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Huub Maas obtained a M.Sc. (1999) and Ph.D. (2003, Cum Laude) degree in Human Movement Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. After postdoctoral fellowships at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta (USA) and Northwestern University in Chicago (USA), he is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Movement Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has (co-)authored over 80 papers in international scientific journals. His research focusses on the interactions between the musculoskeletal and neural systems during movement. To achieve this, he combines biomechanical and neurophysiological methods, exploiting animal and human models. Currently, he studies the sensory encoding of mechanical interactions between neighboring muscles, the neuromechanical consequences of stroke and hemophilic arthropathy, the structure-function relationship and mechanobiology of tendons, and effects of muscle stretching using prosthetic devices in children with cerebral palsy. 


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.


  • The Neuromechanics of Movement in Relation to Low Back Pain. The aim of this project is to investigate behavioral and neural aspects of motor control in low back pain.
    - Collaborators: Prof. Jia Han (Shanghai University of Sport, China), Prof. Jaap van Dieën (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).
  • Effects of low-load-prolonged-stretching on muscle properties and joint mobility.Aim is to investigate how different stretching protocols affect muscle morphology and joint, muscle and tendon mechanics in people with joint and muscle contractures of the extremities.
    - Collaborators: Prof. Han Houdijk (University of Groningen), Prof. Jaap van Dieën (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Dirk van Dongen (BASKO Healthcare).
  • Loading the tendon: injury and repair. The aim is to establish a loaded tendon culture system for the quantitative study of the development and treatment of tendinopathies.
    - Collaborators: Prof. Theo Smit (AUMC)
  • 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 (Amsterdam University Medical Center), Prof. H. Degens, Prof. M. Slevin (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
  • 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).

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

User created Keywords

  • biomechanics
  • skeletal muscle
  • connective tissue
  • proprioception
  • neuromuscular control
  • hemophilic arthropathy
  • cerebral palsy
  • stroke
  • tendon
  • peripheral nerve injury


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