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Human Movement Science

Our Research Expertise

VSimulators at Exeter provides the opportunity to explore motion, trips and falls, independent living, quality of life, wellbeing, exercise, health and societal impacts caused by motion impairment in vulnerable groups. Mobility impairment and falls are associated with a large personal and societal cost, with problems being attributed to a combination of individual factors (physical, cognitive and psychological) combined with environmental conditions. VSimulators offers the opportunity to study multi-factorial mechanisms, such as simulating falls to help understand the mechanisms of balance, falls, near-falls and active ingredients, which may form the basis of rehabilitation programmes. This research links into the built environment, for example influencing the design of hospitals and consideration for how those with balance issues can access public transport. Additionally, VSimulators supports world-renowned research experts in the fields of sport and health sciences, identifying opportunities for innovation in footwear, pitch design and training methods.

A dedicated academic group has developed to explore interdisciplinary collaborative research to fully explore and understand human motion, the causes of trips and falls, and improving methods of intervention. The Human Movement Science Group looks at the optimisation of elite performance to the maintenance of physical activity for people with impaired functioning, such as patient groups or injured athletes.

Our Academic Team

Professor Sallie Lamb is an internationally recognised scholar in ageing, disability and rehabilitation at the Exeter Medical School. She is also an experienced methodologist in the area of clinical trials and high quality evaluation of health care practice. She was previously the Director of the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit and Centre for Rehabilitation Research at the University of Oxford. In 2020, Sallie will serve as a panel member and inter-disciplinary expert for the Higher Education Funding Council of England Research Excellence Framework assessment phase. She has served as a Chair of the Health Technology Assessment Board and other senior roles in National Institute of Health Research and is a Trustee of the Versus Arthritis charity. Sallie has a strong commitment to improving the lives of older people through excellent research that answers difficult questions and can inform policy making and commissioning. She works to ensure research is translated into practice and to drive up the quality of methods and reporting used in medical research. Sallie has mentored and supervised many early career scientists, and is a strong advocate for team working and gender equality in the work place.

Professor Vicki Goodwin (MBE) is based at the Exeter Medical School as Associate Professor of Ageing and Rehabilitation. She specialises in rehabilitation as part of a Complex Interventions research group. She is renowned for contributions to research in Parkinson's, dementia, osteoporosis and frailty. Her main research interest is the care of older people, particularly in relation to rehabilitation, preventing falls in Parkinson's, physical activity for older people and physiotherapy for older people and those with hip fractures. The video below provides further insights on her research expertise.

Professor Mark Wilson, is both Head of Department for Sport and Health Sciences and a professor in Performance Psychology based in the world renowned Sport and Health Sciences faculty at the University of Exeter. He is a leading expert in visuomotor skill acquisition, with applied research which crosses boundaries in sport, surgery, military application and clinical populations. Such research is increasingly drawing upon the use of virtual reality as a tool to influence cognitive functions.

Dr Sharon Dixon in an Associate Professor in Biomechanics at the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. She is an expert in Human Movement Science and investigates the influence of footwear interventions on Achilles tendon loading, lower extremity overuse injury mechanisms and the influence of footwear, inserts and surfaces on lower limb biomechanics and injury risk.

Dr Will Young is a Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation Psychology at the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. His research relates to the topic of falls prediction and prevention, both in older adults and people with neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's. He is particularly interested in examining how anxiety (about falling) can influence the control of balance/walking. Research is conducted both in the laboratory (using virtual reality, eye tracking and biomechanical analyses) and in the community (working with physiotherapists and clinicians specialising in neurological rehabilitation) with the goal of developing practical and low-cost strategies to help prevent falls and improve mobility.

Dr Hannah Rice is a Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics in the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. She undertakes extensive research in lower limb overuse running injuries, altered gait and retraining of movement using real-time feedback. Currently she is working on modelling approaches to estimate the stresses experienced by these bones during human movement. This involves gait analysis, inverse dynamics, musculoskeletal modelling, beam theory and finite element analysis.

Dr Genevieve Williams, is a Lecturer in the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. Her research area focuses on the coordination and control of human movement, mostly related to stability and adaptability. She also researches how the stability and adaptability of the dynamics of movement change as a function of skill level, perturbation, ageing or pathology. Dr Williams is part of the Human Movement Science Group and the Exeter Biomechanics Research Team (ExBIRT).

Dr Jessica Tyrrell is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School. Her main research interest involves using genetics to explore causal relationships to improve our understanding of type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. In addition to her research interest in metabolic disorders, she also researches vestibular conditions of the inner ear, including Meniere's disease.

For more information, the videos below explore existing areas for Human Movement Science research using VSimulators at University of Exeter. Alternatively, visit the Case Studies pages to explore the different research projects which are supported through the use of VSimulators.

Professor Sallie Lamb discusses her work in improving the health and well being of older people

Professor Vicki Goodwin - Academic Research in VSimulators

Dr Will Young - Academic Research in VSimulators

Dr Genevieve Williams - Academic Research in VSimulators

Professor Vicki Goodwin MBE discusses her work in mobility and geriatric care