Date of Award
Master of Science
The objective of my thesis was to develop software tools for the analysis of kinematic measurements and force measurements from chick embryos. The ultimate goal behind my objective is to assist in chick embryonic studies to understand the contribution of sensory input to the development of motor circuitry. For this reason, I designed analytical tools in MATLAB software to analyze kinematic recordings and force signal recordings. Then, I applied these tools to recording of embryos whose movements have been obstructed with a force probe to test the hypothesis that embryos utilize sensory information to coordinate movements. For kinematic analyses, embryos were videotaped at embryonic day 9 (E9) and E11 and digitized for obstructed and unobstructed conditions. Results indicated that there was a significant change observed at the ankle joint in E11s in the presence of obstruction. Analysis of spatial utilization in response to the obstruction showed the adaptive behavior of E11 embryos. An additional observation is that the embryo is inclined to use new space in the presence of obstruction. However, E9 embryos did not show significant changes in spatial usage. For force measurements in these experiments, a small strain gage was used as a force probe that measures force by converting it to a voltage signal. In view of the fact that a single sensor only provided information for force produced along a line, it was necessary to use two probes aligned orthogonal to each other. The program calculated the magnitude and direction of the force applied by comparing the ratio of forces measured by the two sensors. Results indicated that the force generation is higher in E11 embryos than in E9 embryos. Overall, results indicate that E11 embryos show a greater possibility to adapt to the complexities of spatial restriction. I expect that the designed software tools hold relevance not only in our specific field of study but also in the general area of kinematic movement analysis, gait analysis, robotics, etc.
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