Nadia Dominici

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Van der Boechorststraat 9, 1081 BT Amsterdam
room D-629
+31 20 59 88 591

GENERAL INTERESTS

My research centers on the development of motor abilities in children. My main goal is to elucidate the neuromotor aspects underlying the emergence of walking, and to implement this knowledge to identify an optimal rehabilitation strategy to promote normal walking in children with neuromotor disorders, in particular cerebral palsy.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Over the years I have built a strong expertise in locomotor control and neurorehabilitation, through several studies that I conducted in excellent research laboratories: the Laboratory of Neuromotor Physiology of the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, and the Experimental Neurorehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Zürich, and EPFL in Lausanne. This led to the publication of various articles in high-impact journals, including Science [2011, 2012] and Nature Medicine [2012, 2016].

In 2013, I was awarded the Ig Nobel prize in Physics "for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon".

I was awarded the Suzanne Klein-Vogelbach -Prize for the Research of Human Movement prize in 2013, a 5-year NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) Vidi grant and NWO Aspasia Grant in 2015, and a 5-year ERC Starting Grant (European Research Council) in 2016.

CURRENT RESEARCH

I am currently working on the interplay between brain and muscular activity underlying the development of locomotor patterns in children, as well as on the biomechanics of human locomotion. From October 2015 I am project leader and principal investigator of the project "FirSTeps – The emergence of walking in children", and from February 2017  I am project leader and principal investigator of the project "Learn2Walk. Brain meets spine: the neural origin of toddlers' first steps". My research group consists of BSc, MSc and PhD students, who work on studies related to the development of walking from neonates stepping until independent walking in healthy children and in children with neuromotor disorders.

RÉSUMÉ

After a master diploma in Physics, I received my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy, for work on the neurophysiology of locomotor development in children.

I held research positions at the Laboratory of Neuromotor Physiology of the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome under the supervision of Prof. Francesco Lacquaniti, where I focused on central pattern generation networks and on the development of locomotion in children starting from neonate stepping until the first independent steps in toddlers, and at the Experimental Neurorehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Zürich, and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), in Lausanne, under the supervision of Dr. Gregoire Courtine, where I developed neurorehabilitation techniques to restore walking in animals after spinal cord injuries.

In 2015, I became Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Science at Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, where I established my own research laboratory. In 2016 I was nominated Associate Professor.

 

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Research…

  • FirSteps – The Emergence of Walking in Children

    The first independent step of a child may be small, but it represents a giant leap for its development. This project addresses the emergence of coordination patterns and motor primitives or muscle synergies in typically developing children and in children with cerebral palsy.
  • Learn2Walk – Brain meets spine

    We analyze brain and muscular activity in typically developing children and in children with cerebral palsy. We seek to unravel the reorganization of cortical and cortico-muscular activity accompanying the development of walking with the ultimate aim to design novel rehabilitation techniques for cerebral palsy.

 

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Excerpts of scientific work

For the complete lineup, refer to VU Research Portal

Excerpts of scientific work

Currently no entries. For the complete lineup, refer to VU Research Portal

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