Research

My research ranges from basic research on musculoskeletal changes in microgravity, to surgery in spaceflight, immobilisation and fracture healing, to clinical research in orthopaedic trauma surgery.

With my team at Saarland University, I run Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery Research Projects that deal with injury, implant development, fracture healing and biomechanics. We develop new intelligent or smart implants for bone fracture treatment. I am also interested in wound healing, microcirculation and inflammation, as well as in the physiology of trauma.

Apart from this, my main research focus is the musculoskeletal system in spaceflight. 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 had experiments in the 60-days AGBRESA bedrest study. Our research dealt with neuromuscular interaction, e.g., 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, in 2019 ESA has 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 on 16 astronauts. In 2021, ESA selected our proposal for muscle and joint cartilage research on over-winterers in Antarctica’s Concordia Station. I am the PI of a team of 5 international scientists. We look forward to the project and to travelling to Concordia station!

I am also interested in Sports Medicine, physical performance development, performance declines in ageing and age-related adaptations of the human body to exercise. Field studies at internationl championships are great opportunities for data collection. Datasets 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.

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