Our reserach themes have been developed in broad consultation with the Department of Orthopaedics, ICORD, Mechanical Engineering and other collaborators. Our research themes can be catagorized broadly as follows:

Biomechanical performance and improvement of orthopaedic implants especially in the setting of osteoporosis

One major focus of our interdisciplinary research is the biomechanical performance of orthopaedic implants. We have concentrated on developing, improving and evaluating implants for use in the management and prevention of osteoporosis-related bone loss. A second area of concentration is in the biomechanics of non-fusion spinal instrumentation systems. Significant bone loss is a major orthopaedic problem and may be caused by various pathologies including osteoporosis, osteolysis, tumour, and infection. Specific projects in this broad area include the development of reconstructive techniques for periprosthetic femur fractures, revision arthroplasty in cases of severe osteolysis, spinal fixation of the osteoporotic vertebrae, fixation of the fractured proximal humerus, and the scientific evaluation of a wide range of bone graft substitutes. The research and development of new, innovative techniques in this field requires a two-phase approach: a mechanistic stage in the laboratory followed by a phase where the relevant clinical or biological factors are incorporated into the problem. The field of non-fusion spinal implants has experienced extensive growth over the last decade and our work in this area has been focused on evaluation of novel facet arthroplasty devices, total disc arthroplasty devices and flexible posterior instrumentation systems.

  • Periprosthetic fracture fixation
  • Revision hip reconstruction
  • Greater trochanter fixation
  • Pedicular fixation in osteoporotic spine
  • Kinematics and load sharing of a novel facet joint arthroplasty system (coming soon)
  • Kinematics and tissue loading of one and two-level Maverick total disc replacment subjacent to a long throacic scoliosis fusion(coming soon)

  • The effect of interbody cage shape and position on endplate failure in the lumbosacral spine(coming soon)
  • Measurment of facet joint loads with extra-articular strain gauges (coming soon)
  • A biomechanical model of lumbar spondylolisthesis
  • A minature fibre optic pressure sensor for measurement of intervertebral disc pressure (coming soon)
  • Anterior fixation of the spine
  • Proximal humerus fixation
  • Periprosthetic humeral fractures

Injury prevention espcially with respect to spine and hip injuries

A major focus of our work is injury prevention. This work normally proceeds from an understanding of real world injury mechanisms to simulation of the injuries in the laboratory understand the mechanisms in detail. This information is then used to conceptualize engineered devices to prevent injury or medical screening techniques or guidelines that can be used to identify persons at the greatest risk of injuries such that steps can be taken to prevent the injries.

  • PRO-NECK-TOR(TM), A helmet to prevent cervical spine injuries during head first impact
  • A Biofidelic Surrogate Neck for Head-First Impacts
  • Understanding and preventing “Chance” spinal fractures in child occupants (coming soon)

  • Pediatric and adult three-dimensional cervical spine kinematics: effect of age and sex through overall motion (coming soon)
  • Prevention of cyclist injuries through modifying bicycle infrastructure (the BICE study, coming soon)
  • Femoral fractures originate in the superior cortex during simulated sideways falls (coming soon)

Neurotrauma especially to the spinal cord

Another major focus of the group addresses the biomechanics of neurological truama, particularly those mechanisms involving the spinal cord. The ultimate treatment goal for an injured spinal cord is the regeneration of the damaged neural tissue such that complete function returns to the injured individual. Despite the remarkable work of many research groups worldwide, this goal remains elusive. An alternative, but not exclusive, treatment goal is to enhance patient recovery by surgically decompressing and stabilizing the injured spine. The timing of such surgical intervention continues to be a subject of significant debate. The long term objective of this research program is to enhance the outcome of spinal cord injured patients by developing a relevant experimental model whereby a variety of treatment options can be evaluated objectively. We feel that our research team is well-positioned to make a significant contribution in this area. Our clinical collaborators at Vancouver Hospital are at the forefront in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injury is also a major research focus at UBC from the Neurosciences perspective through ICORD and the Brain Research Centre. We are conducting a number of studies focused on spinal cord injury from basic science, prevention and treatment perspectives.

  • Mechanisms of cervical spine injury
  • Resultant instability of cervical spine injury
  • Effect of Cerebral Spinal Fluid on the Biomechanics of Spinal Cord Injury
  • Computational Image Analysis for Spinal Cord Injury Studies
  • Spinal Cord Deformation During Injury of the Cervical Spine in Head-First Impact
  • Injury Tolerance of the Geriatric Cervical Spine in the Presence of Advanced Spinal Degeneration

  • The development of an improved physical surrogate model of the human spinal cord (coming soon)
  • Translational constraint influences dynamic spinal canal occlusion of the thoracic spine (coming soon)
  • Finite element analyses of spinal cord injury mechanisms
  • Contusion, dislocation, and distraction: primary hemorrhage and membrane permeability in distinct mechanisms of spinal cord injury (coming soon)
  • Secondary pathology following contusion, dislocation, and distraction spinal cord injuries (coming soon)

Other clinically relevent musculoskeletal projects

The Orthopaedic and Injury Biomechanics group is currently conducting a variety of other clinically relevant projects.

  • Subfailure injury of ligaments and tendons
  • Scapular kinematics
  • Roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis
  • Wheelchair Vibration and Muscle Spasticity (coming soon)
  • Intraoperative measurement of spinal motion in scoliosis
  • In vivo measurement of motion in lower back pain patients