.g. the Richard von Mises prize of the GAMM (Society of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics) in 2011. Further he was awarded prestigious ERC grants, an ERC Starting Grant in 2011, an ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant in 2016, and an ERC Advanced Grant in 2022. He is the spokesperson on a DFG-funded priority programme on ”Robust coupling of continuum-biomechanical in silico models of active biological system models for later use in clinical applications - Co-design of modeling, numerics and usability.