Emmanuella Ayikailey Tagoe
Hometown: Tema, Greater Accra Region, Ghana
Graduation date: Spring 2022
Additional details: First-generation college student
MORE | Spring 2022
Investigating How Training Improves Dexterous Finger Force Control
Many activities of daily living like buttoning shirts or threading a needle require dexterous control of appropriate forces (or movement) of individual fingers. However, intending to move one finger is usually accompanied by movement of other unintended fingers, making it challenging to perform these tasks. This phenomenon is known as Finger Force Enslaving and is highly characteristic of stroke patients and toddlers, imposing challenges in their daily lives. Previous research showed that intense piano practice enhances individual finger movement and control. This research focuses on investigating how short-term training reduces finger force enslaving and hence improves dexterous finger force control.
Mentor: Marco Santello
Featured project | Spring 2022
Biomedical engineering graduate student Emmanuella Tagoe is developing a rehabilitative training method to help improve dextrous control of the fingers for people who have had strokes. Tagoe, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, says the MORE experience of conducting research with faculty mentor Professor Marco Santello has been a fulfilling one.
What made you want to get involved in MORE?
The MORE program gives graduate students the opportunity to have hands-on lab experience and engage in full-scale, graduate-level research, and that is what I wanted to do.
Why did you choose the project you’re working on?
As a biomedical engineering student, I always wanted to apply my knowledge and skills to develop solutions for people with disabilities or neurological disorders like stroke. My current project allows me to investigate how training could improve dexterous finger force control, which could be very instrumental for stroke recovery.
How will your research project impact the world?
The training protocol developed from my research project, if it improves hand dexterity, will serve as a rehabilitative tool for stroke recovery, which in turn can improve the quality of life of stroke patients.
Have there been any surprises in your research?
Yes, things may not always go as planned in research. Designing my experiment setup did not go exactly as I planned, but with guidance from my mentor and perseverance, I worked to get everything going.
How do you see this experience helping with your advanced degree goals?
I will be pursuing a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering to delve deeper into working to find solutions for patients with disabilities and/or neurological disorders. My experience as a student researcher in this program has prepared me to handle roadblocks that come with graduate research.
Why should other students get involved in MORE?
Getting involved in the MORE program as a graduate student will equip you with the right tools to become a good researcher. You will learn to work on a schedule, navigate all the roadblocks that come with research and improve your presentation skills.