SOE Research Seminar - Community Situated Biomechanics Labs for Equity in Musculoskeletal Research and Stem Outreach Research Seminar

Date: 01-21-2021

Time: 01:00 PM



Community Situated Biomechanics Labs for Equity in Musculoskeletal Research and Stem Outreach 

Dr. John Drazan 

University of Pennsylvania 

1-2 pm 

Thursday, January 21th, 2021 

Zoom meeting ID: 93601921234 

Poor musculoskeletal health is the leading cause of doctors’ visits, long-term disability, and is closely associated with increased mortality. Musculoskeletal health issues are especially prevalent in racial and ethnic minority and socioeconomically marginalized groups, yet these groups are less likely to receive treatment, even when provided equal access to care. These disparities in musculoskeletal health outcomes are reinforced in biomechanical research due to the widespread use of convenience sampling to recruit biomechanical study subjects. Dr. Drazan’s research seeks to create a new paradigm for biomechanics research where biomechanical measurement is incorporated into community engagement to recruit new populations of subjects who are not convenient to sample with current practices. Specifically, he designs and deploys low-cost, mobile biomechanical measurement tools to study the relationship between musculoskeletal structure and function. Examples of these new mobile tools include isodamping dynamometry, markerless motion tracking, and mobile force plates. These tools can be deployed in community accessible venues which allows for the large scale, prospective study of musculoskeletal development among underrepresented populations. This authentic fusion of academic research and service promises to not only improve our scientific understanding of musculoskeletal health, but to also address fundamental inequities in our society. 

Biosketch: John Drazan is an IRACDA postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the Human Motion Lab where he studies the relationship between muscle structure and function to understand how muscles remodel in response to aging, injury, or training. As a former collegiate basketball player whose love of basketball motivated his scientific career, Dr. Drazan performs extensive sport-science outreach programming which has engaged over 10,000 youth over the past decade. His outreach work has garnered multiple awards including Best Research Paper at the 2017 MIT-Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and the 2020 Early Career Award for Public Engagement from the AAAS. 

For more information, contact School of Engineering / 4147 /