Personal profile


The overall objective of my research is to unravel the complex interactions between the musculoskeletal and neural systems during movement. For this purpose, both animal and human models are exploited. It has been my unique focus to study the mechanics of skeletal muscles, not in isolation but in their in vivo context.


  • Force transmission within the Achilles tendon. The aim is to assess to what extent the subtendons arising from each of the three triceps surae muscles act independently.
    - Collaborators: Prof. T. Finni (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Prof. H.R.C. Screen (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
  • Neuromechanical responses to stroke in the rat. This project is funded by the European Commission through MOVE-AGE, an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program. The goal is to improve our understanding of the changes in neural control of movement and secondary changes in skeletal muscle properties in response to a stroke.
    - PhD student: Arjun Paudyal
    - Collaborators: Prof. G. Kwakkel, Dr. E.E.H. van Wegen, Dr. C.G.M. Meskers (VU University Medical Center Amsterdam), Prof. H. Degens, Prof. M. Slevin (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
  • Understanding hand motor control.This project is funded by the European Commission through MOVE-AGE, an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program. The aim of this project is to assess the contribution of neurophysiological and mechanical characteristics of our neuro-musculo-skeletal system to the limited independence of finger control.
    - PhD students: Nathalie van Beek, Mojtaba Mirakhorlo, Sigrid Dupan
    - Collaborators: Dr. I. Jonkers (KU Leuven, Belgium), Prof. C.L. de Korte, Prof. D.F. Stegeman (Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center), Prof. H.E.J. Veeger (Delft University)
  • Neuromuscular effects of muscle connectivity during locomotion. This VIDI project is funded by the Division for Earth and Life Sciences of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. The objective is to investigate the importance of epimuscular myofascial force transmission and its consequences for the neuromechanics of movement.
    - PhD students: Chris Tijs (graduated 2016), Michel Bernabei (graduated 2017)
    - Collaborators: Drs. T.G. Sandercock (Northwestern University), Prof. T.C. Cope (Wright State University), Prof. J.H. van Dieën (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Enhancing surgical muscle lengthening for children with cerebral palsy as an intervention toimprove gait. This project is funded by the ‘Phelps Stichting voor spastici’, the Netherlands. The objective is to investigate the short-term and long-term effects of tendon lengthening in children with cerebral palsy.
    - PhD student: Helga Haberfehlner
    - Collaborators: Dr. R.T. Jaspers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Prof. J.G. Becher and Dr. H.A. van der Sluijs (VU University Medical Center), Prof. R. Brunner and Dr. E. Rutz (University Children’s Hospital Basel).
  • Sensorimotor control of locomotion after peripheral nerve injury. This project is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (National Institute of Health, USA). The biomechanical analysis of gait is combined with the measurement of muscle activation, tendon forces and muscle fiber lengths for different muscles in the cat hind limb. Surgical self-reinnervation is used to disrupt proprioceptive feedback of specific muscles.
    - Collaborators: Prof. R.J. Gregor, Dr. B.I. Prilutsky, Prof. T.R. Nichols (Georgia Institute of Technology), Prof. A.W. English (Emory University).
  • Modulation of reflex pathways following tendon transfer. The aim of this study is to investigate how the nervous system responds to an agonist-to-antagonist tendon transfer. Following a change in the anatomy, length changes of the transffered muscle with joint movements are reversed compated to the normal case. It is hypothesized that this will affect processing of length feedback in the spinal cord.
    - Collaborators: Prof. T.R. Nichols, Dr. M.A. Lyle (Georgia Institute of Technology).

Ancillary activities

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Selected Research Output 2000 2018

  • 69 Article
  • 3 PhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VU
  • 2 Chapter
  • 1 Online publication or Website

The importance of cutaneous feedback on neural activation during maximal voluntary contraction

Cruz-Montecinos, C., Maas, H., Pellegrin-Friedmann, C. & Tapia, C. Dec 2017 In : European Journal of Applied Physiology. p. 2469-2477 8 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

Changes in muscle spindle firing in response to length changes of neighboring muscles.

Smilde, H. A., Vincent, J. A., Baan, G. C., Nardelli, P., Lodder, J. C., Mansvelder, H. D., Cope, T. C. & Maas, H. 2016 In : Journal of Neurophysiology. 115, 6, p. 3146-3155

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

Musculotendon adaptations and preservation of spinal reflex pathways following agonist-to-antagonist tendon transfer

Lyle, M. A., Nichols, T. R., Kajtaz, E. & Maas, H. 1 May 2017 In : Physiological Reports. 5, 9, e13201

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle