CNB Workshop 2020

‘Integrative Muscle Modelling for Neuromechanics’

A one-day satellite workshop to be held Monday, August 3, 2020,  on the Georgia Tech campus,  the day before ASB2020 (

Location: Georgia Tech Campus, Kendeda Building (exact location to be confirmed)

Lead OrganizersMonica Daley (University of California, Irvine); Greg Sawicki (Georgia Institute of Technology)

It remains a fundamental challenge in muscle physiology to develop predictive models that accurately capture muscle’s response to rapid, transient and perturbed dynamics. Models used in current musculoskeletal simulations typically assume ‘Hill-type’ properties with quasi-static force-length and force-velocity characteristics. Such models do not adequately account for well-established history dependent properties. Hill-type muscle models perform best for the conditions under which the Hill-type characteristics are measuredmaximally stimulated isometric or isotonic contractions. Relatively few natural movements involve such constrained muscle dynamics.

This workshop aims to bring together scientists with shared interests in muscle physiology, muscle modelling and comparison of model predictions to experimental datasets.  The workshop will be a small, interactive, single-track event of 50-75 participants in total. Activities will include presentations and interactive brainstorming sessions to develop plans for future CNB-led initiatives to facilitate open sharing of muscle datasets, models and simulation tools.

Focus topics for discussion and brainstorming at the workshop

1) Identifying and discussing critical gaps in knowledge.

2) Encouraging collaborative partnerships to bridge these gaps.

3) Developing best practice recommendations for validation of models against datasets.

4) Brainstorming plans for an open web resource to share curated datasets, models and simulation tools.

The workshop brainstorming sessions will include facilitators to moderate discussion of specific focus topics, and to document ideas as they develop. The resulting documents will be collated and circulated to participants for feedback afterward.

As an outcome, we aim to develop a co-authored perspective article on the state of the field, ongoing challenges and best practice recommendations for standardized reporting of muscle data, and model benchmarking against curated datasets.


The Integrative Muscle Modelling for Neuromechanics workshop, organized by the Comparative Neuromuscular Biomechanics working group ( will bring to bring together scientists with shared interests in muscle physiology and muscle modelling across organizational scales from molecules to behavior. Images modified from (left to right) a) Williams et al. 2013., b) Cass et al. 2019. c) Nishikawa 2016 doi: 10.1242/jeb.124057, d) Roberts 2016., e) Nishikawa (unpublished, with permission), f) Gordon et al. 2019., g) Nuckols et al. 2020, h) Cox et al. 2019., i) Selinger et al. 2019.

Confirmed Participants

  • Monica Daley, University of California, Irvine
  • Gregory Sawicki, Georgia Tech
  • Jonas Rubenson, Penn State
  • Suzanne Cox, Penn State
  • Madhu Venkadesan, Yale
  • Craig McGowan, University of Idaho
  • Kiisa Nishikawa, Northern Arizona University
  • Brian Umberger, University of Michigan
  • Silvia Blemker, University of Virginia
  • Simon Sponberg, Georgia Tech
  • Friedl de Groote, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven
  • Lena Ting, Georgia Tech
  • Sabrina Lee, Northwestern University
  • Jenna Monroy, Claremont McKenna College
  • Manny Azizi, University of California, Irvine
  • Ton van den Bogert, Cleveland State University
  • Natalie Holt, University of California, Riverside
  • Russell Johnson, University of Southern California
  • Jeff Olberding, University of California, Irvine
  • Dean Mayfield, University of California, Irvine
  • Janneke Schwaner, University of Idaho
  • Emily Abbott, Georgia Tech
  • Laksh Punish, Georgia Tech
  • Owen Beck, Georgia Tech
  • Siwoo Jeong, Northern Arizona University
  • Caitlin Bemis, Northern Arizona University
  • Jente Willaert, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven
  • Tom Van Wouwe, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven
  • Kristen Jakubowski, Northwestern University

Virtual attendance participants:

  • Taylor Dick, University of Queensland
  • Glen Lichtwark, University of Queensland

SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 contingency plans

We recognize the uncertainty of the rapidly changing situation surrounding the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 outbreak. It is too early to know the potential impact on travel in August. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update participants of any change in plans as needed. Our plans will be tightly coupled to any changes to ASB2020, which currently remains scheduled to move forward from August 4-7th, with an extended abstract deadline of April 3rd.  In the event that ASB2020 is cancelled we will likely run a virtual workshop to conduct the proposed activities. 

To increase flexibility for attendees in the face of ongoing coronavirus concerns, we will arrange for virtual attendance via Zoom (or similar) for individuals who wish to participate but are not able to risk travel even if the in-person event proceeds as planned.