A recent research retreat event connected over 35 participants from the Department of Biomechanics and the College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) in hopes of creating more research collaborations.
During the Sept. 20 event, participants spent the morning viewing presentations on current collaborative projects, and faculty had the opportunity to showcase their own research. Lunch and networking followed, allowing faculty to discuss future collaborations.
Biomechanics' Dr. Brian Knarr presented with faculty from the Department of Computer Science on current research projects. A collaboration between Dr. Knarr and Dr. Jon Youn, computer science professor, is exploring new possibilities to improve patient-specific rehabilitation outcomes following total knee replacement surgery.
Wearable sensors created by Dr. Youn’s team allow Dr. Knarr's team to collect and analyze movement data outside of the laboratory, tracking patients at home or in rural areas. By following recovery in patients’ daily lives, the team will develop a model to better guide clinicians toward more informed, individualized rehabilitation approaches.
Dr. Knarr also presented with Dr. Brian Ricks, assistant professor of computer science, on research components helping stroke recovery patients: an affordable and accessible upper arm rehabilitation tool and gaming-style VR environment, which will eventually work together to create a customized experience for stroke recovery patients.
Biomechanics' Dr. Vivien Marmelat and Dr. Hesham Ali, dean of the College of IS&T, are collaborating on a project focused on daily activity in people with Parkinson’s disease.
"Dr. Ali applies tools such as machine learning and network graphs to analyze data collected in our team," explained Dr. Marmelat. "This collaboration is extremely valuable and helpful, as we can provide data they do not have, and they provide sophisticated tools and analysis we do not know about."
These collaborations increase our ability to compete for grants, as expertise across multiple disciplines allows us to propose more novel research than we could independently.
- Dr. Brian Knarr
Organizers hope by launching more collaborative projects between faculty researchers, access to external funding will increase, and students will gain the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary academic experiences.
"These collaborations increase our ability to compete for grants, as expertise across multiple disciplines allows us to propose more novel research than we could independently," explained Dr. Knarr. "Students working on these interdisciplinary projects benefit a great deal, and they gain exposure to new disciplines and ways of solving problems, as well as valuable experience working on interdisciplinary groups."
"It was exciting to host the Biomechanics department at our college, and create new opportunities for us to partner and help influence the future of our interdisciplinary programs," Hesham Ali, dean of the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Information Science and Technology, said. "Through innovative research and our truly collaborative campus, UNO has amazing opportunities on the horizon. I hope that this meeting is just the first of many to take place between our two entities."