Research Institute Amsterdam


Mission: to conduct excellent scientific research on human movement and the human movement system (including the musculoskeletal system, neural motor system and supporting physiological systems) in both healthy individuals and patients, with the long-term aim to understand, improve, maintain and/or repair motor functioning.

Research Programs

Regenerative medicine
Repairs damage to the locomotor system resulting from disposition, ageing, inadequate nutrition, incorrect movement, trauma, loading habits, and disease.

Seeks to clarify the underlying mechanisms of rehabilitation in patients with neurological and musculoskeletal diseases.

Aims to reveal the fundamental processes by which the neuromuscular, cardiovascular, perceptual and motor control systems adapt to physical activity. This knowledge is used to optimize the development of talented young athletes and to boost their peak performance.  

Professor Jaap Harlaar: 'Using virtual reality to treat movement disorders'

Straight from the computer games industry, Jaap Harlaar uses a virtual reality lab to study and diagnose movement disorders in both children and the elderly.

From spasticity to arthritis
'As we are able to treat more and more diseases, the number of people with chronic long-lasting problems increases', Prof. Harlaar says. 'Walking problems are one of the most profound concerns for everyone, greatly affecting their quality of life.' Jaap Harlaar works mainly with children, primarily those who suffer from spasticity, but he also studies elderly individuals with MS or arthritis. His research team develops biomechanical models of different movement disorders, to enable them to specifically target their treatments.

Virtual reality
To this end, Prof. Harlaar uses a state-of-the-art virtual reality lab which originates from the computer games industry. 'Rehabilitation medicine and the study of movement disorders do not fit into a single medical diagnosis', he says. 'The patients come from all over the medical spectrum. MOVE's multidisciplinary approach contributes in no small measure to the efficient development of treatments aimed at improving people's quality of life.'