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Russell Kennedy received MS2Discovery Graduate Student Award - Travel Grant

Russell Kennedy is a student member of the MS2Discovery Interdisciplinary Research Institute. His research interests include perception and action coupling, biomechanical movement, human locomotion, sports vision, visual guidance of locomotion, the role of CNS (& vision) with respect to locomotion. He carries out research is in the Institute priority areas under Tecton 4 (Complex Systems, Networks, Information Theory and Algorithms), as well as under Tecton 2 (Life Sciences, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics).

Russell won a MS2Discovery Graduate Student Award that supported his travel to present his research results at the 2015 ISPGR World Congress in Seville, Spain. The Congress is a major international event organized by the International Society of Posture & Gait Research. Russell wrote in his report: "The Congress provided an opportunity to present and discuss novel findings and techniques in the field of posture and gait research. At the Congress, I presented work on a four week visual training program and its effects on balance in a group of sedentary older adults. From the Congress I received constructive criticisms — among some praise — that will help me grow as a researcher."

In December 2015, Mr. Kennedy successfully defended his master's thesis that looked at how visual information is used in conjunction with whole-body movements during a predetermined pathway walking task. To answer a series of fundamental questions, he constructed a 7.2x1.2m pathway that contained 60 rock climbing holds: participants were asked to walk on the superior surface of the rock climbing holds, moving from stone to stone while measuring gaze behaviours and kinematic data. This project combined two areas of study: the visual system and biomechanics. Already as an undergrad research assistant and volunteer, he began to develop an interest in how individuals move about the environment and what kind of information is needed to successfully navigate terrain. And now carrying onto his PhD studies, Mr. Kennedy will be looking at just that: how people control their body and what information can influence control.