The Tutorials

    As is customary with ISB Congress’s, ISB 2017 will host a day of ISB workshops on cutting edge topics presented by world leading researchers. Each workshop will run for approximately 2 hours, with two in parallel session in the morning and afternoon. They will be followed by the ISB Opening ceremony, the 2017 Wartenweiller Lecture and the Congress Welcome reception.

  • Professor Lynne Bilston

    NeuRA & UNSW, Australia

    Presenting: MR imaging in biomechanics: What existing and emerging MRI methods are useful for biomechanists and how can you apply them to musculoskeletal, respiratory and neurological disorders?

    From a background in biomechanical engineering, the focus of my research is on how the soft tissues in the human body respond to mechanical loading – both those loads which cause injury and those which are part of normal function. I develop novel methods for measuring biomechanical properties and behaviour of soft tissues in humans, particularly using Magnetic Resonance Imaging and rheometry. I apply these techniques to study mechanisms of traumatic injury, disorders of cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain and spinal cord, and obstructive sleep apnoea.

    View abstract

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to make structural and functional measurements in a wide variety of clinical and experimental contexts. However, it is also increasingly being used by biomechanists to make biomechanical measurements, including quantitative measurements of fluid flows, measurements of tissue mechanical properties, and joint and muscle kinematics. In this tutorial, you will learn about some of the current and emerging MRI techniques that can be used for biomechanics applications, their strengths and limitations, and examples of how they can be used for both research and clinical applications in a wide range of clinical disorders across the cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal, and respiratory domains. We will also briefly discuss the use of MRI for building and validating computational models.

  • Associate Professor Greg Sawicki

    University of North Carolina

    Presenting: Biologically-inspired concepts guiding lower-limb exoskeleton design

    Dr. Gregory S. Sawicki is an Associate Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds B.S. (’99) and M.S. (’01) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and the University of California-Davis, respectively. View more.

    Dr. Sawicki completed his Ph.D. in Human Neuromechanics at the University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor (‘07) and was an NIH-funded Post-Doctoral Fellow in Integrative Biology at Brown University (‘07-‘09). Dr. Sawicki joined the faculty at NC State in summer 2009.

    Dr. Sawicki directs the Human Physiology of Wearable Robotics (PoWeR) laboratory—where the goal is to combine tools from engineering, physiology and neuroscience to discover neuromechanical principles underpinning optimal locomotion performance and apply them to develop lower-limb robotic devices capable of improving both healthy and impaired human locomotion (e.g., for elite athletes, aging baby-boomers, post-stroke community ambulators).

    By focusing on the human side of the human-machine interface, Sawicki and his group have begun to create a roadmap for the design of lower-limb robotic exoskeletons that are truly symbiotic---that is, wearable devices that work seamlessly in concert with the underlying physiological systems to facilitate the emergence of augmented human locomotion performance.

    View abstract

    Biologically-inspired concepts guiding lower-limb exoskeleton design

    This tutorial will focus on the basic science of human-machine interaction in the context of lower-limb exoskeletons that target the human ankle during locomotion. The goal is to motivate the importance of focusing on the human side of the human-machine interface in order to create a roadmap for the design of lower-limb robotic exoskeletons that are truly symbiotic---that is, wearable devices that can work seamlessly in concert with the underlying physiological systems to facilitate the emergence of augmented human locomotion performance.

    First, there will be a live demonstration showcasing the function of an unpowered elastic ankle exoskeleton that can reduce the metabolic energy cost of human walking. Then, I will highlight the biologically-inspired design approach behind the successful device, drawing on a key energy savings mechanisms in locomotion: elastic energy storage and return. Next, with audience interaction, we will build a simple conceptual model of a biological muscle-tendon unit in parallel with a spring-loaded exoskeleton and consider what happens ‘under the skin’ to the mechanics, neural control and metabolic expenditure of individual muscles during locomotion with exoskeletons. Finally, I will introduce the idea of mechanical resonance as a guiding principle that can be used to inform modifications in the structure of the human foot-ankle system to achieve desired functional outcomes during locomotion. Using this idea, together we will brainstorm ways to tune the parameters of an ankle exoskeleton in order to address deficits in gait performance due to conditions that alter the stiffness of the plantarflexors (e.g., healthy aging).

  • Professor Francois Hug

    Université de Nantes, assisted by Dominic Farris (University of Queensland) and Bart Bolsterlee (Neuroscience Research Australia)

    Presenting: Ultrasound techniques for muscle-tendon imaging

    François leads the laboratory “Movement, Interactions, Performance” and is Professor in Human Movement Sciences at the University of Nantes (France). He completed his PhD at the University of Aix-Marseille (France) in 2003. After 6 years’ experience as Associate Professor at the University of Nantes, François was a Principal Research Fellow at the CCRE Spine (The University of Queensland, Australia) from 2013 to 2015, before returning to France in 2016. François develops a research program at the nexus of biomechanics and neurophysiology to address gaps in our understanding of muscle coordination in health and disease. View more.

    His recent achievements are particularly notable for the development of a method to estimate changes in individual muscle force using elastography. Coupled with neurophysiological approaches, the use of this novel experimental method has led to works that provide a deeper understanding of muscle coordination strategies in the presence of neuromuscular fatigue, acute and chronic pain. He has published over 120 refereed journal papers, supervised 5 PhD students to completion. He currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology and is Academic Editor for PloS ONE.

    View abstract

    Beyond the coordination between multiple effectors at different levels (e.g. between individual muscles, between joints), successful movements involve interactions between muscles and connective tissues (e.g. aponeurosis, tendons). In-vivo muscle biomechanical properties have been classically inferred from global methods (e.g. inverse dynamics, joint torque) that cannot isolate the behaviour of individual muscles or structures.

    This tutorial will present an overview of the ultrasound methods that enable muscle and tendinous tissues to be imaged in real time. This tutorial will first introduce B-mode imaging and advanced methods to assess displacements within the muscle-tendon unit (semi-automated tracking, 3D freehand ultrasound). Second, the issue of probe positioning for 2-D measurements will be discussed through examples of the human medial gastrocnemius muscle. Future directions should combine displacements assessed using B-mode ultrasound with actual force applied on tissues. The third part of this tutorial will therefore present an ultrasound shear wave elastography technique that showed potential in estimation of both active and passive muscle force. Recent development of this elastography technique for tendon research will be presented.

    This tutorial will include both lectures and demonstrations.

  • Associate Professor Thor Besier

    The University of Auckland, New Zealand

    Presenting: Multiscale modeling in biomechanics

    Thor Besier is an Associate Professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and has a joint appointment with the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland. He completed his PhD at The University of Western Australia in 2000 and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University from 2003 to 2006. View more.

    Thor was a faculty member in the Department of Orthopaedics at Stanford from 2006 to 2010, before returning home to New Zealand in 2011. Thor’s research combines medical imaging with computational modelling to understand mechanisms of musculoskeletal injury and disease. Thor leads an open source software initiative called the Musculoskeletal Atlas Project (MAP) to facilitate the rapid generation of musculoskeletal models as well as being a repository for models and associated data.

    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 local organising committee for the 2017 ISB Congress in Brisbane and is active in strengthening the ties between Australian and New Zealand researchers. By being elected to the executive council, Thor hopes to promote a culture of open exchange of models and data within the biomechanics community, to improve collaboration, validation and advancement of musculoskeletal modelling.

    View abstract

    Multiscale modeling in biomechanics

    A long term goal for research in biomechanics is to be able to interpret measurements of biomechanical function from multiple physiological scales, including whole body kinematics and kinetics as well as molecular level function through, for example, blood biomarkers or tissue biopsies. This requires multi-scale modeling to relate the molecular function of muscles and other body organs to the integrated performance of the musculo-skeletal system. In many cases it also requires the models to be as specific to the individual as possible.

    The Physiome Project is an international effort to establish an open science framework for biophysically-based multiscale modeling, including the development of standards, tools, and databases. The standards include CellML (, SED-ML ( and FieldML ( The software includes OpenCOR (, OpenCMISS ( and MAP-Client ( A database of models is available at

    In this tutorial we will demonstrate the use of the Physiome Project framework for interpreting physiological measurements of the musculo-skeletal system and show participants how to use the freely available tools OpenCOR, OpenCMISS and MAP-Client and their associated databases. We will also talk briefly about the future directions of the Physiome Project in relation to the musculo-skeletal system.

Page information up to date as of 14 July 2017 AEST.