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Research Profile: Oliver Blake, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology

November 15, 2011
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Oliver Blake understands and explores the limits of the human body on a professional and a personal level. For his master's thesis, he studied muscular coordination in cycling, and spent a semester in Europe investigating injuries in the Alpine Skiing World Cup.

He says, "Sharing ideas and learning from others has been an exciting highlight and essential component of my research in Dr. James Wakeling’s Neuromuscular Mechanics Laboratory. I was able to work with Dr. Yvan Champoux of Sherbrooke University, a leading engineer in bicycling research in Canada, to successfully measure muscle coordination during cycling for my Master’s thesis."

He adds, "I was also fortunate to work with Dr. Erich Müller, the Director of the Department of Sport Science and Kinesiology at the University of Salzburg. This past summer I travelled back to Europe to present my findings and meet researchers from around the world at the International Society of Biomechanics Congress and the European College of Sports Science Conference."

Physical limits have influenced him personally, as well. When his mother was unable to fulfill her dreams due to multiple sclerosis, he founded the Rise Above Barriers Society to get her to the base camp of Mount Everest in 2008. Subsequently, he helped his family found the Race4MS project to raise awareness and money for the MS Society of Canada. The project raised over $100,000 in its first year. 

He's just begun his PhD research in Dr. Wakeling's lab, and the goal of his PhD research is to develop a system to quantify muscle coordination and use this system to purposefully alter the muscle coordination by providing real-time biofeedback during movements. This fundamental research will further the understanding of central nervous system control of human muscles and has important applications to the assessment of human mobility, medical rehabilitation and sport performance.

It's research which has enormous personal implications for him, and we're looking forward to news of his future accomplishments.

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