Research

My main topic is the musculoskeletal system in spaceflight. The human body adapts to weightlessness, and space-flight participants experience bone and muscle loss, back pain, cardiovascular deconditioning, and a lot more. Most of the research is conducted together with DLR, ESA and NASA.

With a team of scientists from the UK, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland, I was recently involved in the 60-days AGBRESA bedrest study. Our experiments dealt with neuromuscular interaction. We took muscle biopsies and blood samples in addition to neurophysiological measurements such as MUNIX and the H-Reflex to study changes in bed rest and the effects of human centrifugation. I was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

In addition, ESA has recently selected our proposal for an ISS Experiment with the title “Neuromuscular electrical stimulation to enhance the exercise benefits for muscle functions during spaceflight”, that is currently in the definition phase. It will include pre-, in- and postflight experiments.


In conjunction with this topic, I am also interested in Sports Medicine, track and field performance development, performance declines in ageing and age-related adaptations of the human body to sports. Field studies at competitions, such as at international master athletics and tennis championships are great opportunities for data collection. Data-sets from publicly available annual best result lists give insights into longitudinal performance changes with age. The huge data-sets require big data skills and machine learning approaches.


In my role at Saarland University, I run Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery Research Projects that deal with injury, implant development and biomechanics. We are working on new intelligent implants for bone fracture treatment. I am also interested in wound healing, microcirculation and inflammation.


See the recordings of two conference talks I gave in London and Prague here!