Browse Faculty A-Z

Jason Kutch

PIBBS MENTOR

Assistant Professor

Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Ostrow School of Dentistry

Jason  Kutch

Research Topics

  • Neural mechanisms for muscle activation
  • Engineering of non-invasive systems to study human motor function
  • Neuromuscular disorders

Research Images

Cover: The fluctuations in fingertip force as the index finger pushes in different directions isometrically can be visualized as spaces filled with ellipsoids. These fluctuations contain interesting nonuniformities as the direction of voluntary force changes. Specifically, they contain strong clues about patterns of muscle activation and may indicate that index finger muscles are activated in flexible combinations by the central nervous system, rather than in stereotypic synergistic groupings. For details see Kutch JJ, Kuo AD, Bloch AM, and Rymer WZ. Endpoint Force Fluctuations Reveal Flexible Rather Than Synergistic Patterns of Muscle Cooperation. J Neurophysiol 100: 2455-2471, 2008. First published September 17, 2008; doi: 10.1152/jn.90274.2008.
Cover: The fluctuations in fingertip force as the index finger pushes in different directions isometrically can be visualized as spaces filled with ellipsoids. These fluctuations contain interesting nonuniformities as the direction of voluntary force changes. Specifically, they contain strong clues about patterns of muscle activation and may indicate that index finger muscles are activated in flexible combinations by the central nervous system, rather than in stereotypic synergistic groupings. For details see Kutch JJ, Kuo AD, Bloch AM, and Rymer WZ. Endpoint Force Fluctuations Reveal Flexible Rather Than Synergistic Patterns of Muscle Cooperation. J Neurophysiol 100: 2455-2471, 2008. First published September 17, 2008; doi: 10.1152/jn.90274.2008.
At the Dana & David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center at USC, Dr. Kutch is currently looking at how changes in the brain might affect muscle contraction in patients with chronic pain. His study, ``Pathological insula connectivity and neural control of muscle in Chronic Prostatits/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS)'' may identify the neural circuitry that causes pelvic muscles to contract involuntarily during periods of stress. Studies have shown that CP/CPPS is the most frequent urological diagnosis for men under 50, with quality-of-life scores consistently lower than congestive heart failure, diabetes, and Crohn`s disease.  
 
Physical therapists are at the front lines treating this perplexing disorder. In collaboration with Daniel Kirages (left), Instructor of Clinical Physical Therapy at USC, Dr. Kutch recently received USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy funding for a pilot study, ``A critical evaluation of physical therapy for Chronic Prostatits/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS).''
At the Dana & David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center at USC, Dr. Kutch is currently looking at how changes in the brain might affect muscle contraction in patients with chronic pain. His study, ``Pathological insula connectivity and neural control of muscle in Chronic Prostatits/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS)'' may identify the neural circuitry that causes pelvic muscles to contract involuntarily during periods of stress. Studies have shown that CP/CPPS is the most frequent urological diagnosis for men under 50, with quality-of-life scores consistently lower than congestive heart failure, diabetes, and Crohn`s disease. Physical therapists are at the front lines treating this perplexing disorder. In collaboration with Daniel Kirages (left), Instructor of Clinical Physical Therapy at USC, Dr. Kutch recently received USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy funding for a pilot study, ``A critical evaluation of physical therapy for Chronic Prostatits/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS).''
Dr. Kutch's Brain.
Dr. Kutch's Brain.

Research Overview

My research is focused on three goals: 1) To understand how the complex networks in the central and peripheral nervous systems produce coordinated activity in muscle fibers. 2) To engineer practical, non-invasive systems to study these networks in humans. 3) To apply our findings and technology to improve the lives of people with neuromuscular disorders. My research has shown that micro fluctuations in the forces exerted by the muscles in the human body contain a large amount of information about how the central nervous system (CNS) is coordinating multiple muscles. I have also found that associating these fluctuations with electrical activity in individual muscles reveals how the CNS is regulating the activation of spinal motoneurons that control the muscle. These two findings form the basis for noninvasive technology that can assess whether the CNS is properly controlling muscle at the spinal level, and may help reveal the mechanism of impairment in neuromuscular disorders.

Contact Information

Mailing Address 9006
Office Location CHP 155
Office Phone (323) 442-5550
Lab Location
Lab Phone
Fax (323) 442-1515
Office Location CHP 155

Education

  • B.S.E. 2001 Mechanical Engineering - Princeton University
  • Ph.D. 2008 Applied Mathematics - University of Michigan

Selected Publications

View a complete PubMed searchView a complete Google Scholar search
  • Kutch JJ,Valero-Cuevas FJ - Muscle redundancy does not imply robustness to muscle dysfunction. - J Biomech [2011] Apr 29;44(7):1264-70 PubMed
  • Kutch JJ,Kuo AD,Rymer WZ - Extraction of individual muscle mechanical action from endpoint force. - J Neurophysiol [2010] Jun;103(6):3535-46 PubMed
  • Kutch JJ,Valero-Cuevas FJ - Computational hypothesis testing for neuromuscular systems. - Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc [2010] ;2010():5436-9 PubMed
  • Valero-Cuevas FJ,Hoffmann H,Kurse MU,Kutch JJ,Theodorou EA - Computational Models for Neuromuscular Function. - IEEE Rev Biomed Eng [2009] ;2():110-135 PubMed
  • Kutch JJ,Kuo AD,Bloch AM,Rymer WZ - Endpoint force fluctuations reveal flexible rather than synergistic patterns of muscle cooperation. - J Neurophysiol [2008] Nov;100(5):2455-71 PubMed
  • Kutch JJ,Suresh NL,Bloch AM,Rymer WZ - Analysis of the effects of firing rate and synchronization on spike-triggered averaging of multidirectional motor unit torque. - J Comput Neurosci [2007] Jun;22(3):347-61 PubMed
  • Kutch JJ,Buchanan TS - Human elbow joint torque is linearly encoded in electromyographic signals from multiple muscles. - Neurosci Lett [2001] Sep 28;311(2):97-100 PubMed