Computational Biomechanics


The Computational Biomechanics research group combine biological data with computer software to construct a variety of biomedical models to simulate behaviours. The models can then be used to more accurately design and test new implants, therapies, and clinical procedures.

The group within MDRI have a strong focus on biomechanics, drawing on the expertise from within the biomechanics and implants research group. With expertise across micro-CT, mechanical testing and finite element analysis the group offer an integrated approach to in vitro studies.

Recent research projects include:


Investigating bone screw fixation

NHMRC funded research project

Bone screws are one of the most common orthopaedic devices, used for the attachment of implants to bone, for bone to bone fixation or for soft tissue fixation or anchorage.

In the clinical setting, surgeons will manually tighten screws until they subjectively feel that adequate purchase has been obtained. There is no quantitative feedback during placement and the stopping point purely relies on the surgeon's experience.

In low density bone, attempting to tighten to close to stripping torque can result in stripping of the threads during insertion, and may place fracture fixation at risk of premature failure. Even when a screw is recognised as having been stripped, few options exist for remedying the situation.

The purpose of this research is to investigate the stresses induced in the peri-implant bone screw tightening, using a combination of image guided failure assessment and micro-finite element analysis.


Virtual testing of orthopaedic devices

ARC Linkage funded project

Virtual testing of orthopaedic devices as part of the design and development process: strategies to account for patient and surgical variability.

Novel computational tools are being developed to help account for patients and surgical variability in the design of orthopaedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements and spinal products. These tools will reduce the time, give greater insight in implant performance and ultimately lead to safer implants with improved longevity.


Other projects include:

  • Modelling of structure and changes of structure in cancellous bone 1.
  • Computational modelling of the nerve endings at the knee joint, with the aim to represent proprioception and pain at the knee 2.
  • Understanding micro-biomechanics of bone structure utilising finite element analysis techniques 3.
  • A design of experiments approach to conducting sensitivity analyses in finite element modelling 4.
  • Use of statistical modelling to improve the prediction of femoral fracture risk from DEXA images 5.


Researcher Profile 

Dr Saulo Martelli is a post-doctoral fellow within the MDRI. Before joining the MDRI, he conducted his post-doctoral fellowship at the Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli (2008-2011, Italy) and at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Melbourne (2011-2013).

Dr Saulo Martelli's research aims at using computational models to describe human musculoskeletal mechanics during motion with focus on models of the bone structure from clinical images of hip replacements, of physical activities, and of muscle and joint forces under optimal and sub-optimal neuromotor conditions.

Dr Martelli is principal investigator on a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DE140101530) from the Australian Research Council.

For further information about Biomedical Computational Modelling research with the MDRI, contact


Lead MDRI researcher

1 M Bottema

2 M Taylor

3 M Ryan

4 D O'Rouke

5 R Lu