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Interdisciplinary Movement Sciences Laboratory (IMSL)

Director: Dr. Margaret Schenkman (Director, IMSL Steering Committee) 

The IMSL is an interdisciplinary research laboratory that specializes in rehabilitation science and human movement research. An AEF grant awarded to Dr. Margaret Schenkman (IMSL Director) from the UC Denver School of Medicine in 2008 supported the development of shared research space to facilitate long-term collaborations and training opportunities in the field of Rehabilitation Science. The IMSL is shared by researchers from multiple Departments at UC Denver, with existing collaborative relationships among faculty in the Physical Therapy Program, Bioengineering Division of Orthopaedics, Center for Gait and Movement Analysis (CGMA), Division of Geriatrics, Integrative Medicine, Neurology, Endocrinology, and Internal Medicine.  Use of IMSL resources is open to all School of Medicine faculty on a fee-for-service basis.  Requests for support of new research protocols will be reviewed on an ongoing basis by the IMSL Steering Committee.  



Improving Function with Weight-Bearing Biofeedback

The major goals of this study are to determine the effects of a weight-bearing biofeedback intervention on functional weight bearing asymmetry during sit to stand transitions, gait, and stair climbing as well as on functional performance and strength recovery following total knee arthroplasty.





Functional and rehabilitative outcomes after transtibial osteomyoplastic amputation
Cory Christiansen, PT, PhD; Jeremy Smith, PhD; David Hahn, MD; Gary Heise, PhD

Transtibial osteomyoplastic amputation, commonly referred to as the “Ertl” technique, is designed to improve the regenerative process of the residual limb by improved surgical remodeling of the amputation site. Although the effects of transtibial osteomyoplastic amputation on wound healing and tissue recovery have been described in research literature, there are no data related to functional outcomes following this type of amputation. The goal of this study is to determine whether a group of people having transtibial osteomyoplastic amputation have improved functional outcomes and strength compared to a group of people having more commonly used posterior flap technique amputation.



Biomechanics and lumbar muscle activation during spinal manipulative therapy
Bradley Davidson, PhD; Brian Enebo, DC, PhD

Chronic low back pain due to repetitive motions is often classified as a cumulative trauma disorder (CTD). However, despite many investigations addressing low back pain and CTD, the etiology of mechanisms remains elusive. Recent work using animal specimens has provided some insight into the interaction of passive tissues and reflexive muscle activity, characterized as neuromuscular neutral zones (NNZs). The objective of this project is to establish reliable methods of measuring NNZs in the lumbar spine of human subjects and use these measures to characterize spinal stability.



Biomechanical assessment of unloading capacity in ankle foot orthoses
Deborah Saint-Phard, MD; Bradley Davidson, PhD; Cory Christiansen, PT, PhD

A common occurrence when treating patients with stress fractures located below the knee is insufficient healing. An attempt to partially unload the affected area by immobilizing the affected leg with an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is common in clinical practice . However, clinical observations indicate that certain non-traditional AFOs may be more effective to promote healing. The goal of this project is to estimate the amount of unloading provided by three types of AFOs during functional tasks such as quiet stance and normal ambulation.

Lab Managers (left to right):

Dr. Bradley Davidson and Dr. Cory Christiansen


Steering Committee
Lab Managers
Affiliated Departments/Programs and Investigators

The IMSL is housed in 1725 sq ft of research space in Bldg 500 on the Anschutz Medical Campus.


Movement Analysis

Delsys Portable EMG monitor (x2)
Triaxial Accelerometer (x5)
Bertec1040 Force Platform (x2)
Optitrack Motion Capture System
Custom devices for measurement of spine & knee kinetics

Data Collection/Analysis

National Instruments DAQ
Data collection/analysis software
Laptop PC for field data collection
Desktop PC for lab data collection


Kincom Dynamometer
Electronics bench & tools
Clinical rehab equipment
Digitimer stimulator

Laboratory Equipment:

The Interdisciplinary Movement Science Lab is fully equipped to measure human movement in both the laboratory and community settings:

An 8-camera Vicon Motion Analysis System and 2 Bertec force platforms embedded in a 12 m walkway provide kinetic and kinematic measures of human gait and other functional movements such as sitting, squatting, reaching, and jumping. Quantitative biomechanical models specific to the desired application can be developed using Vicon and Matlab analysis software.

Two 8-channel Delsys monitors provide electromyographic (EMG) measures of muscle activation. EMG data can be collected using telemetry or datalogger methods to facilitate wireless monitoring of muscle activity in the laboratory or community settings. Delsys monitors can also be used to collect other physiologic measures of physical activity including heart rate, respiration, limb acceleration, and step counts.

A Kincom isokinetic dynamometer provides force, velocity, and acceleration measures of single-plane dynamic limb movements. A variety of joints can be assessed including the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle. Custom equipment for the assessment of spine kinetics is also available.

A variety of clinical rehabilitation equipment including a treadmill, upper extremity ergometer, stationary bicycle, and exercise plinths are available for clinical research.



IMSL equipment and resources are available to School of Medicine faculty and students on a fee for service basis. IMSL services include:

• Consultation regarding experimental design and analysis for human movement studies

• Review of proposals using IMSL resources

• Assistance with preparation of IMSL aspects of COMIRB protocols

• Training in the use of IMSL equipment

• Scheduled use of IMSL facilities and equipment

• Assistance with data collection and analysis

To request the support of IMSL resources, submit an IMSL Project Use Application to The application will be reviewed by the IMSL Steering Committee, and fees will be negotiated with the PI according to individual project needs.

The IMSL is a shared resource supported by grant funds from affiliated investigators. Limited support is available for pilot research projects that are not currently funded. It is expected that any pilot data collected with IMSL support will be used to apply for grant funding to support the continued use of IMSL resources after the pilot period has ended.


For more information, contact:

Cory Christiansen

303 724-9101


For more information about the application and review process please see the IMSL Application Process


Lab Address:

Anschutz Medical Campus
Bldg 500, Rm EG304
13001 E. 17th Place         
Aurora, CO 80045
303-724-6035 Office
303-724-0863 Fax 

MAP and DIRECTIONS to find the ANP Lab on the Anschutz Medical Campus