Using Mechanics to Protect and Rehabilitate the World Most Complex Machine

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2:30pm - 3:45pm

115 Goodwin Hall

Dr. Robin Queen
Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics
Virginia Tech


The human body has been described as the world’s most complex machine.  There are many parts that move both independently as well as in coordinated efforts in order to allow people to perform a variety of activities that healthy individuals take for granted on a daily basis.  My work over the past decade has focused on understand how the human musculoskeletal system works, what happens when one part of the system becomes injured and then how can we most effectively rehabilitate the body in order to restore normal mechanics.   Through this work I have focused on various populations from healthy individuals to patients with various joint pathology including, but not limited to ACL injuries and joint replacements.  One of the most intriguing aspects of working with human subjects is exploring how the individual chooses to compensate for pain or an injury and then what happens once you have resolved the pain. 

In order to demonstrate some of these changes in movement and coordination I will use two different examples from some of my work. We will examine methods that can be used to assess mechanics in humans followed by discussing first the compensatory mechanisms that develop in patients with osteoarthritis and then we will explore the impact of both age and injury on changes in movement variability.  Finally we will discuss the potential to use mechanics in the design of rehabilitation programs to decrease these compensatory mechanisms in order to restore function and improve long-term joint health.


Robin Queen served for 11 years as the director of the Michael W. Krzyzewski (Coach K) Human Performance Laboratory at Duke University before coming to Virginia Tech in 2015 to helm the Kevin P. Granata Biomechanics Laboratory as an associate professor in biomedical engineering and mechanics. Dr. Queen is also an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Virginia Tech Carilion Achool of Medicine, an adjunct faculty at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, and an ISCE (Institute for Society, Culture and the Environment) Affiliate. Dr. Queen has an interest in whole body mechanics with an emphasis on loading symmetry and functional outcomes following surgical interventions, and has published more than 85 peer reviewed manuscripts and 3 book chapters.  Her work is published in a variety of basic science and clinical journals. Dr. Queen is passionate about her diversity and inclusion efforts include her service to Virginia Tech as the co-chair of the Women’s Alliance, chair of the Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics diversity committee as well as serving as an at-large member of the University’s Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity.