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Dr Gemma Whatling MEng PhD CEng MIMechE FHEA

Dr Gemma Whatling

MEng PhD CEng MIMechE FHEA

Senior Lecturer - Teaching and Research

School of Engineering

Email
whatlinggm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6348
Campuses
T0.09, Trevithick Building, The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

Dr Gemma Whatling is a Chartered Medical Engineer specialising in Biomechanics and Orthopaedics. Her research interests include human movement, osteoarthritis, orthopaedics, treatment planning, rehabilitation, gait retraining, monitoring patient recovery, functional classification and medical device design.

She is a co-investigator for the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis, where she co-manages two work packages, leads a package of work developing gait retraining and works with a team to understand biomechanical and biological changes for patients undergoing high tibial osteotomy and total knee replacement surgery.

She also leads research in the area of hand and wrist biomechanics, collaborating with local surgeons, occupational therapists and physiotherapists within the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Current grants in this area include the 2020 FESSH basic research award to define 'Kinematics at the base of the normal thumb' using novel imaging methods and MRC funding to develop novel solutions for hand rehabilitation.

She is a co-investigator for the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility, contributing to the design and development of this £5M Facility and the novel techniques developed within.

She works with clinicians and Industry to develop research aligned to healthcare priorities, driven by impact, innovation and clinical translation to maximise patient benefit.

Memberships and Fellowships

  • Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Orthopaedic Research Society
  • Member of the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER)
  • International Travelling Fellowship 2012, British Orthopaedic Research Society
  • Trustee of the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust 2007 (since 2013) http://swieet2007.org

Key Awards

  • 2013 Rising Star Award, Cardiff University
  • 2011 Karen Burt Memorial Award, Women’s Engineering Society
  • 2009 Travel Bursary, Welsh Livery Guild
  • 2008 David Douglas Award, SWIEET2007
  • 2006 Mercia Award, The Worshipful Company of Engineers

Biography

Gemma is a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, specialising in biomechanics and orthopaedic engineering. She is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She graduated with a first-class honours MEng degree in Medical Engineering (2005) and PhD on the classification of knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement recovery (2009), both from Cardiff University.

During a short postdoctoral position, she gained a Welsh Livery Guild Bursary from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales to undertake a research visit to Dr Freglys laboratory at the University of Florida. After this, she was employed as a Cardiff Academic Fellow for the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis, establishing biomechanical aspects of a longitudinal patient-based study to define altered biomechanics and loading associated with High Tibial Osteotomy, alongside continuing studies on total knee replacement biomechanics. She worked with three-dimensional motion analysis, biomechanics, classification, musculoskeletal modelling and dynamic fluoroscopy imaging with image registration. Through early career grants, she established bi-plane fluoroscopy capabilities using two c-arms to investigate knee kinematics and explored predicting patient outcome in order to inform surgical design, in collaboration with the University of Florida.

During her Academic Fellowship she was awarded the prestigious International Travelling Fellowship in 2012 from the British Orthopaedic Research Society, where she travelled the globe to visit research teams at The Hospital for Special Surgery and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the Kolling Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and University Charité Julius Wolf Institute in Berlin. She was also awarded funding from Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering Repair to undertake a research visit to Dr Ilse Jonkers Laboratory in KU Leuven, to undertake training and collaborative work on Musculoskeletal modelling for High Tibial Osteotomy patients.

After her Academic Fellowship she was invited to be a co-applicant of the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility at Cardiff and now co-manages two work packages, involving longitudinal studies of total knee replacement and high tibial osteotomy. She leads major projects within these packages of work, including the development of gait retraining for the management of degenerative joint disease.

She leads research in the area of hand and wrist biomechanics, diagnosis and therapy, with her papers referenced in the 2014 report by the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand and 7th Edition of Green’s Operative Hand Surgery (2016), a gold standard surgery textbook. She collaborates with local surgeons, occupational therapists and physiotherapists within the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and they were awarded the 2020 FESSH basic research award to define 'Kinematics at the base of the normal thumb' using novel imaging methods. She is also developing novel devices for hand therapy.

She was a co-applicant on for the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility at Cardiff, contributing to the design and development of this £5M Facility and the novel techniques developed within.

Gemma’s research interests include human movement, osteoarthritis, orthopaedics, treatment planning, rehabilitation, gait retraining, monitoring patient recovery and medical device design. She works with clinicians and Industry to develop research aligned to healthcare priorities, driven by impact, innovation and clinical translation to maximise patient benefit.

Honours and awards

  • 2013 Rising Star Award, Cardiff University
  • 2012 International Travelling Fellowship, British Orthopaedic Research Society
  • 2011 Karen Burt Memorial Award for ‘most outstanding newly Chartered woman engineer’, Women’s Engineering Society
  • 2009 Travel Bursary, Welsh Livery Guild
  • 2008 David Douglas Award, South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust
  • 2006 Mercia Award, The Worshipful Company of Engineers

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Engineer (IMechE)
  • Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Orthopaedic Research Society
  • Member of the Women’s Engineering Society

Academic positions

  • 2014-present: Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering, Cardiff University
  • 2013-2014: Senior Research Fellow, Schools of Engineering and Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2009-2013: Cardiff Academic Fellow, Schools of Engineering and Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2009: Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Engineering, Cardiff University

Speaking engagements

Invited International talks

  • Talks on ‘Biomechanical Investigation and Classification of Joint Function’ at:
    • The Hospital for Special Surgery and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, 2012
    • Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, 2012
    • Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2012
    • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 2012
    • University Charité, Julius Wolf Institute, Berlin, 2012
  • Talk on ‘Imaging and data acquisition for orthopaedic assessment’ for MediTech meeting on Imaging and methods in biomedical engineering, Paris, 2008
  • Talk on ‘Biomechanics Research in knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement’, University of Florida, 2007

Invited UK talks

  • Talk on ‘Biomechanical changes after HTO surgery’ at the British Orthopaedics Association Congress 2020 as part of the BORS session entitled ‘Mechanical and biological considerations for osteoarthritis’.
  • Lecture on 'biomechanical investigation of patients with knee osteoarthritis' to the Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology MSc students, Imperial College London, 2014
  • lecture on ‘applications of gait and motion analysis’ as part of a module on physiological measurement and assessment, University of Leeds, 2007
  • Invited speaker at the Women’s Engineering Society Student Conference, 2014.

Invited Industry talks

  • Speaker at the Hospital Innovations training afternoon on Knee Biomechanics, 2014
  • Talk on ‘Knee joint biomechanical changes following High Tibial Osteotomy’ at the Ossur Academy Knee Seminar, Falmouth 2011

Committees and reviewing

Cross-University Committees:

  • Management committee of the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis (2012-present)
  • Research Committee of the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis (2011-present)
  • Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Committee of the Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis (2019-present)
  • Cardiff Institute of Engineering and Repair Executive Committee (2015-2017)
  • Cardiff University Athena Swan Steering Group (2014-2015)
  • Cardiff Institute of Engineering and Repair research Committee (2013-2015)
  • Founding member and Chair of the Cardiff Women in Science Committee (2013-2015)
  • Founding member of the Early Career researchers Network, College of Physical Sciences of Engineering (2012-2015)

School of Engineering Administrative duties:

  • Medical Engineering Admissions Tutor (2019-present)
  • Teaching Laboratory Manager within the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility (2019 – present)
  • Athena Swan self-assessment team member, School of Engineering (2009-2018)
  • Medical Engineering Degree Scheme Tutor (2016-2017)
  • MSc Orthopaedic Engineering Course Tutor (2014-2015)

External Committees:

  • Trustee of the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust 2007 (2013-present) http://swieet2007.org
  • Council Member of the Women’s Engineering Society (2014 – Present)
  • Trustee of the Women’s Engineering Society (2012 – 2014)

Reviewing

  • EPSRC Associate Peer Review College membership (2020 – present)
  • MSc Examiner – Salford University
  • PhD Examiner - Cardiff University
  • Journal Reviewer for national and international journals
  • Abstract reviewer for the 32nd Annual Congress of the International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty 2019

Publications

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

Teaching

I contribute to the teaching and project supervision on the following modules:

  • EN4107 - Biomechanics & Biomedical Engineering
  • EN4419 - Ergonomics
  • EN1048 - Engineering Applications (Medical engineering design, make and test activity)
  • EN3100 - Year 3 project supervision
  • EN2451 - Biomechanics 1

I also manage the teaching laboratory within the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility

Contracts

Title

Role

Sponsor

Value

Duration

Novel solution for hand rehabilitation

PI

MRC-Confidence in Concept Scheme (Biomedical Catalyst)

£49,107

2020-2021

ARUK Biomechanics & Bioengineering Centre

Co-I

Arthritis Research UK

£200,000

2021- 2023

Research Infrastructure Fund - High-density electromyography

Co-I

HEFCW

£59,140

2021

Personalised virtual surgery for optimised knee arthritis treatment

Co-I

Accelerate

Academic expertise providing matched funding

2020-2021

Kinematics at the base of the normal thumb: An analysis of healthy thumbs combining bi-planar fluoroscopy, motion capture and 3D modelling

Principal Collaborator

Federation of European Societies for Surgery of the Hand

€9907

2019 - 2021

From brain to biomechanics: quantifying human dexterity

Co-I

Wellcome Trust (ISSF3)

£45,668

2019 - 2021

Past Grants

Title

Role

Sponsor

Value

Duration

ARUK Biomechanics & Bioengineering Centre

Co-I

Arthritis Research UK

£420,000

2016 - 2020

Musculoskeletal Research Centre

Co-I

Welsh Government

£2,500,000 (Cardiff University match funded £2,500,000)

2015 - 2019

Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre

Co-I

Arthritis Research UK

£19,974

2014 - 2015

Investigation of gait and functional activities using 3D motion analysis in patients with knee osteoarthritis and in normal healthy volunteers

Co-I

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Pte Ltd

£104,221

2014 - 2016

Upgrading the small equipment base for early career researchers in the Engineering and Physical Sciences

Co-I

EPSRC

£498,326

2012 - 2013

Development of a novel surgical planning tool for high tibial osteotomy and a used musculoskeletal model to determine the changes in internal knee loading.

PI

EPSRC

£93,927

2012 - 2013

The relationship between alignment, function and loading in total knee replacement: In-vivo analysis of a unique patient population

Co-I

Furlong Research Charitable Foundation

£29,562

2011 - 2012

Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Biomechanics
  • Orthopaedics
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Surgical and rehabilitation outcome
  • Surgical planning
  • Movement disorders
  • Rehabilitation
  • Gait retraining
  • Therapy medical device design

Current PGR Projects

Title

Student

Status

Degree

Does gait retraining have the potential to slow OA development and prolong the benefits of knee realignment surgery

Jake Bowd

Current

PhD

Quantifying the interactions and effects of joint function, pathology and pain in end-stage OA to understand why Total Knee Replacement outcomes vary

Marina De Vecchis

Current

PhD

Current supervision

Jake Bowd

Research student

Marina De Vecchis

Research student

Past projects

Project Title

Student

Status

Degree

Development and validation of biplane fluoroscopy

WILLIAMS  David Elwyn

Graduated

PhD

Dynamic modelling of the shoulder complex

LAFTA Hassanain Ali

Graduated

PhD

Muscle strategies and mechanical loading in patients with osteoarthritis

GHAZWAN Aseel Mohammed Ali Hussein

Graduated

PhD

Classification of Biomechanical Changes in Gait Following Total Knee Replacement: An Objective, Multi-feature Analysis

BIGGS Paul Robert

Graduated

PhD

Development of novel methodologies to quantify, analyse and classifiy in-vivo knee function affected by aging, osteoarthritis and total knee replacement

WATLING Daniel

Graduated

PhD