Congratulations to SBME’s Dr. Calvin Kuo for receiving funding from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2023 Exploration competition for The Role of Risk-Taking and Exploration in Motor Learning for Children. Grants were awarded to research teams undertaking research that defies current paradigms, brings disciplines together in unexpected and innovative ways, and has potential to be disruptive or deliver game-changing impacts. Co-applicants on the grant are Dr. Manu Mahdav from the School of Biomedical Engineering,  Dr. Jill Zwicker from Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy / BC Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jean-Sébastien Blouin from Kinesiology and Mariana Brussoni from the School of Population and Public Health.

The research aims to understand how motor learning is affected in children with developmental coordination disorder, which affects which affects an estimated 400,000 school aged children. “We are thrilled to receive funding for this project. The findings from this research will provide the  early diagnostic tool for DCD that relies on observations of the motor learning process.”  Dr. Calvin Kuo explains.

The research team will study motor learning using a reinforcement learning paradigm which is characterized by a trade-off between exploitation of learned movements and exploration of new sensorimotor associations.The research will broadly illuminate behavioral mechanisms of motor learning that suggest controlled risk-taking as an intervention to promote motor learning and recovery and investigate sex effects on sensorimotor learning.