By Joe Shearer, Contributor
The University of Nebraska at Omaha now has another new building, and bragging rights, as several school officials, local dignitaries, staff, students and members of the public participated in the dedication of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Biomechanics Research Building on Thursday, Sept. 5.
University officials, donor Ruth Scott, Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility Director Dr. Nick Stergiou and more spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 and media during the new facility’s dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.
What was once a hole in the ground on the south end of a vacant Caniglia Athletic Field is now a state-of-the-art education and research facility specializing in the research of human movement through laws of mechanics, physics and several pieces of specialized technology.
The facility measures 23,000 square feet over two stories, with a third level granting access to UNO’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) building. With a unique, modern design that symbolizes the breakthrough work looking to be conducted, the Biomechanics Research Building will be the home for all research done by the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, the Center for Biomechanics Research and other related programs.
Under the lead of Stergiou, the Biomechanics Research Building is separated into four different divisions of research.
Neurophysiology of Gait will focus on designing new technologies to help improve mobility. Neuromuscular Control of Balance and Posture will study bodily changes that occur throughout development and design treatment therapies to correct posture.
Robotics and Virtual Reality Rehabilitation and Training uses robotic and VR-sensor technology to help maintain or improve motor functions and learning.
Lastly, Neuromuscular and Sensory Systems Assessment and Rehabilitation is dedicated to understanding the body’s sensory systems and how they affect movement.
During the dedication ceremony, Stergiou was beside himself with thanks, sitting in amazement with all of the future discoveries his crew might be making.
“Because of this generous gift, the lives of so many will be better,” Stergiou said. “The research we conduct here will help us understand [the human body] through new developments and discoveries never seen before.”
The whole project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of funding, private and otherwise, and lead gift donors Ruth and Bill Scott were in attendance to show their support.
During Ruth Scott’s colorful address , she recalled being totally sucked into what Stergiou and UNO were trying to get off the ground. The Scotts had an option to choose between a vision project at UNMC or the Biomechanic Research Building; and on one fateful day in 2011, they decided to go with Dr. Stergiou.
“We left a meeting one day, and we wondered how much more exactly Nick could help humankind with [the building],” Ruth Scott said. “It seemed like Nick had enough seed and we had enough fertilizer. That afternoon, with Nick’s passion and our pocketbook, you might say this building was conceived.”
Following the dedication, Stergiou and the entire Biomechanics staff led guests through an open house of the new facility. Demonstrations were performed and staff took care of any questions from those wondering the building. The state-of-the-art equipment and dazzling layout caught the attention of many, with a collective nod of approval seeming to radiate from the crowd.
And smiles radiated from Stergiou and the rest of his staff. One could see the awe in their eyes as they realized that their dream of furthering biomechanics research is now a reality.
So after years of hoping, planning, convincing and relentlessly working, Stergiou and company can breathe a sigh of relief as their dream facility is now a real thing. But they can’t rest easy for long, as they must now show the world the true power and benefit of biomechanics research they have been preaching about for so long.
For more information about the Biomechanics Research Building and the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility and their current projects, visit nbcf.unomaha.edu.