Every two years ISB members elect a new Executive Council, and President-Elect. The Executive Council members are elected for a 2-year term, with a maximum of three terms, and represent countries from throughout the world and various scientific areas within biomechanics. The Executive Council meets every year and provides leadership for the continued development of the Society and oversees the many on-going activities that are performed by Council appointed sub-committees, including activities in Economically Developing Countries, student grants, and student awards. The President-Elect is responsible for coordinating the proposals for the 2021 ISB Congress and will become President in 2019.
Candidates for President-Elect for the 2017-2019 term are, in alphabetical order,
- Toni Arndt, Sweden
- António Veloso, Portugal
Candidates for Executive Council Member for the 2017-2019 term are, once again in alphabetical order,
- Daniel Benoit, Canada
- Thor Besier, New Zealand
- Felipe P Carpes, Brazil
- Elizabeth Clarke, Australia
- Catherine Disselhorst-Klug, Germany
- Zac Domire, USA
- Taija Finni, Finland
- Mark King, England
- Alberto Leardini, Italy
- Li Li, USA
- Glen Lichtwark, Australia
- Yu Liu, China
- Rajani Mullerpatan, India
- Dieter Rosenbaum, Germany
This issue of ISB NOW contains a brief profile of each of the candidates for President-Elect, Council Members and Student Representatives. The online voting procedure will be conducted during April. Members will receive email notification that voting has started, together with detailed instructions related to the voting process. You will be asked to vote for one President-Elect, ten Executive Council Members, and one student representative.
Please vote! We want to make sure that the ISB Council represents the interests of all members.
Born in Ottawa Canada, Dr. Daniel Benoit worked for three years as director of a clinical biomechanics laboratory in Perugia Italy before moving to Stockholm-Sweden where he was awarded his PhD from the Karolinska Institutet (2005). He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware (2006). In 2007 he returned to Canada and joined the University of Ottawa, where he is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and member of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Benoit’s research focuses primarily on human movement biomechanics and neuromuscular control, in particular knee injuries and the dynamic stabilisation of the lower limb.
He attended his first ISB Congress in 1999 and has been an active member ever since. He speaks English, French, Italian and Swedish and his international experience makes him ideally suited for the ISB executive. Over the past two years he has been the ISB Sponsorship Officer and believes the ISB needs to reinforce its position as the premier society representing the broader international biomechanics community. He would like to create new sponsorship models accessible to smaller companies and promote initiatives aimed at maintaining the long term viability of the society.
Thor is an Associate Professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland. He completed his PhD at The University of Western Australia (2000) and was a postdoc in Bioengineering at Stanford from 2003-2006. He joined the Department of Orthopaedics at Stanford (2006-2010), before returning home to New Zealand in 2011. Thor’s research combines medical imaging with computational modelling to understand mechanisms of injury and disease. Thor leads an open source software initiative called the Musculoskeletal Atlas Project (MAP) to facilitate the rapid generation of subject-specific musculoskeletal models.
Thor has been a member of the ISB since 1996 and has enjoyed the ISB meetings since attending his first ISB meeting in 1999. He is on the organising committee for the 2017 ISB Congress in Brisbane and is active in strengthening the Australasian biomechanics community. Thor has been the IT Officer on the ISB Council for the last two years and hopes to maintain this role for another term, since it has taken two years to ‘figure it all out’. He is enthusiastic about growing the ISB membership and supporting early career researchers.
Carpes is a professor at the Center for Health Sciences of the Federal University of Pampa, in Brazil, and currently is the president of Brazilian Society of Biomechanics. He conducts research projects within the research group on applied neuromechanics, and collaborates in a number of projects with national and international partners. His research focuses on developing a basic understanding of the production and regulation of movements with studies in humans and other animal models, and applying this information to training and rehabilitation. He develops actions for popularization of science and development of biomechanics in EDC, by organizing online webinars, congresses, and advertising opportunities promoted by the ISB for members.
He says: "In the last two years I had the chance to collaborate with the ISB as a member of the executive council. My portfolio was the EDC officer. If elected for another turn, I will keep working to develop biomechanics in EDC by helping in the establishment of new societies, advising new members about how they can be more active in the ISB, and helping people from EDC to leverage theirs groups and research projects by promoting interaction between scientists and students members of ISB.”
Elizabeth Clarke is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, and Director of the Murray Maxwell Biomechanics Laboratory at the Kolling Institute. She has backgrounds in Biomedical Engineering and Science and was awarded her PhD in 2008. She researches the links between injury mechanisms and pathology.
Elizabeth is currently the representative for Australia on the Asian Pacific Association for Biomechanics (APAB) and on the ISB2017 organising committee. She has served the Australian and New Zealand Society for Biomechanics (ANZSB) continuously since 2009: Communications Officer (2009-11), Secretary/Treasurer (11-14), President (14-16) and now Past-President.
Elizabeth is keen to broaden her service to the international biomechanics community. She has well-established connections with the biomechanics community in the Asian Pacific region through ANZSB and APAB, and would see this as an opportunity to further strengthen links between our members and committees. Elizabeth is also a passionate advocate for gender equity and would promote gender balance in the biomechanics community; e.g. editorial and committee positions and conference speaker representation. She is also a keen supporter of developing career and mentorship opportunities for graduate students and early career researchers – having recently come out the other side of this difficult career stage!
Catherine Disselhorst-Klug is Professor at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany, where she is the head of the Department of Rehabilitation & Prevention Engineering. Her strong background in engineering science in combination with her expertise in movement physiology forms the basis for her recent research activities which aim to understand physiological and pathological movements based on biomechanics and neuromuscular performance. Her particular research interests are focused on the development of methods improving prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal dysfunction. Catherine is with the ISB since 1995. She is the responsible award officer since elected as a member of the ISB council two terms ago.
She says: ”ISB is an outstanding community of colleagues and friends with passion for biomechanics and offers a unique platform to various related disciplines. By creating and linking interfaces between these different disciplines ISB will bridge from basic research to practical application. This includes science transport through education and training to the next generation of young investigators. Teaming-up is the basis for the creative atmosphere of ISB in which rise new ideas and innovative approaches. Therefore, it will be a pleasure to me serving the ISB as executive council member for a third term.”
I am currently an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at East Carolina University. I received my Ph.D. in kinesiology from The Pennsylvania State University and completed post-doctoral training in biomedical engineering at The Mayo Clinic. My primary research interests are aging, skeletal muscle mechanics and the simulation of human movement. I attended my first ISB Congress in 1999 as a graduate student. My experiences at this meeting helped shape my interest in pursuing biomechanics research as a career. Since this meeting, I have attended whenever possible. This year will be my fourth consecutive and the seventh of the last ten congresses that I have been lucky enough to be able to attend. For the last three years, I have served on the ISB Student Grant Committee. This work has reinforced my view of the great potential of the ISB to help develop the careers of young biomechanists and increased my motivation to serve the ISB. I view serving on the council as an opportunity to give back to a society that has made a big impact on my career. I would be particularly excited to work on initiatives to enhance research in economically developing countries and encourage international travel for students.
Taija Finni is a Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She received PhD in biomechanics in Jyväskylä in 2001 and spent post doc years at UCLA. Prof. Finni’s research ranges from basic neuromuscular function to translational research related to physical activity and sedentary behavior. As a long-term member of the ISB she was elected to executive council in 2015 where she has served as an education officer. She is active promoter of biomechanics among the students at her home university but also in other forums such as in European College of Sport Science where she is a member of the scientific council. She serves as senior section editor in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and belongs to the editorial board of Clinical Biomechanics.
If elected, Professor Finni will work to improve the participation of young scientists in the ISB. “I was fortunate to participate in ISB congresses very early in my research career and the passion and belonging of the biomechanics community inspired me”, she says. She is also keen to promote talented female researchers, who are traditionally under-represented in major scientific societies, and to facilitate international collaborative multi-disciplinary research.
Mark is a Reader in Sports Biomechanics at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, UK (named as the world’s best sport university, QS World University Rankings 2017). Mark completed his PhD at Loughborough in 1998 before being appointed as a Lecturer in 1999, Senior Lecturer in 2006 and Reader in 2012 plus Associate Dean for Enterprise with the School in 2017.
Mark’s research focuses on using subject-specific forward dynamics computer simulation models to understand optimum performance and injury risks in sport. A recent example of this is his research using subject-specific simulation models with the England and Wales Cricket Board to inform the coaching of English fast bowlers. Mark has been a member of ISB since 1995 attending all but one of the ISB Congresses, and has also been an active member of the ISB Technical Group on Computer Simulation (TGCS) over the same period including being a board member 2005-2010 and chairing the group since 2010.
By being elected to the executive council, Mark hopes to strengthen the links between ISB and the International Society of Sports Biomechanics and help the development of Biomechanics as an area of study throughout the world.
Alberto has worked at the Movement Analysis Laboratory, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli - Bologna (Italy) since 1990. He received the Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Orthopaedic Engineering (2001) at the University of Oxford. His initial research focused on methodological issues and clinical applications of human motion analysis. His focus in the methodologies for orthopaedic treatments has evolved then to encompass three-dimensional videofluoroscopy, radiostereometry, and surgical navigation. In his DPhil he made fundamental progresses on the mechanical modeling and prosthesis design of the ankle joints complex. His total ankle replacement has been implanted in thousands of patients. He is now looking at custom designs of this and other articulations.
He has served on several national and international scientific communities, including the founding member of the Società Italiana di Analisi del Movimento in Clinica (SIAMOC), International Foot & Ankle Biomechanics community (i-FAB), and Italian Digital Biomanufacturing Network. He has been President of the Technical Group of 3-D Analysis of Human Movement, and Council Member of the ISB (Student Grants officer since 2013). He strongly believes in the fundamental role of scientific communities not only for uniting efforts and promoting the discipline, but primarily for providing education and opportunities for younger and emerging researchers.
Li Li is a professor at Georgia Southern University. Professor Li received his PhD with Biomechanics training from University Massachusetts. He worked at Louisiana State University from 1998 to 2012 (as Endowed professor, 2006-2012) before moving to current position. Professor Li has studied running related injuries using traditional inverse dynamics, inter-segmental methods, and also dynamic systems approach. Professor Li studied neuromuscular control of cyclic human movements during trunk flexion / rotation, walking, running, cycling among different healthy or pathological populations. Comprehensive publication record can be found at: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=N1n5Z-oAAAAJ&view_op=list_works
Professor Li has actively participated ISB since 1999 - attended and presented in the past nine congresses; on behalf of ISB attended 2008 Chinese Association of Biomechanics in Sports annual meeting with professor Walter Herzog and presented the ISB sponsored New Investigator Award during the meeting; and participated ISB development project at the University of the Andes (Merida, Venezuela) with professor Joseph Hamill in 2010. Professor Li hope to serve on the ISB Executive Council in order for him to contribute to the development of the organization, to promote biomechanics education and research worldwide, and to encourage communication and collaboration among biomechanists from different parts of the world.
Glen Lichtwark is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences at The University of Queensland, Australia. He received his PhD from University College London in 2005 and has worked at the Royal Veterinary College, Imperial College London and Griffith University prior to his current appointment. His research is primarily focused on muscle mechanics and energetics, employing both experimental and simulation approaches to understanding human and animal muscle function and dysfunction.
Dr Lichtwark has been an ISB member since 2003 and has served as an Education Officer in the ISB Council since 2015 and is on the Program Committee for the ISB2017 conference in Brisbane, Australia. He has developed many important international collaborations through the ISB, which have enabled him to develop broad skills that are applicable across different fields of research. He believes in the role that the ISB plays in fostering new and innovative research approaches and values the diverse range of work undertaken across the society. He believes that re-election to the council would enable him to continue to foster interactions across continents and specifically to ensure that mechanisms exist for students to travel and interact with leaders in biomechanics.
Dr. Yu Liu received his Ph.D. in biomechanics from the University of Frankfurt/M and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the German Sport University, Cologne. He is Distinguished Professor of Chang Jiang Scholars, awarded by the China Ministry of Education, and currently serves as the dean of the School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sport. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on neuromuscular control of human movement and sport engineering. He has served as an executive council member of the ISB (2013-2015), as vice president of the Asia Association of Coaching Science, and as a member of the standing committee of the Chinese Association of Biomechanics. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and 6 book chapters and holds over 10 patents in China and the U.S. Currently, Dr. Liu serves on the editorial board of several national and international journals, including China Sport Science and the Journal of Sport and Health Science.
The mission of ISB is incredibly important to me as reflected in my own scientific interest and research passion. If elected, working collaboratively with colleagues and researchers in China and around the world, I intend to expand the network of ISB by hosting its first ISB Congress in China.
Dr.Rajani Mullerpatan is a Professor at University Department of Physiotherapy, MGM Institute of Health Sciences(MGMIHS), Navi Mumbai,India. She grew in the field of biomechanics during her PhD with Prof.Robert Van Deursen at Research Centre for Clinical Kinesiology, Cardiff University,UK.
On returning to India, Rajani strived to establish MGM Centre of Human Movement Science(MGMCHMS) at MGMIHS to address to an urgent need of integrating clinical biomechanics in Indian healthcare. With generous support from ISB and BETiC at IIT Bombay, MGMCHMS was established in 2015. The vision of the Centre is to generate a task-force to undertake research and develop the science of clinical biomechanics further in India by conducting integrated training for clinicians and engineers. Ongoing observer ship, guided tours and short-term courses are conducted to build awareness and knowledge of biomechanics across among clinicians, students and faculty members of healthcare and engineering. Intense efforts to deliver a triad of clinical service, research and training programs in clinical biomechanics continue at MGMCHMS.
Rajani is extremely grateful to ISB for providing immense support to establish MGMCHMS. She is keen to give back to ISB-EDC by sharing her novice experience of promoting clinical biomechanics and building an inter-disciplinary task force within India.
Prof. Rosenbaum is an internationally acknowledged researcher in biomechanics and human movement science. Following his studies in Münster, Iowa and Essen, Prof. Rosenbaum worked as a research fellow at the University of Ulm prior to becoming the director of the motion analysis laboratory at the University Hospital in Münster.
The investigation of foot-related orthopedic problems and their treatment options is one of his main areas of interest. Prof. Rosenbaum (co-)authored over 160 listed publications, serves on the editorial board of several key journals in our field, served as former president of the German Association of Biomechanics and was multiply awarded for his research.
I have been a member of the ISB since 1991 and, since then, have attended many ISB Congresses where I enjoyed the friendly and stimulating atmosphere of the 'biomechanics family get-together'. If elected I would like to contribute to issues related to international collaborations with other societies and help to develop new bonds with countries that are not yet strongly related to the ISB.
I have just returned from an eight-day visit to the MGM Centre of Human Movement Science in Navi Mumbai, India. I have known Prof. Rajani Mullerpatan, Director of the Centre, for over four years now and continue to be impressed with initiatives she leads both within and outside the lab. Activities range from student research projects investigating the movement mechanics of traditional dance and lifestyle to creating awareness and training of healthcare providers about biomechanics, as well as clinical assessments of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Most recently, I’ve had the privilege to be part of some of the research and teaching that takes place here.
In August 2013, Dr. Rajani Mullerapatan and I travelled from opposite ends of the globe to meet for the first time in person in Natal, Brazil. Following e-mail and Skype discussions from our respective locations on the planet, it was our shared time at that ISB Congress that ultimately offered the opportunity for us to get to know one another… and for the seed of collaboration to be planted.
Our shared intentions to apply biomechanics research to understanding culturally specific activities such as squatting in India motivated us to collaborate on a joint research initiative. One of our questions focussed on the biomechanical differences between physical postures that a woman may choose during childbirth: how would upright positions such as squatting facilitate or hinder passage of the baby through the birth canal when compared with more conventional supine positions? Could we measure the kinematics of the pelvis and dynamic forces acting on this segment in these different birthing positions?
Following two additional in-person meetings in Glasgow and Toronto in 2015 our ideas took form as a small grant proposal at the end of that year. By that time the MGM Centre of Human Movement Science, boasting a 12-camera Vicon motion capture system, three AMTI force platforms, and a Novel pressure platform, had just been officially inaugurated. (You can read more about the history of this project and ISB contributions in the ISB Now 2014 and 2015 archives.)
This past April our hard work and planning finally came to fruition when I travelled to MGM’s Centre of Human Movement Science in India for two weeks. During this time I contributed to an interdisciplinary biomechanics training course with students from engineering and physiotherapy and worked together with several students and research associates on various aspects of our research project.
The objective of this project was to investigate the effects of birthing position on pelvic dimensions in a group of non-pregnant, Indian subjects. Clinically-relevant pelvic dimensions are estimated from anatomical landmarks that are digitized using the Vicon motion capture system. Dynamic analysis of motion, including loading at the hip and lumbosacral joints, will help us interpret pelvimetry findings.
It has been an ambitious undertaking and we all continued to work hard refining data collection and processing methods after my initial stay. During my recent follow-up visit we had an opportunity to address some of the many challenges of this project – from the “mundane” data processing issues to the complex dynamics of cross-cultural collaboration. It has been a valuable learning experience and has presented new insights and opportunities; I look forward to further collaboration with Rajani and her colleagues long into the future.
We are pleased to share that the intense, concerted effort on the project initiated in August 2012 to establish a center for human movement science at MGM Institute of Health Sciences (MGMIHS) was successfully completed in February 2015. To address an urgent need to integrate clinical biomechanics in health care, I proposed a project to the International Society of Biomechanics to establish a center for movement analysis through the EDC initiative.
After initial positive encouragement from Prof.Julie Steele (ISB President 2009-2011) in Aug ust 2012 at ESM, Aalborg, Denmark, I began communication with Dr.AndreaHemmerich, a highly enthusiastic, supportive and focused EDC Officer to identify the objectives and outcome of such a center. Continued Skype discussions over a year between Andrea and me chipped in the draft of the MoU which was presented to the ISB Executive Council Members at the XXIV ISB Congress, Natal, Brazil in August 2013 in partnership with Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB) and Cardiff University, UK. Many thanks for the ISB travel grant and support from MGMIHS that I managed to travel to Natal for the presentation and discussion.
Andrea together with other participants, including Prof. Ton van den Bogert, had convened a workshop to discuss the challenges economically developing countries faced to establish infrastructure for research and training in Biomechanics. It was very helpful to listen to experiences and evaluate our proposal.
Andrea and I then met with Prof. Ton van den Bogert (ISB President at the time) and Prof. Bart Koopman (ISB Developing Countries Officer) to discuss the proposal to assess its feasibility, viability and relevance in India. At that point we discussed that we had local support from Prof.B.Ravi, IITB, and support from Cardiff University through Prof. Robert van Deursen. We also discussed how we were trying to seek support from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for this initiative and also to build awareness about this science and its application in health care to address culturally specific needs of Indian lifestyle. The team was convinced and it was decided to seek support from sponsors of ISB to move forward. Ton discussed with Mr. Gary Blanchard (AMTI) and Mr. Andy Ray (Vicon) and they kindly agreed in principle and we took another step forward. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2013 between primary collaborating partners to structure and foster teamwork.
Untiring efforts from Andrea and the EDC team we were finally offered a huge generous donation from Vicon and AMTI: an 8-camera Vicon system and 2 force plates. In the meanwhile in May 2014, Robert van Deursen was sponsored by ISB to visit the site in Mumbai and help in the ground work planning for installation.
At this point Ms. Adele Burdock and Mr. François Asseman appeared on the scene and the planning for the shipment began. The actual shipment and the paper work for custom clearance was a highly complex and arduous task accomplished by Adele and François. We are ever so grateful to both of them for their perseverance.
Finally we received the equipment on Wednesday evening i.e. 11th of February. Robert had arrived for his second visit on 8th February and we were setting the site for installation - right from shopping for the clamps to the camera to getting the pipes and cable trays fitted for the cameras. Robert has done a commendable job working approx. long (10 hours on two days) hours in an environment which was full of dust and paint smell. On 9th and 10th February the pit was prepared to install the force plates and the metal pipes were fixed around the walls to mount the cameras under the guidance of Robert and Mr. Rupesh Pagdhare.
On Wednesday11th February, after we received the goods, Rupesh installed the force plates till 2.15am on Thursday i.e.12th Feb. I must deeply acknowledge the ongoing support and hard work from Mr.Vivek Nadkarni, Mrs.Tanuja Nadkarni and Rupesh (Indian team for Vicon and AMTI support) during the process of installation which continues. The installation was finally completed on Saturday afternoon i.e. 14th of February!!! We were all set to collect the data but, unfortunately, we could not achieve that because of inappropriate flooring.
But since then the system was tested and it all works well! Robert returned to Cardiff on Sunday with a sore throat after a week of hard work and we are extremely grateful to him for his efforts. We are also grateful to Robert for planning his academic and research activities at Cardiff University to allow time for two visits to the lab to help in the lab design, installation, training course and project discussion.
Mr. Nadkarni's team fine tuned the set up and we collected data on Thursday 19thFebruary 2015!!!. Analysis of data and generation of report has some hiccups which are being sorted with help from Mr. Jacques Gay (Vicon) and Rupesh. Another important activity we have been discussing with Robert during his visits in May 2014 and February 2015 is designing the training course in clinical biomechanics. Initial discussions were held with engineering board of MGM Trust and IITB on issues such as need, intake, duration and eligibility for the training course with an objective of generating a task force within the country for undertaking research and developing this science further in India. Further discussion was held with Robert and Andrea via Skype in May to agree upon the need and feasibility of such a program.
Now along with my colleague, Jyoti Chatla, we have collected data with whole body marker system for Yoga postures, squatting and dance postures. Analysis of these 3 postures form three different research projects and respective teams involving Prof.Ravi, Dr.Tandaiya and rest of the IITB group, Robert and Andrea are already identified. It is promising to have multidisciplinary teams of enthusiastic physiotherapists and mechanical engineers eager to work together at the center. After ironing the creases in data collection and fine tuning the system the projects should take off and then a lot of scientific knowledge will unfold through various projects which are at a stage of concept design. Prof.Nordin visited the center last week and commented it could be a facility for students from other countries to work on their projects. The center is open for enthusiastic researchers to work...
We are extremely grateful to ISB for helping us make this start with generous support from VICON and AMTI. Without support from ISB, MGMIHS would not have realized this dream to begin work in this area.
Dr. Rajani Mullerpatan
MGM Center for Human Movement Science
MGM Institute of Health Sciences
Navi Mumbai, India
Webinar: Benefits and Challenges of Biomechanics Research in Developing Countries
Last month I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar on the “Benefits and Challenges of Biomechanics Research in Developing Countries” as part of a series organized by Professor Felipe Carpes to promote online biomechanics education. In the presentation, I illustrated the link between biomechanics research and global health priorities, such as those related to the Millennium Development Goals. Drawing on examples within the ISB community, I highlighted how EDC biomechanics can shed light on connections between social determinants and health outcome, in addition to improving treatment and lifestyle choices of populations worldwide. Not surprisingly, there are also many challenges associated with conducting biomechanics research in developing countries. At the end of the presentation I spoke briefly about how we can address these challenges in order to continue to advance biomechanics opportunities in EDCs.
If you were not able to attend this webinar, you can still access it online at the following link: http://webconf.unipampa.edu.br/p15734254/.
To learn more about Felipe’s biomechanics research initiatives at the University of Pampa, Brazil, and the history of collaboration with the ISB, please visit the UniPampa project page on the ISB website.
Exciting developments are also taking place on the opposite side of the globe at the MGMIHS clinical biomechanics lab in Mumbai, India. The ISB has been working closely with Dr. Mullerpatan, MGMIHS Project Director, as well as AMTI and Vicon to support expansion of the lab; installation of a motion capture system and force platforms is scheduled for early 2015. Stay tuned for an update on this project in the following ISB NOW newsletter.
Economically Developing Countries (EDC) Project Officer
Andrea Hemmerich, EDC Project Officer
It has been almost two years since I received an email from Prof. Rajani Mullerpatan who, with encouragement from former ISB President Julie Steele, sought ISB support to establish a biomechanics centre at her home university in India. Shortly thereafter, we “met” on Skype, the first of many conversations with each of us either up late or early to accommodate the 9 ½ hour time difference between Mumbai and Ottawa. It did not take me long to realize that Rajani had the passion and expertise to advance the biomechanics agenda in India and I feel fortunate to be working with her in support of this goal.
Rajani, like many EDC scholars, pursued graduate studies overseas as graduate-level biomechanics research opportunities in India are few and far between. Her PhD at Cardiff University in the UK led to an academic position in Nottingham; her experience and professional networks gained at that time have since helped her grow the field of biomechanics in India.
Rajani has partnered with Prof. Robert van Deursen (Cardiff) and professors at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, to support her new Biomechanics Centre. Their combined expertise and complementary academic backgrounds in physiotherapy, rehabilitation science, and engineering, allow them to support one another on research and teaching, as well as installation and future operation of equipment in the Clinical Biomechanics Lab that is currently under construction at the MGM Institute of Health Sciences (MGMIHS).
In addition to the existing Novel Emed pressure platform, Rajani would like to acquire a motion capture system and force platforms to create a state of the art research and clinical laboratory, unprecedented in the region of South Asia that is home to over one fifth of the world’s population. An ISB-EDC grant supported Rajani’s travel to the ISB2013 Congress in Brazil, where we not only (at last) had the pleasure of meeting in person, but also connected with an AMTI representative through introductions by then ISB President, Ton van den Bogert. Both AMTI and, more recently, Vicon have responded positively to discussions on equipment donations, and/or sponsored purchases depending on the outcome of a research grant for which Rajani has applied through the Government of India.
Most recently Robert van Deursen spent a week in Mumbai with the objectives of helping Rajani design the lab space together with local structural engineers. Robert’s experience helped clarify misunderstandings around the physical lab set-up, undoubtedly averting major problems down the road. Further to planning the gait lab, Rajani and Robert had an opportunity to develop research and educational initiatives. In describing the outcomes from his “intense” trip, Robert wrote:
What cannot be easily explained in the report is that meetings were held in various parts of Mumbai and therefore a considerable amount of time was spend in vehicles travelling through heavy congestions. Some of our best meetings were held during these travels.
If all goes according to schedule, installation of the AMTI force platforms and Vicon motion capture system at the lab in Navi-Mumbai will take place later this year. To learn more about the MGMIHS project and to read Robert’s trip report, please visit the MGMIHS webpage.
India is not the only developing country where biomechanics is growing in importance. Stemming from the EDC Workshop that I facilitated at the ISB2013 Congress, Prof. Felipe Carpes (Vice-President, Brazilian Society of Biomechanics) in his characteristic creative and resourceful style, initiated my involvement in the 2nd International Congress of Biomechanics (ICB) taking place in Medellín, Colombia in November 2013.
Felipe and Jose Acero, Scientific Director of the Biomechanical Solutions and Research Institute in Colombia and ICB Organiser, had both participated in the ISB-EDC Workshop and recognized the opportunity to support one another in their ambitions to grow biomechanics in Latin America. Jose had also wanted to introduce his Colombian biomechanics colleagues to the opportunities available through the ISB and so we coordinated a webinar that would be translated from English to Spanish and would allow participants to ask questions about the EDC programme.
The response I received to my presentation was simultaneously favourable and inspiring. Audience members asked for details about the EDC proposal process and whether regional research collaborations would be encouraged. (Yes, of course!) In order to promote active cooperation amongst interdisciplinary teams of researchers to support sustainable biomechanics initiatives, I recommended reviewing the Memorandum of Understanding template that can be downloaded from the EDC webpage. Felipe also reported that he had received inquiries about exchange opportunities and foreign study at the Masters and PhD levels in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
Following the ISB-EDC presentation, Jose announced the inauguration of the Colombian Association of Biomechanics, with himself as the first elected President. Congratulations to Jose, his Executive Council, and all members who are paving the way for biomechanists in Colombia and Latin America.
The potential for biomechanics research, education, and clinical application in these parts of the world is immense. Not only are EDC researchers and their collaborators worldwide making valuable contributions to our current body of knowledge, they are leading groundbreaking research in areas of biomechanics particular to their own regions. The international biomechanics community has much to gain from the growth of biomechanics in developing regions and I am thrilled to know that our ISB-EDC colleagues in Colombia and India are making it happen.
A participatory approach to promoting biomechanics in Economically Developing Countries (EDCs)
In order to identify, address, and ultimately overcome the challenges in expanding biomechanics in EDCs, we invited ISB members who were currently or had been previously engaged in biomechanics work in developing countries to participate in an ISB-EDC Workshop during the ISB2013 Congress. By cooperatively developing capacity-building strategies, we hoped to find new opportunities to support our EDC members in their research and teaching related endeavors, and ultimately increase the impact of the ISB-EDC Program. Of the 37 ISB members who were invited to attend, eleven were able to participate in the morning event.
The time available for the workshop – 3 ½ hours – was limited considering what we wanted to achieve with participants from all over the world, many of whom had never met one another before. I felt confidant that we would realize our specific goals for the workshop, however, since these individuals has previously demonstrated their dedication to the ISB and to the promotion of biomechanics in EDCs.