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Jason Franz and Collaborators Receive Major Research Instrumentation Grant from NSF

Associate Professor Jason Franz and an investigative team spanning principal investigators in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences, UNC School of Medicine, and NC State College of Engineering have received a $772k National Science Foundation Grant to revolutionize our region’s scientific and technological infrastructure for the quantitative measurement of human movement. Additional financial support was awarded from the Dean’s offices in the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Medicine, along with the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), Exercise and Sport Science (EXSS), and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

The grant will support the acquisition of a state-of-the-art high-speed biplane fluoroscopy system and the creation of a Collaborative Fluoroscopy Research Core. This will be the first such instrument available at any of the 17 UNC system campuses, and its availability has the potential to catalyze new collaborative research and educational impact. High-speed biplane fluoroscopy systems provide continuous multi-dimensional cine x-ray images at up to 1000 samples/s. This process allows direct quantification of three-dimensional bone positions, orientations, and articulating surface mechanics that are impossible to capture with even the most sophisticated imaging technologies (e.g., MRI). The instrument will allow researchers and students to measure bone motion to help with understanding how musculoskeletal mechanics and function are achieved and maintained over a mammal’s lifespan. It will also assist with establishing mechanistic links between movement biomechanics and underlying biology, identifying technological opportunities for surgical innovation, and introducing the next generation of rehabilitation robotics.


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