Building a world-class sensorimotor facility

    Understanding basic sensory and motor function gets a major funding boost

    By Nicole Graham on March 2, 2017

    The brain primarily functions to translate incoming sensory information into efficient actions. Recording and interpreting all streams of human motor behavior, along with neural and physiological processes that control it is crucial for: understanding human motor control and cognition, designing technology to support efficient movement, and restoring abilities lost through injury or illness (eg. Stroke, amputation, spinal cord injury, etc).

    Thanks to funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation assistant professor Dr. Craig Chapman and his colleagues are poised to build a world-class facility capable of measuring sensorimotor behavior. The funding — to the tune of $227,086 — will allow Dr. Chapman and his team to acquire the equipment necessary to record and measure this behavior with unprecedented scope and accuracy.

    “Recording and measuring this data enables us to characterize normal sensorimotor processing and directly translate those findings to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with compromised function,” says Chapman.

    By creating this world-class facility, we will overcome existing methodological barriers and enhance our ability to translate basic science findings into practical use.” —Dr. Chapman

    The equipment that will be acquired for the new facility, which is yet to be named, will have a broad societal impact, most notably in health care where the research will enable faster and more targets diagnostics and therapies. The facility will also serve as an incubator for highly qualified personnel, preparing them for jobs in academia, medicine or industry.

    Dr. Chapman was among 14 UAlberta researchers who received funding through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, which was announced today at a media event with the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.