Current PhDs

As one of the leading institutes in the field of Human Movement Sciences, we conduct highly ambitious and innovative research projects. Our PhD students receive scientific and technical training from senior researchers, and are expected to become world leading scientists in their field. We see intensive guidance, and participation in a highly motivated multidisciplinary team as a key element to their success.

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Florian Abu Bakar

Florian has obtained an NWO grant for teachers to study variability of trunk movement in patients with low-back pain. He investigates whether a subgroup of patients who show stereotypical trunk movements can be identified and whether increasing movement variabilty in this subgourp affects clinical outcomes.

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Leila Alizadehsaravi

Leila seeks to improve diagnostics and interventions for balance problems. She assesses biomechanical, psychological and neural determinants of 'good' balance as a function of age.

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Jeanine van Ancum

Jeanine's research focus is on healthy ageing and the importance of physical activity. Part of her research is on PreventIT, a lifestyle intervention programme to prevent functional decline in young older adults.

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Remco Baggen

In collaboration with the KU Leuven where he is based, Remco studies how functional exrecises can be optimized to achieve gains in muscle strength in older women. He uses EMG to assess to what extent muscles can be sufficiently loaded by different exercises and has conducted a clincial trial to assess the step training that was developed based his insights.

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Saskia Baltrusch

As part of the EU funded Spexor project, Saskia studies the usability of newly developed exoskeletons to support the trunk. She aims to understand how the interaction with these devices can be optimized to prevent unwanted side-effects such as increased metabolic costs and discomfort.

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Esther van Benten

The aetiology of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy remains largely unclear. Esther investigates the development of these symptoms from a biomedical and psychosocial perspective. Her research combines qualitative studies in patients and health care professionals, with a quantitative study amongst pregnant women.

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Rogier de Best

Although only in very rare occasions, manual therapy management of patients with neck pain and headache may be associated with serious adverse events. The IFOMPT framework is developed to prevent or minimise this. Rogier investigates the inter-tester reliability and validity of the IFOMPT framework among manual therapists.

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Lisette Bijker

Psychosocial factors influence the prognosis of patients with spinal pain. Lisette develops an e-health intervention targeting these psychosocial factors via pain education and behavioural activation. She conducts a multi-centre clinical trial to assess the additional value of this e-health intervention when combined with physiotherapy.

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Ilse Blokland

Ilse studies the importance of physical fitness for functioning in daily life after stroke. Her primary host is Heliomare rehabilitation, Wijk aan Zee.

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Carlos Cruz-Montecinos

Carlos investigates the mechanical properties of muscle and connective tissues in patients with haemophilic arthropathy, as well as the adaptions in the neural control of gait to the reduced range of ankle and knee joint motion.

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Bas Fransen

Bas studies innovations in knee arthroplasty and their effects on functional outcomes. His focus is on the application of sophisticated sensors and algorithms to assess quality of walking in the daily practice of orthopaedic surgery.

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Duncan Fransz

Duncan investigates single leg balance performance after drop landing in athletes. He aims to find outcome measures that best reflect dynamic balance and are predictive for performance and injury risk.

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EriK van den Graaff

In the project “Fastball” Erik works on optimizing the baseball pitch. What is a perfect pitch and how to train a perfect pitch technique? Starting point for his analysis is the so-called kinematic chain concept: a perfect throw requires optimal timing of intersegmental motion.

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Mariette Griffioen

In the TTW funded project QDISC, Mariette studies trunk stabilization in low-back pain patients. Next to contributing to method development, she studies differences in trunk mechanical propeties and trunk muscle spindle reflexes between controls and patients, the latter over the course of treatment.

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Mohamed el Hadouchi

Funded by an NWO grant for teachers, Mohamed studies to what extent training of muscle power in older adults can contribute to enhancing physical function. He develops methods to assess and train muscle power within clinical practice and compares the outcomes to conventional training methods.

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Robert Jan Hillen

Clavicular fractures are regularly conservatively treated, which sometimes leads to considerable clavicular shortening. Robert Jan seeks to predict the effect of shortening on function and strength and to advice how and when to treat a clavicular fracture operatively or conservatively.

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Norman D'Hondt

Norman studies how individuals adapt their movement behaviour to shoulder pain. Part of his research project has been done in collaboration with the lab for Motor Control and Pain Research at The University of Queensland. His work is funded by the NWO with a Doctoral Grant for Teachers.

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Wolbert van den Hoorn

In a collaborative project with the University of Queensland, Wolbert studies novel methods to obtain more insights in the effects of pain and aging on control of posture and gait. He uses synergy analysis and non-linear measures of postural sway to characterize muscle activity and resulting kinematics.

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Arnold Huurnink

Arnold aims to assess the utility of single leg stance balance testing for monitoring performance and injury status in athletes. His focus is on selection of outcome measures with optimal reliability and validity.

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RonY Ibrahim

Rony investigates explosive actions in sports. He specifically focusses on the drag push in field hockey and the diving save of goal keepers in football. Understanding the biomechanics of these actions may help to improve performance.

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Jian Jin

Jian studies the stability of gait. In order to unravel at which phase of the gait cycle stability is jeopardized, he develops phase dependent stability measures using passive walker models.

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Niels Jonkergouw

Niels studies the influence of prosthetic alignment changes on amputee’s gait and bone movement within a prosthetic socket. He investigates the possible use of knee and hip moments as well as socket moments and couples to optimize prosthetic functioning.

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Nick Kluft

Nick investigates the alignment of the perceived and actual physical ability in older adults, and how this affects their movement behaviour in terms of stepping, normal gait, and responses to gait perturbations

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Axel Koopman

As part of the EU funded Spexor project, Axel investigates how newly developed exoskeletons affect mechanical loads on the body during manual lifting. He aims to understand how humans interact with these devices and how this affects kinematics and forces at the lumbar spine.

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Maaike Kragting

Virtual reality is rapidly gaining interest, also in physiotherapy. Maaike investigates how virtual reality can be utilised effectively in a primary care setting in patients with neck pain. She also studies whether virtual reality might be more beneficial for patients with fear of movement.

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Ton Leenen

Ton’s project is part of the Citius Altius Sanius program on injury prevention in sport. He focusses on the usability of sensory systems when returning to sport in case of upper extremity injuries in elite youth tennis players and baseball players, in close cooperation with physical therapists.

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Moira van Leeuwen

Moira studies when and how active control ensures a stable gait pattern. She assesses phase-dependent muscle variations, movement strategies and corticomuscular coherence in relation to stability measures.

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Carolina Ling

Carolina’s research interest is sarcopenia in the oldest old population. Her studies focus on the methods of muscle mass measurements, the pathophysiology and determinants of muscle strength, and the clinical and prognostic values of strength measurements.

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Stéphanie Looijaard

Stéphanie investigates the influence of physical parameters in geriatric oncology. She studies whether low muscle mass and muscle quality increase the risk of complications after surgery and during chemotherapy treatment in older patients.

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Ivo Lutke Schipholt

The immune system is an important player in pain. Ivo investigates various inflammatory markers in the blood and spinal cord in patients with persistent neck pain. He investigates via blood analyses and PET-CT scans whether manual therapy and physiotherapy can positively influence these immune responses.

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Rina Magnani

Rina studies the role of the vestibular system in maintaining stability of gait. She uses galvanic vestibular stimulation to understand the role of vestibular input in maintaining stability while walking.

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Mohammad Mahaki

Mohammed studies the control of gait stability. He is particularly interested in the metabolic cost of maintaining gait stabalility, and in differences in control of gait stability between walking and running.

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Nauzef Mahmood

Nauzef develops adaptive head and trunk supports (exoskeletons) for patients with diseases such as Duchenne Muscle Dystrophy. He aims to understand how such devices could enhance daily function in these patients.

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Encarna Mico Amigo

Encarna investigates gait patterns in patients with Parkinson’s disease, She extracts gait features from a single inertial sensor worn at the waist. Her aim is to find markers of early  gait changes and markers progression of the disease.

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Arjen Mol

Arjan tries to unravel the relationship between hemodynamics during postural changes and physical performance in older adults, focusing especially on orthostatic hypotension, a blood pressure drop after standing up. His goal is to find the physical consequences of this disorder and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms in order to develop targeted interventions.

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Julia Noorduyn

Knee disorders due to a meniscal tear can be managed with physiotherapy rather than surgery in 70% of patients. Julia investigates whether these two interventions result in different rates of serious knee osteoarthritis. She also develops a statistical prediction model to identify in advance who will benefit from physiotherapy.

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Ben van Oeveren

Ben develops algorithms to provide feedback to runners on their runnig technique, based on data obtained with wearable sensors. The overall aim is to enhance performance and to reduce injury risk, such that running can contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle.

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Arjun Paudyal

Arjun studies the immediate and chronic effects of stroke on skeletal muscle and on the neuromechanics of locomotion. For this purpose, a photothrombotic stroke model to mimic the effects of an ischemic stroke in the motor cortex of rats is used.

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Laura Peeters

Laura investigates the relation between trunk and arm movements in patients with neuromuscular diseases such as Duchenne Muscle Dystrophy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She aims to understand compensatory motions, in order to facilitate development of assistive devices.

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Sabrine Pekaric-Klerx

Recurrent low back pain is associated with maladaptive changes in the central nervous system. Sabrine investigates which clinical tests correlate with these changes in the brain. Furthermore, she studies which specific interventions may reverse these maladaptive changes.

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Maarten Prins

Maarten studies altered movement patterns as seen in low back pain. He assesses different strategies that may cause the observed movement patterns in low back pain, among which splinting behavior.

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Ronald Reezigt

Although manual therapy has shown to be effective, its working mechanism is still largely unclear. Roland investigates to what extent central pain modulation is altered in patients with persistent neck pain and whether manual therapy has a positive influence on these mechanisms.

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Markus Rieger

Markus develops a perturbation-based fall prevention training programme to reduce fall risk in the elderly. He  perturbs the walking pattern to induce motor learning by training reactive response to a balance loss following a trip or slip.

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Anna Rojer

Anna investigates the association between instrumented physical activity, malnutrition and health related outcome measures in older adults.

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Kira Scheerman

Kira concentrates on changes in muscle parameters during hospitalization, the impact of interventions, and factors influencing physical activity (promotion) behavior of both patients and professionals.

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Eva Sierra-Silvestre

Neuropathies are among the most important complications in people with diabetes. Eva investigates the (dys)function of small and large diameter nerve fibres, neuromechanics and morphological changes of peripheral nerves. She also investigates whether physiotherapy can reduce pain in patients with painful diabetic neuropathies.

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Lucas Simieli

Lucas studies gait initiation with and without stepping down or over an obstacle, to unravel differences in anticipatory postural adjustments between these conditions in healthy young and older adults and in patients with Parkinson's disease.

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Marije Sleijser-Koehorst

Marije focuses on primary care patients with cervical radiculopathy. She aims to determine important factors for diagnosis and prognosis and to investigate immune responses to physical therapy treatment.

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Ali Tabasi

Ali studies the control of actuated exoskeletons that aim to support workers during manual work. His goal is to understand how selection of input signals and control modes can be optimized to reduce mechanical risk factors for low back pain.

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Tom Vredeveld

Low back pain and urinary tract symptoms often coexist in men due to changes in movement patterns, habits, lifestyle and psychological factors, such as stress and fatigue due to interrupted sleep. Tom investigates the diagnosis and multidisciplinary management of these combined disorders.

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Roel Weijer

Roel studies the effects of over- and underestimation of gait performance on fall risk and physical activity in a large cohort of community-dwelling older people.

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Meta WildenBeest

Meta has obtained an NWO grant for teachers to study how trunk motor control changes with low back pain. Her project assesses the theory that changes in trunk motor control with low-back pain are based on re-optimzation of motor control based on a re-weighting of movement related costs, as a result of experiencing pain. Specifically, the influence of (the threat of) pain and the threat of loosing control over trunk motion as potential drivers of changes in motor contro are studied.

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STijn Willems

Although the majority of patients improve following lumbar micro-discectomy, an important minority continues to have significant low back pain. Stijn investigates the impact of biomedical factors on recovery. These biomedical factors in isolation may not be adequate predictors, and psychosocial factors are also be considered.

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Suey Yeung

Suey examines the effect of nutrition and physical activity in counteracting sarcopenia among geriatric outpatients. Her work is a EU-funded project under the PANINI training network.

Research spirit

 

Excellent Skills

 

Exciting projects

 

High motivation

 

Get In Touch.

If you want to learn more about the work of our current PhDs, meet them on campus or at one of our top events. If you are also interested in a scientific work in Neuromechanics at the VU University of Amsterdam, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!