Musculoskeletal System

The musculoskeletal system group look in depth at organ system comprising muscles, bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues.

What is the musculoskeletal system?

In the form and function of the musculoskeletal system there is a graceful physical order that manifests itself on the organ, tissue, cellular, and molecular levels and is regulated by an interaction of mechanical forces and biological processes.

Working towards a better understanding of musculoskeletal form and function

Our ageing and overweight population is leading to an epidemic of musculoskeletal and movement disorders, such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and stroke.The Musculoskeletal Modelling Group develops computational models informed by novel sensing and medical imaging to explain and predict the form and function of the musculoskeletal system with the goal of improving the assessment and treatment of movement disorders.

Research questions

  • Can we reduce the burden of osteoarthritis by changing the way we move?
  • Can we improve the lives of children with neurological disorders by developing smart splints that improve rehabilitation?
  • Can we increase the recovery of stroke by using novel controllers for robotic rehabilitation?

The musculoskeletal research group at the ABI is gaining international recognition for areas such as:

  • The FDA for the development of the Musculoskeletal Atlas Project (a software framework to virtually test orthopaedic devices and streamline the process of FDA regulation),
  • New Zealand industry (e.g. Ossis Ltd) for greatly speeding up the manufacture of 3D printed titanium hip implants through patient-specific modelling
  • Sports teams (e.g. the Australian Institute of Sport for wearable devices for monitoring performance).  

We seek to be the world leader in the virtual testing of musculoskeletal implants and in the combination of musculoskeletal modelling, coupled with wearable wireless sensors for analysing performance. This is for both clinical assessment during rehabilitation and for improved performance in sports.


Primary contact

Thor Besier


Massoud Alipour
Thor Besier
Julie Choisne
Justin Fernandez
Geoffrey Handsfield
Harnoor Monk Saini And Paul
Marco Schneider
Vickie Shim
Ted Yeung


The Musculoskeletal Modelling Group gratefully acknowledges the support of its current funding partners:

International linkages

  • Australia: University of Melbourne, Griffith University, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, University of Western Australia and Flinders University
  • Germany: Fraunhofer and University of Stuttgart
  • US: Stanford University and CalPoly