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Ilse Jonkers


Ilse Jonkers received a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at KULeuven, in 2000. After a postdoctoral research period at KU Leuven and Stanford University, she is associated professor at the Department Biomedical Kinesiology of KU Leuven, Belgium. Ilse is currently the head of the research unit on human movement biomechanics. The aim of my research activities is to further the understanding of the neuromuscular constraints of gross motor function and relate gross motor function, joint and tissue loading to musculoskeletal adaptation. These insights are essential to provide fundamental insights to optimize rehabilitation strategies and surgical interventions. Main methodologies are 3D motion analysis, personalized musculoskeletal modeling and multi-body simulation. My research has a very strong multidisciplinary footprint, bridging between biomedical engineering, rehabilitation and human movement science as well as medicine. I am a strong believer that innovation in science requires multidisciplinary collaboration.

Abstract of this year's Bauman lecture:

‘In silico’- Informed treatment plans for gait remediation: Facts or Fiction?
For long, physical therapy was considered more ‘art’ than ‘science’.
The introduction of ‘evidence-based practice’ has allowed physical therapy to move up the ladder of scientific disciplines and strengthen its authority by providing evidence of treatment effects. Technological developments, such as integrated three-dimensional motion analysis that allow an objective description of movement disorders, were indispensible in this process. Many studies are now available that provide evidence on treatment effects in specific patient groups, with selective recruitment often being the major confounding factor. More recently, advanced statistical analyses tools are applied allowing cluster analyses of patients to define optimal treatment paths. During the past decade, engineering methodologies have been introduced to assist in the study of human gait. The use of musculoskeletal modeling and dynamic simulations of motion have been put forward as unique methods to define causal relationships between muscle action, musculoskeletal structure and the resulting movement disorder. In combination with finite element analyses, the relation between motion and musculoskeletal and tissue loading can be explored. Recently, the incorporation of subject-specific detail in musculoskeletal models is heavily promoted and medical-imaging based musculoskeletal modeling pipelines have been developed. Furthermore, incorporation of neural control algorithms that account for altered control strategies in patients suffering from neural deficits, are under development. However, at the moment, insights gained from the simulation environment are only to a limited extent, if at all, incorporated into physical therapy treatment plans. This in contrast to orthopedic applications e.g. development of total joint prostheses and navigation-assisted surgery, where the use of simulation methodology is now becoming part of the surgical planning- workflow.
This presentation will try to unravel why the field of physical therapy is, once more, lagging behind: On the one hand, this keynote lecture will show that insights gained from simulations are relevant to further the development of physical therapy practice. On the other hand, this keynote lecture will show that the ‘burning’ questions of physical therapists often go beyond the capabilities of current simulation methodologies.
Therefore, the major purpose of this presentation is not to present ground breaking, innovative scientific insights gained from musculoskeletal modeling and dynamic simulations. It is above all meant as a platform to facilitate multidisciplinary discussions on how to develop simulation methodology so that ‘in silico’-based insights can be generated that are considered relevant to the field of physical therapy.
After all… the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

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