Leah Bent

The primary goals of my research program are 1) to understand where posture is controlled 2) to understand what sensory information contributes to successful movement and equilibrium.
By investigating these two key questions I believe we will have a better understanding of how sensory decline contributes to a loss of mobility as we age. Declines in sensory information are often replaced by other sensory modalities through compensation. Does this take place at the level of the spinal cord, or further upstream with changes in cortical plasticity? Are we able to develop facilitatory devices such as shoe insoles to improve cutaneous sensation or visual aids to enhance visual cues?
My research program involves two key areas of study:
1) To perform direct recordings from sensory afferents and motor efferents in awake human subjects to investigate sensory contributions to movement, balance control, and reflex responses.
2) To elicit balance perturbations to test the function of these reflex loops, and sensory contributions to the maintenance of equilibrium and postural control.

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