Department: Biomedical Sciences School: NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine Campus: Old Westbury
Member of NYIT Since: 2011
Isaac Kurtzer's research takes little for granted in the everyday motions of peoples' lives. He studies fast corrective actions of the shoulder and elbow, such as how we steady a jostling steering wheel or an umbrella against a gust of wind.
His latest research uses the KINARM Bi-Exoskeleton robot to study elbow and shoulder movements of Parkinson's disease patients in an effort to improve rehabilitation techniques for their care. Kurtzer will collaborate with William Werner, Ed.D., associate professor of physical therapy, whose specialty is studying the balance and gait of patients treated at NYIT's Adele Smithers Parkinson's Disease Treatment Center.
"The ability to move with precision, speed, and expression has always been an important part of my life, like wrestling in high school and capoeira today," says Kurtzer, who keeps fit practicing brazilian combat dance. "So it was a natural transition to ask how movements are organized by the brain and how this goes awry with brain disorders. Along the way, I've worked inside a spinning room, analyzed neural recording from monkeys, and utilized programmable robots."
Kurtzer joined NYIT from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, where he served as a post-doctoral fellow. He teaches neuroanatomical topics to first-year medical students and supervises their lab work, contributes to publications such as Nature and the Journal of Neurophysiology, and has presented his research on upper limb mechanisms as part of NYIT's 2012 Faculty Cross-Disciplinary Health Series.
In addition, he is a past "shavee" of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine. Each year, the college teams with St. Baldrick's Foundation to recruit volunteers to shave their heads to raise money to fund childhood cancer research.
"For the past two years I've been privileged to be a faculty member of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine," adds Kurtzer. "I enjoy intellectual dialogues with my colleagues, helping teach a new generation of doctors, and the opportunity to work with patients at the Parkinson's clinic. Plus, I get to visit Manhattan on the weekends. All in all, there's an exciting future ahead."