The University of Florida Human Neuromechanics Laboratory shines at the MOBI Awards 2024 with two prestigious wins

The University of Florida’s Human Neuromechanics Laboratory, led by Dr. Daniel Ferris, is celebrating a significant achievement in mobile brain imaging. Two researchers from the lab, Chang Liu, Ph.D., and Noelle Jacobsen, Ph.D., have been honored with the prestigious Mobile Brain/Body Imaging (MoBI) Award 2024 for their contributions to the study of brain dynamics during human locomotion.

Chang Liu, a postdoctoral researcher in the Human Neuromechanics Laboratory, has been recognized for her work in understanding the intricacies of electrical brain activity during human walking. Her award-winning paper, “Electrical Brain Activity during Human Walking with Parametric Variations in Terrain Unevenness and Walking Speed,” not only explores the cortical processes involved in navigating varied terrains but also introduces the novel Compensation Related Utilization of Neural Circuits Hypothesis. This innovative research, which combines computational methods with high-density EEG, provides a unique perspective on how the brain adapts to complex walking conditions, particularly in different age groups.

Noelle Jacobsen, a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Human Neuromechanics Laboratory and now a postdoctoral research associate at Imperial College London, has also been honored with a MoBI Award for her contributions to understanding electrocortical dynamics during locomotor adaptation. Her paper, “Electrocortical Activity Correlated with Locomotor Adaptation during Split-Belt Treadmill Walking,” identifies the brain areas involved in human locomotor adaptation and provides practical insights into gait adjustments in response to changing environmental demands. Noelle’s work, which integrates high-density EEG with motion reduction techniques, has paved the way for identifying dysfunctional supraspinal mechanisms that may impair gait adaptation, offering potential solutions for improving gait in various conditions.

Ferris, the director of the Human Neuromechanics Laboratory, expressed immense pride in Chang Liu and Noelle Jacobsen’s achievements, stating, “Their dedication to advancing our understanding of brain-body interactions during locomotion exemplifies the spirit of innovation and excellence that defines our research endeavors at the University of Florida.”

The MOBI Awards, presented biennially for the best papers in mobile brain imaging research, recognized the University of Florida’s Human Neuromechanics Laboratory with two out of three awards in 2024, solidifying its position as a leader in neuroscience and biomechanics.