Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago. I call my lab the Biomechanics and Clinical Outcomes (BaCOs) lab. I am also the Associate Director of Education and Professional Development for the UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science.
Harvard University, SB Engineering Sciences (Biomedical)
University of Illinois at Chicago, MD, PhD (Bioengineering)
Postdoctoral work at Rush University in Orthopedic Surgery
Specific Area of Interest:
Using gait mechanics and other biomechanical tools to predict, understand, and improve clinical outcomes of osteoarthritis and arthroplasty patients
What are you currently working on?
We have two major lines of work at the moment. First, we’re working to understand the relationship between abnormal gait mechanics and walking energetics and how this relates to physical activity limitations in hip and knee osteoarthritis. Physical activity and exercise are important for maintenance of function in OA, promote pain relief, and promote general healthy aging including having cognitive benefits. Most people with OA are not sufficiently active and joint replacement does not necessarily restore or improve physical activity. I spent a lot of time during the first part of my career characterizing abnormal gait mechanics in OA and joint replacement, and now I’m interested in some of these “so what” questions including this question of whether abnormal gait impacts how active people with OA can be.
Second, we’re also interested in falls in older adults, particularly those with osteoarthritis and joint replacements. We want to again use biomechanics to help understand the elevated risk of falls in these populations and to intervene to reduce their fall risk. A lot of information has been generated from large cohort studies like the OAI, but I think this is a good time to take a closer look at some biomechanical mechanisms underlying falls and fall recovery in this population. We’re also doing a mixed methods study, that will ultimately inform our biomechanical work, to dig into causes and consequences of falls in osteoarthritis.
When I’m wearing my professional development hat, I work on coaching and mentoring of postdocs and junior faculty, particularly around grant writing and manuscript writing. I am beginning to get into planning some mid-career mentoring and professional development activities, as mentoring often falls off a cliff once you enter that phase of your career.
What has been the biggest challenge/issue for you lately in your research?
In addition to the major projects, I have some super exciting collaborations that are in the works. As the scope of my research expands, I confess that I find it a little challenging to make sure everything is moving forward as I delve into new areas.
What project(s) are you looking forward to in the near future?
Speaking of new collaborations, I have a pilot study starting up this fall regarding lower limb amputation with Dr. Lindsay Slater, a new faculty member in my college. In addition to studying gait biomechanics, we’ll be doing some muscle quality work which will be new to me and really exciting.
When not in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
When there is not a pandemic I play roller derby.
What was the last book you read for fun? Would you recommend it?
I’m reading a short story collection called The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans. It’s a good summer read, without being too floofy. I would recommend it.
Follow Dr. Foucher on Twitter: @KharmaMDPhD
Watch the video interview with Dr. Foucher.