Title:

Assistant Professor

Office Information:

144 MacNider Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
UNC Chapel Hill
(919) 966-0510

4402C Engineering Building III
Raleigh, NC, 27695
NC State University

Education:

PhD, Pennsylvania State University

Email:

xiaogang@unc.edu, xhu13@ncsu.edu

Lab Site:

http://hulab.bme.unc.edu/

Research and Publications:

Rehabilitation Engineering, Biomedical Imaging
Research Interests: Neural Disorders and Neural Rehabilitation
Research:
Our Research focuses on the control and neuromechanical properties of the upper extremity after a central or a peripheral injury, such as a stroke or an amputation. Specifically, we focus on the following three research topics regarding the upper extremity neuromuscular system: the neural aspect, the mechanical aspect, and the applied aspect with a focus on rehabilitation.

Neural aspect (Muscle activation patterns)
We use high-density grid electrodes to estimate the muscle activation patterns (including gross muscle activation and individual motor unit activation), across muscles groups and across compartments of a muscle.

We develop different electrical stimulation techniques to understand muscle activation through reflex or direct motor nerve activation. We also develop multi-modal sensing and feedback mechanisms that can influence the control of muscle activation or the control of robotic devices.

Mechanical aspect (mechanics of joint and muscle)
We use mechanical perturbations to probe the overall stiffness properties of the joint and the muscle-tendon unit. In addition, we use different tissue imaging techniques (e.g., Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance elastography) to quantify detailed tissue structural properties of the muscle and the tendon.

Rehabilitation
Based on the grid electrode techniques, we use robotic assistance combined with electrical stimulation to improve upper extremity function, including reaching, grasping, and object manipulations, in stroke survivors.
We also develop different closed-loop control schemes of prosthetic arms, in order to realize intuitive and robust control under various task and environmental constraints.

Publications