Biomechanics focuses on the application of engineering principles to the musculoskeletal system and other connective tissues. Research in this area addresses rehabilitation engineering, computer-assisted surgery and medical robotics, patient-specific biomechanical modeling, intelligent prosthetics and implants, and bioinstrumentation.

Research Faculty 

Joel Bach

Research Group:
Ability Research and Design Group

  • Assistive technology design
  • Rehabilitation engineering
  • Medical device design
  • Instrumentation and sensor development
  • Injury prevention and repair
  • Analysis of normal and pathologic biomechanics
  • Director, Human Centered Design Studio

Anthony Petrella

Research Group:  Computational Biomechanics Group

  • Computational biomechanics
  • Experimental study of the musculoskeletal system, specifically spine, hip and knee mechanics
  • Application of advanced nonlinear finite element analysis methods along with subject-specific anatomy and statistical techniques to simulate spinal function
  • Director: FEA Pro Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Anne Silverman

Research Group:
 Functional Biomechanics Laboratory

  • Muscular compensations resulting from the use of prosthetic and assistive devices
  • Balance regulation during dynamic tasks
  • Musculoskeletal modeling analyses to predict optimal treatment interventions
  • Therapy and treatment effects on movement performance in children with cerebral palsy
  • Relationships between whole-body movement and the development of long-term secondary conditions

Labs and Capabilities 

Computational Biomechanics

The Computational Biomechanics Group (CBG) applies biomechanical simulation to improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from musculoskeletal conditions. Areas of emphasis include spine, knee, and hip mechanics in both amputee and non-amputee populations. CBG research aims to improve the ability to predict musculoskeletal function in meaningful activities of daily living for both (1) individual patients (subject-specific) and (2) realistic patient populations (probabilistic modeling).

CBG researchers employ a broad range of parametric modeling techniques and statistical methods to better quantify the normal variations in anatomical shape, tissue properties, and surgical parameters that affect clinical results. The goal is to improve long-term outcomes and decrease the incidence of revision surgery following orthopaedic procedures.

Contact: Dr. Anthony Petrella (

Functional Biomechanics Laboratory

Researchers in the Functional Biomechanics Lab investigate whole-body biomechanics with experimental and computational approaches. We use gait analysis techniques including motion capture, ground reaction force measurement and electromyography to quantify walking mechanics. We combine these efforts with detailed musculoskeletal models to generate movement simulations. Through these methods, we can determine the biomechanical effects of physical therapy, surgical and device interventions and optimize interventions for individual patients.

  • 7-camera Qualisys Oqus 300+ Motion Capture System, 1.3MP, 500Hz frame rate at full resolution
  • 4 AMTI OR6-7 Force Plates
  • 16-channel Delsys Trigno wireless surface electromyography system including tri-axial accelerometers and two foot switch sensors

Contact: Dr. Anne Silverman (

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