My research deals with the musculoskeletal system in spaceflight, immobilisation and ageing. Several students are involved in the projects and I work with many international collaborators.
The 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. I work on bone adaptation, changes of skeletal muscle tissue in unloading and microgravity as well as on Space Adaptation Back Pain and the question what happens while astronauts grow by about 5 cm in weightlessness. Most of the research is conducted in bedrest-studies together with DLR, ESA and NASA.
With a team of scientists from the UK, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland, I am currently involved in the 60-days AGBRESA bedrest study. Our experiments deal with neuromuscular interaction. We take muscle biopsies and blood samples in addition to neurophysiological measurements such as MUNIX and the H-Reflex to study changes in bedrest and the effects of human centrifugation. I am funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
In Addition, I am interested in master athletics, performance declines with age 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. Furthermore, data sets from publicly available annual best result lists give insights into longitudinal performance changes with age. For master athletics research, I have a START grant of the Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University and a PhD student.
Together with my surgical colleagues at RWTH Aachen University Hospital, I am running Orthopaedic Surgery Research Projects that deal with injury, wound healing, microcirculation and inflammation.