International Society of Biomechanics
Gold sponsor

Student Travel Reports

Taija’s adventures in Canada 1999
Sponsored by the ISB Student Travel Grant

On August 5th, when I looked down from an airplane to see my hometown Jyväskylä, Finland below I had 18-hour travel ahead towards Canada. After my arrival to the Calgary airport there was three additional traveling hours in a school bus that took a bunch of people to Canmore. This friendly little town, surrounded by breathtaking scenery of the Rocky Mountains, hosted the Symposium on Skeletal Muscle just prior to the ISB'99 Congress. The organizers of the symposium succeeded in inviting a great mixture of speakers from muscle physiologists to mechanical engineers to present their work on mechanisms of contraction, in vivo muscle function and theoretical models. The Bill Warren Training Centre, where the lectures took place, had a stimulating and friendly atmosphere for interaction between the world's leading experts, researchers and students. It is not every day that students can have lunch with Nobel Laureate, not to mention the opportunity for relaxed talk with Sir A.F. Huxley when walking down from crystal clear mountain lakes. Indeed, the beauty of nature caught at least my sprits making it easy to enjoy the meeting both scientifically and socially. Future meetings of this kind have my highest recommendations!

After three days in the beautiful countryside a landing to a big city does not sound very joyful but I was excited about the ISB meeting. I had done my homework by checking the internet version of the program and marked especially the muscle symposiums with red indications. Experiments utilizing advanced measuring techniques (in vivo force transducers, ultrasonography, sonomicrometry, cine-phase contrast MRI) in studying muscle mechanics brought up discussions about muscle-tendon interaction and muscle (entire compartment, fascicle, sarcomere) length changes or strain distribution in different tasks also in human subjects. Presentations concerning human locomotion, jumping especially, had also a mark in my schedule. It is fascinating to even think about the complexity of human movement in regards to interaction between neural activation, sarcomere force-length-velocity and tendinous tissue characteristics to produce the movement we can observe. My own presentation on muscle mechanics during jumping was scheduled for Monday morning. I was nervous enough even if there had not been troubles with the slide projectors. However, I was happy to get feedback of the study in the corridor discussions and also for sympathies concerning the AV-troubles from more experienced speakers.

The Congress in Calgary was the third ISB meeting for me. I will remember it as an adventurous week with good science, enthusiastic people and beautiful nature. However, I was glad the meeting did not last for two weeks since I was worn out after one, and slept all the way back to Finland, waking up only shortly for an occasional meal or change of an airplane. After two-year recovery period I will be ready for another exciting ISB meeting. See you all there again!

Best regards,

Taija Finni

Neuromuscular Research Center
Department of Biology of Physical Activity
University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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