People

Principal Investigator

Shawn Beaudette, PhD

Shawn is an Assistant Professor with research specialties in spine biomechanics, sensory feedback and neuromuscular control. Shawn’s research program integrates aspects of biomechanics, neurophysiology and data science to understand how spine movement is controlled with a focus on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of low back disorders. Shawn’s research program is aimed at objectively quantifying spine neuromuscular function to inform clinical and industrial decision-making processes.

Post Doctoral Fellowship: University of Ottawa, School of Human Kinetics (Supervisor: Dr. Ryan B. Graham)

MSc/PhD: University of Guelph, Human Health & Nutritional Sciences (Supervisor: Dr. Stephen H.M. Brown)

BSc: University of Guelph, Human Health & Nutritional Sciences (Supervisor: Dr. Lorraine Jadeski)


Graduate Students (PhD)

Jarrett Norrie, PhD(c)

Jarrett completed his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at The University of New Brunswick, and Masters of Science at the University of Guelph.

Jarrett’s research aims to understand how variability in spine movement may be linked to distinct muscle activation and spine loading patterns. This stream of research aims to identify person-specific (individualized) spine movement patterns, and to understand if these patterns can be adjusted with strength and endurance training. Currently, Jarrett is working on developing custom software to classify spine movements during activities of daily living (i.e. walking, squatting, traversing stairs, golfing, gardening, etc.) based on wearable stretch sensor data. This novel approach will provide a more objective way to quantify spine movement in every-day life. Jarrett’s PhD work is funded through a Brock Research Training Award and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.


Graduate Students (MSc)

Aurora Battis, MSc(c)

Aurora completed her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science at Brock University before continuing onto her Master of Science.

During her undergraduate degree, her research focused on diurnal variation in the development of standing-induced lower back discomfort. Specifically, investigating how trunk stabilizer muscle activity, ground-force reactions and spine posture may vary between people, when standing for prolonged periods throughout the course of a day. Her current research focuses on wearable sensor mediated sensory biofeedback and how it can elicit changes in the biomechanical control of the spine during movement tasks. Aurora’s research interests include pain science and sensorimotor control, specifically relating to the low back, and she is passionate about integrating research into clinical practice.




Chris Vellucci, MSc(c)

Chris completed his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a minor in Ergonomics and Injury Prevention at University of Waterloo.

Chris’s interests lie in human performance, spine biomechanics and neuromuscular control. Chris’s current research aims to understand key differences in the coordination of novice and advanced sprinters during a sprint using a data-driven approach. His project has three research goals: The first is to objectively quantify technical differences between novice and advanced sprinters using full-body kinematics and EMG. Second, to understand whether the coordination between the trunk and pelvis is a key differentiator in sprint performance. Lastly, to understand how the muscles attached to the thoracolumbar fascia regulate tension in the fascia during sprinting. This work will provide sports practitioner and researchers with a framework to objectively quantify sport technique in addition to answering a fundamental question in sprint performance.


Undergraduate Students

Carl Alano, HLSC BSc Thesis Student

My name is Carl Alano and I am currently a fourth-year Medical Sciences student at Brock University. This program introduced me to an extremely broad view of science demonstrating multiple career pathways ranging from medical physicians, dentists, and pharmacists to researchers in various biomedical disciplines. Despite the variety present in these professions, they all have the same overarching goal, which is to help people improve their quality of living. With a career in medical research in mind, I have always thought of finding or developing new medicinal applications or even improving and refining applications that are currently being used. With my experience working at a factory as well as suffering a serious injury myself, it became clear to me that musculoskeletal injuries are quite common among labor workers and athletes alike. Having Dr. Beaudette as a professor and hearing him talk about his research really piqued my interest in the field. Further reading into his work showed me that our research interests and passions aligned and that I would benefit from learning the methods that Dr. Beaudette and his graduate students use. A large part of dealing with musculoskeletal injuries is to figure out the best way to prevent it from happening in the first place. Using wearable sensors, we are hoping to create a reliable and affordable method to detect muscle fatigue-related kinematic changes earlier on to reduce workplace and sport-related injuries especially relating to lower back disorders, which is the most common and costly MSK injury. The development of these new techniques will objectively characterize how a person moves, helping to identify muscular fatigue and thereby ones risk of injury.



Hannah McMaster, NSERC USRA Student

Hannah is currently completing a Bachelor of Health Sciences in the faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. She is working alongside Aurora Battis on a research project regarding the implications of diurnal variation in the development of standing low back pain (LBP), funded through the NSERC USRA program.

There is a constant gravitational compressive load acting on the spinal column over the course of a day-night cycle (i.e., diurnal variation) that can lead to states such as decreased intervertebral disc height. Her project is aiming to both quantify diurnal changes in perception of standing LBP and to determine the roles of posture and standing balance in the development of standing LBP. The findings of this study will expand current knowledge concerning how within-day changes in spine mechanics impact the perception(s) of standing LBP, and the control of standing balance.

Hannah hopes to gain more in-depth research experience and develop transferable skills through this project. This will aid in helping her determine future degree paths to pursue following the completion of her undergraduate degree.

Alumni

MSc

Undergraduate Thesis Students

  • Aurora Battis (BMED Undergraduate Thesis)
  • Carl Alano (HLSC Undergraduate Thesis)
  • Jennifer Wator (HLSC Undergraduate Thesis)

Undergraduate Directed Study Students

  • Geoff Canal (KINE Undergraduate Directed Study)
  • Mitchell Ianiero (HLSC Undergraduate Directed Study)