| Kathleen A. Hoffman
result of the year long immersion program at College Park in
A. Cohen's biology lab, I developed a research program in sensory
feedback in neuromechanical locomotion in collaboration with an
international multidisciplinary group of researchers focused on how
the lamprey swim.
We are concerned with developing, understanding and
analyzing components of lamprey swimming: from nerve conduction along
an axon, to muscle contraction and body dynamics to interaction with
the fluid environment. Then using those components to make the model
lamprey swim. The group is a consortium of researchers from UMCP,
Princeton, JHU, Tulane, and St. George's Medical School in London.
Based on our ongoing collaboration and yearly meetings, NSF recently
awarded us a Research Coordination Network in the Physical and Life
Sciences grant (PIs L. Fauci and A. Cohen). The grant is designed
to support communication and coordination of our research efforts
across disciplinary, organizational, institutional and geographical
boundaries. As part of this multi-institution effort, I am chairing
the organizing committee (consisting of myself, N. Cowen (JHU) and
A. Smits (Princeton)) of the first annual Winter Workshop on
Neuromechanical Locomotion at Princeton University, January 2012. The
grant will also facilitate travel to conferences, extended visits, and
interdisciplinary collaborations for ourselves and our students to
interact with other members of the community. The group listed above
serves as a steering committee and is tasked with
distribution of funds.
My focus on this project was to understand sensory input into the
central pattern generator, which consists of a group of neurons in the
spinal cord that control vertebrate locomotion. This work has been
funded by an NSF grant for interdisciplinary work in the mathematical
sciences, as well as an REU
supplement for my student Geoff Clapp.
To date, I have three major contributions to the field of