Sjoerd Bruijn

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Van der Boechorststraat 9, 1081 BT Amsterdam
room A626


Main interest

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.

Recently, in my NWO-Veni funded project, I’ve used 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.

Currently, I am starting up and NWO-VIDI project, to follow up on my Veni project. In this project, I will test the hypothesis that gait stability is controlled only in certain moments in the gait cycle. A project page on this project will be online soon.


Other research interests

  • I did my internship on the coordination of transverse pelvis and thorax rotations during walking, and 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 supervising a PhD student on this topic.
  • 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.

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  • Active control and passively stable patterns

    Building on research on kinematic measures and neural correlates of gait stability, we hypothesize that several distinct phases of the gait cycle require active control.
  • Neural Underpinnings

    Studying motor-related changes of synchronized neural activity and its network-like distribution elucidates how the brain can operate as functional unit despite numerous anatomical connections between simultaneously active neurons.
  • Stability of Gait

    Walking on two legs is inherently unstable. Still, we humans perform remarkable well at it, mostly without falling. We measure and perturbed walking to gain more insight into the role of the central nervous system in controlling gait stability.



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Excerpts of scientific work

For the complete lineup, refer to VU Research Portal

Excerpts of scientific work

For the complete lineup, refer to VU Research Portal