Karl Zelik, PhD

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


Biomechanics of legged locomotion, lower-limb prosthetics, assistive technology, dynamic walking principles, neural control, human-device interfaces, mobility, rehabilitation engineering

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2012
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007
B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2006

Research Description

The Biomechanics & Assistive Technology laboratory performs experimental and computational research on human locomotion by combining techniques from engineering, biomechanics, bio-signal analysis and neural control of movement. The mission of our lab is to (1) gain a deeper understanding of mechanisms underlying legged locomotion, and (2) develop devices that better interface with and augment human movement, in order to improve mobility and quality of life for individuals with locomotor impairments. In effect, we study how humans move and why we move the way that we do, then use these biological insights to motivate advances in assistive and rehabilitative technology. To study human movement we use state-of-the-art measurement equipment, including an infrared motion capture system, force-instrumented treadmill, portable respirometry system and electromyographic (muscle activity) sensors. We develop new experimental approaches for assessing human mobility, and also perform computational simulations to better elucidate fundamental principles underlying locomotion. The goal is to translate our neuromechanical understanding of locomotion to improvements in the design and control of assistive technologies such as lower-limb prostheses. This interdisciplinary research is performed in collaboration with both local and international engineering and clinical partners.


Link to Professor Zelik's Publications

Contact Info

329 Olin Hall


Lab Webpage