Carolina Sarmento

 Carolina Sarmento
Mentor: Dr. Chris Hass
College of Health and Human Performance
"I initially became involved in research as a Freshman because I thought I wanted to pursue a career involving research and therefore wanted to expand my understanding of the process."


Applied Physiology and Kinesiology



Research Interests

  • Gait Initiation
  • Neuromechanics
  • Intervention Programs

Academic Awards

  • UF University Scholars Program
  • Duke Energy Merit Scholarship
  • FASEB Marc Award
  • Southeastern ACSM Award
  • Florida Bright Futures


  • Floridance
  • Center for Undergraduate Research CURBS


  • UF Health Shands - Neonatology
  • UF Health Shands - Operating Room

Hobbies and Interests

  • Dance
  • Running
  • Medicine
  • Outdoors

Research Description

The Effects of Standing Posture on Gait Initiation
The ability to safely and efficiently initiate gait is essential to human locomotion. As an individual prepares to step, the center of pressure (COP) is initially shifted posteriorly, creating a rocking mechanism during which the backward movement of the COP generates momentum to propel the body forward during gait initiation (GI). In several populations, including persons with neurological movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), the posterior shift in the COP is reduced. This, in turn, decreases forward momentum, slows the ability to initiate gait, and increases the risk of falling. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the backward postural shifts during GI can be affected by simple changes in initial body position and posture. To determine the effect of the initial body lean position on postural adjustment on the movement of the COP during GI, twenty healthy young adults (18-22 yrs) will participate in this study. We will first record the initial COP during a quiet stance. Then, participants will be asked to lean as far forward as possible without initiating a step in order to record their maximal lean. The participants will then be required to lean at- 5% (lean back), 0% (normal posture) and 5%, 10% and 20% of their maximal forward lean for 5 seconds before initiating a step forward after verbal visual cue. Kinematic and kinetic data will be used to calculate initial step length and step velocity as well as the posterior displacement of the COP. These findings will have clinical significance as they may suggest that extensive rehabilitation training may not necessary to improve GI deficits in older persons or patients with movement disorders, but rather these populations may immediately benefit from a simple change in standing posture prior to GI.