A blog for the Evolutionary Morphology and Biomechanics group at the University of Liverpool. Part of the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.
What’s your role in EMB?
I’m a second year PhD student.
What are you currently working on?
My PhD focuses on the influence sole properties have on our musculoskeletal performance. I’m currently in the middle of a six month longitudinal study investigating the effect of minimal footwear on a “conventionally western” shod population. By using a mix of biomechanical tools (ranging from conventional motion capture and kinematic analysis systems to some not so conventional biomechanical tools of my own creation) before and after the six month intervention period, I will be able to isolate and quantify the variations in key aspects of gait and musculoskeletal performance caused by minimal footwear.
How and why did you get into your current research?
While studying Engineering, I discovered I most enjoyed the biomedical engineering and design modules on the course. I’m also a keen runner and was interested in the effect my running shoes had on my performance and was frustrated with the contradictory information I would get from one running shop to another, so when it came to choosing my third year dissertation I decided to make up my own project – “Running Shoes and Biomechanics”. This project turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling aspects of my undergraduate study. Then later down the line, after completing my masters I was asked if I’d be interested in taking on PhD of a similar nature to that of my undergraduate dissertation. In all honesty, I was hesitant at first as I was keen to start a career in my other love – design engineering (the focus of my master’s study). In the end I decided to accept the PhD as I realised I could work in engineering design at any point after doing the PhD but being offered a PhD in something you love is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down!
Outdoor exercise, BrewDog, A good cup of Yorkshire tea