Huub Maas

Jaap van Dieën

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Van der Boechorststraat 9, 1081 BT Amsterdam
room n/a


General Interests

The overall objective of my research is to unravel the complex interactions between the musculoskeletal and neural systems during movement. For this purpose, both animal and human models are exploited. It has been my unique focus to study the mechanical and sensory action of skeletal muscles, not in isolation but in their in vivo context.


I have contributed to (i) our understanding of the different pathways via which forces produced by muscle fibers are transmitted to our skeleton, in particular to the mechanisms and functional relevance of epimuscular force transmission; (ii) to the sensorimotor consequences of peripheral nerve injury and repair; (iii) to the mechanical and neural changes following an agonist-to-antagonist tendon transfer; (iv) to effects of spasticity on muscle morphology and joint mechanics; (v) our understanding of the neuromechanics of single finger movements.

I have supervised 5 PhD students and have (co-) authored over 60 papers in international scientific journals. I am serving on several editorial boards and I am a committee member of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme VENI of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Current Research

Currently my research is centered around four themes: 1) encoding muscle state and limb position by muscle sensory feedback, 2) hand and finger motor control, 3) three-dimensional tendon structure and mechanical properties, 4) effects of stroke on neuromuscular control and muscle mechanics.


I obtained a M.Sc. (1999) and Ph.D. (2003) degree in Human Movement Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. After postdoctoral fellowships at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta (USA) and Northwestern University in Chicago (USA), I returned in 2008 to the Department of Human Movement Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where I am currently an Associate Professor. I received the personal Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (2007), the personal VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (2010) and I was a PhD supervisor in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Programme Move-Age (2013-2018).

Personal news…

  • De achillespees bestaat niet, het zijn er drie

    May. 2018
    De achillespees blijkt complexer dan gedacht. Het is namelijk niet één pees, maar bestaat uit drie verschillende pezen die onafhankelijk van elkaar kunnen bewegen. Dit blijkt uit onderzoek van de VU onder leiding van onder meer bewegingswetenschapper Huub Maas.


Corporate news…

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  • Force transmission within the Achilles tendon

    The aim of this project is to investigate the distribution of deformation within the Achilles tendon and its mechanical consequences.
  • Functional implication of myofascial force transmission in hemophilia patients with severe joint damage

    The aims of this project are: (i) to assess force transmission between muscles and with non-muscular structures within the leg, (ii) to assess adaptations in neuromuscular control of hemophilia patients with severe ankle joint damage.
  • Interactions between disc degeneration and multifidus atrophy

    The aim of this project is to understand how the mechanical effects of atrophy of the multifidus muscles, as observed in patients with low-back pain, interact with those of intervertebral disc degeneration. Disc degeneration reduces spine stiffness and may impair control over spine movement. Multifidus atrophy is assumed to result from nociceptive afference from spinal ...
  • Neuromechanical responses to stroke in the rat

    The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of the changes in neural control of movement and secondary changes in skeletal muscle properties in response to a stroke.
  • Understanding hand motor control

    The aim of this project is to assess the contribution of neurophysiological and mechanical characteristics of our neuro-musculo-skeletal system to the limited independence of finger control.
  • Unravelling the etiology of muscle injuries

    The first aim of the research project is to characterize the activity of the hamstring muscles biomechanically and neurophsyiologically, during high speed running activities and injury prevention exercises. The second aim is to study muscle characteristics in athletes before and after a prevention program.



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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

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