Physiology Brownbag Seminars – Fall 2020

Physiology “brown-bag” lunchtime seminars are normally held twice a month on WEDNESDAYS at noon in Applied Physiology Building, room 1253 (or as indicated). Special seminar dates/times outside of the regular schedule are indicated as such. In Fall 2020, all speakers will present their talks remotely via BlueJeans.

Contact Dr. Boris Prilutsky,, to be considered as a future speaker, added to the e-mail distribution list, if you would like to meet with a speaker, or for other seminar-related inquiries.
For directions: Applied Physiology

SPECIAL SEMINAR: Friday, October 16, 2020

Compensatory mechanism during walking in individuals with transfemoral amputation

Vahidreza Jafari Harandi, PhD
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Melbourne


This study investigated gait compensatory mechanism in transfemoral amputees fitted with socket and osseointegration prosthesis. Experimental and computational approaches were used to quantify the contributions of lower limb’s muscles to the body center of mass acceleration and hip joint contact forces during walking. It was found that the intact limb hip muscles contributed more to the body center of mass acceleration and hip contact forces than those in the residual limb. The findings would be useful in developing rehabilitation programs and designing prostheses.

Bio: Dr. Harandi received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran and Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran. He performed his PhD research in Biomedical Engineering at University of Melbourne, Australia. He has worked as a Mechatronic Engineer and Data Scientist to develop technology and artificial intelligence algorithms for processing of motion and electromyographic data recorded by wearable sensors.

Host: Boris I. Prilutsky, PhD
Special Time: 3:30 – 4:30 PM
BlueJeans Link

SEMINAR: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Characterizing hyperreflexia and abnormal coordination in post-stroke stiff-knee gait

Tunc Akbas, PhD
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University


Stiff-knee gait (SKG) is a common disability post-stroke and is defined by the reduced knee flexion angle during the swing phase. Previous work using exoskeletal knee flexion perturbations during gait reveals a possible abnormal coordination pattern post-stroke. However, the multifaceted neuro-biomechanical processes involved has not yet been confirmed. In this work, Dr. Akbas will present a novel framework for delineating the neuromuscular mechanisms of abnormal coordination in post-stroke SKG using musculoskeletal modeling and simulation with OpenSim. The simulation results suggest an abnormal reflex coupling between rectus femoris (RF) and hip abductors, initiated by exaggerated involuntary RF activity (hyperreflexia), that explains the kinematic data observed previously. Dr. Akbas will also discuss how this framework can be used to identify individualized assistance patterns to avoid hyperreflexia and serve as a template for exoskeletal assistance post-stroke. The results obtained from this study will help determine abnormal coordination patterns in post-stroke and inform future robotic and neuromuscular interventions.


Bio: Dr. Akbas is a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Wyss Institute. He is currently working on the influence of wearable robotics on gait biomechanics and neuromuscular mechanisms on healthy and pathological gait. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechatronics Engineering from Sabanci University in 2010 and 2012 respectively, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Texas at Austin in 2018. His research focuses on the development of assistive devices for gait recovery following injuries such as stroke or spinal cord injury. His previous work focused on bipedal robot locomotion as well as the characterization of post-stroke SKG using biomechanical and neurophysiological approaches. Dr. Akbas has authored several peer-reviewed articles including in the Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, Journal of Biomechanics and Frontiers in Neurology.

Host: Boris I. Prilutsky, PhD
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
BlueJeans Link