ANDREW S MERRYWEATHER

Curriculum Vitae Biosketch

Andrew Merryweather, PhD
  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Family And Preventive Medicine
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy & Athletic Training

Research

Research Summary

I am interesting in Population Aging, Disabilities and Injury Prevention Biomechanics. Wearable technology to determine occupational exposures and safe human robot interactions encompass a significant amount of my research. I'm interested in exploring new ways to collaborate with others to address these very important issues.

Research Statement

My enthusiasm for research can be summarized by the statement that hangs on a plaque above my desk, "Choose your Race, Then Run". My main research interests lie within the categories of biomechanical/biomedical design, ergonomics, safety and rehabilitation engineering, with a focus on 3D motion analysis and injury prevention and modeling. The majority of my work has focused on injury biomechanics and human centered movement analysis. I consider my "race" being able to contribute to the body of knowledge in these research areas and pioneer new technologies for the future. In many cases the work in biomechanical design and rehabilitation engineering is blended with safety, ergonomics, injury prevention and controls/robotics. My focus has been on studying complex physical movements and developing new techniques for motion capture and reactive force quantification to solve musculoskeletal models. Many of my past and current research projects have been in collaboration with researchers from other disciplines including Health Sciences, School of Medicine, College of Nursing, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Agricultural Systems Technology and Education. I have had the opportunity of working both as an individual investigator and as part of a transdisciplinary research team. It has been very rewarding as a young investigator to be part of these teams and learn from more experienced researchers. The majority of research topics I have pursued reach across disciplines to further enrich the capabilities of the research team and address complex research questions. I believe it is necessary as we look to the future to make these connections and build relationships in both academia and through private business partners. I expect that with an increased emphasis on labor costs combined with the challenges of an aging population, the need for assistive technologies, improved workplace environments through design and rehabilitation engineering will continue to surge. I believe, based on my research strengths and current interests, the probability of sustaining a successful research program is high. I intend to continue pursuing funding to further my current efforts and focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation through design. 

A list of a few of the projects I am presently involved with as investigator, advisor or co-advisor include: Quantifying the Effects of Whole Body Fatigue and Fall Risk related to Truck Drivers, Dismounting Biomechanics from Moving Railroad Equipment, Developing and Validating a New Knee Model to Quantify Joint Compressive Loading, Shoulder Model Development and Injury Prediction from Pushing/Pulling, Pneumatic Impact Tools and Hand Arm Vibration Exposure, Quantifying Lower Limb and Back Stresses on Irregular Surfaces While Carrying Backpacks, Patient Falls and Optimum Hospital Bed Design Parameters, Development of a Wearable Active Lifting Assist Device, Quantifying Torque and Thrust Forces by Fastener Head Type and Material and Design of a Paragliding Chair for Persons with Disabilities.

The broad nature of research projects and diversified research scope allow me to further reach across disciplines and make connections that will provide me with many opportunities to establish an even more successful research program in the future. I have made an effort to branch out further by learning new software for motion analysis and biomechanical modeling. In the past two years I have acquired and learned how to use Vicon Nexus™, AMASS™, Optitrak™, Visual 3D™, Arena™ and OpenSim™. AMASS™ was obtained through a University Teaching Grant to improve learning and teaching complex motion tracking. This newly acquired skillset further enables me to successfully address research questions that have been out of reach in the past. It has also given me an opportunity to enhance learning in the research lab and classroom with students. Nearly every research project presently underway or planned in the near future will utilize one or more of these research tools. I expect this skillset to continue to increase as I mature as a researcher. One of the most recent and exciting applications utilizing this newly acquired skillset is in the area of patient safety and fall prevention through hospital bed design. Over the past three years I have worked with faculty from the College of Nursing to obtain a significant source of funding to study the influence of hospital bed design and position on fall biomechanics. Currently there are no established guidelines that effectively manage this costly source of injuries. Working with my collaborators, the overall goal or this research is to develop critical design and health care practice guidelines to reduce patient falls occurring at bedside.

Over the next few years I plan to work towards establishing a center for Rehabilitation Ergonomics and Technology Advancement (RETA). I have always been open to working with others as a collaborator and am excited to explore the many opportunities that exist.

Research Keywords

  • Spine Biomechanics and 3D Motion, Interest Level: 4
  • Occupational Health and Safety, Interest Level: 4
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders, Interest Level: 4
  • Gait Analysis, Interest Level: 4
  • Ergonomics, Interest Level: 5
  • Biomechanics, Interest Level: 5
  • Balance and aging, Interest Level: 3
  • 3D Motion Analysis, Interest Level: 5

Research Groups

  • Miranda Newsome, Undergraduate Student. Mechanical Engineering. 08/24/2015 - 04/29/2016.
  • Boris Martinez, Visiting Student. BYU/Mechanical Engineering. 05/2012 - 05/2012.
  • Yi Wang, Visiting Student. Mechanical Engineering. 11/2010 - 06/2012.

Research Equipment and Testing Expertise

  • Motion Capture System - 24 Camera Optitrack (NaturalPoint) Motion Capture System - 10 Camera Flex 13.
  • The Ergonomics and Safety Lab has the equipment and tools for biomechanics research, assistive technology development and testing, and Productivity and Ergonomics Evaluations. We specialize in Musculoskeletal (MSD) research and Occupational Injury Prevention. Contact: Andrew Merryweather , 801-581-8118 , 1495 E 100 S.