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Dr Bethany Keenan

Dr Bethany Keenan

Research Associate for the Director of Engineering

School of Engineering

+44 (0)29 2068 7650
Room S4.03, Queen's Buildings - South Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Available for postgraduate supervision

Bethany Keenan is a Post-doctoral Research Associate for the Head of School of Engineering.  She is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). She works with clinical and industry collaborators, and researchers from other Schools around the University (Biosciences, Medicine, Mathematics, Pharmacy, Psychology and Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre) to gain experience in multi-disciplinary fields.

Bethany's research interests focus on medical imaging and soft tissue mechanics. Her current work aims to better understand the biomechanical behaviour of soft tissues in the heel in order to improve pressure ulcer treatment and prevention. Novel MRI techniques have been developed to clearly identify the anatomical geometry of the Achilles tendon, calcaneus, tibia, fatpad and plantar fascia in both the healthy and deformed foot. These MRI scans are then used to create 3D subject-specific finite element (FE) models to investigate the internal strains that occur when the weight of the foot is resting on a mattress or ulcer dressing. This study is part of an ongoing project that will lead to guidelines and/or a test method that can determine which products are effective in preventing ulcers. This will potentially aid clinicians and carers to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Dr Keenan is an MR Operator at CUBRIC. She is also the Deputy Research Staff Co-ordinator at the School of Engineering and a STEM Ambassador.

Dr Keenan completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Engineering at Cardiff University in 2011. She then moved to Brisbane, Australia to read a PhD in Medical Imaging and Biomechanical Analysis of Scoliosis Progression in the Growing Adolescent Spine at Queensland University of Technology in May 2015. Her research project involved a ten month internship at Laboratoire de Biomécanique, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, France and entailed investigating the mechanics of the progressive scoliotic spine during the adolescent growth phase.

Honours and awards

2019 - Cardiff University Future Innovation Leader Award

2019 - The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales (WLCoW) Travel Award

2018 - European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel & 3M Pressure Ulcer and IAD Innovation Award.

2015 - Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders ‘Most Influential Articles of 2015’ for the paper entitled ‘Gravity-Induced Coronal Plane Joint Moments in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis’.

Grants and Scholarships

2019 - 2020 - European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Exchange Scholarship (Eindhoven University of Technology).

2019 - 2020 - National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Technology Grant of £126k for ''The SAFEST Review: The Shock-Absorbing Flooring Effectiveness SysTematic Review including older adults and staff in care settings'' (Co-applicant, Reviewer and Advisory Board member).

2018 - Newton Fund and Researcher Links 'Embracing new design technologies: enabling equitable access to health', Central University of Technology, South Africa.

2017 - Image-Based Biomedical Modelling Fellowship, University of Utah, USA.

2011 - Queensland University of Technology Supervisor Scholarship - a 3 year PhD project at QUT as part of the Florence Wilson Bequest, Brisbane.

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Engineer (Engineering Council UK)
  • Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • Member of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP)
  • Member of Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER)

Academic positions

2016 - Present: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cardiff University

February - September 2015: Clinical Research Associate with the Biomechanics and Spine Research Group, QUT and Queensland Children's Hospital, Australia

Speaking engagements


  • Centre Ingénièrie et Santé, École des Mines de Saint-Étienne, France – Campus Santé Innovations Seminar (Invited Speaker)


  • 20th Annual Meeting of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, Italy
  • World Congress of Biomechanics, Ireland


  • XXV Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Scotland
  • Asia Pacific Conference of Biomechanics, Japan
  • Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia, Australia


  • École Nationale Supérieure des Mines, St Etienne, France – Conférence IFRESIS Seminar (Invited Speaker)
  • Laboratoire de Biomécanique Arts et Métiers, ParisTech, Paris, France (Invited Speaker)
  • World Congress of Biomechanics, USA
  • International Research Society of Spinal Deformities, Japan
  • Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia, Australia


  • International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, IFMBE and Biomedical Engineering Society, Singapore
  • Asia Pacific Conference of Biomechanics, Korea
  • Adelaide Centre for Spine Research (ACSR), Symposium XI, Australia
  • Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia, Australia

Committees and reviewing







2018 - Present 
Principal Supervisor for 3rd Year Erasmus students, Institut supérieur d'ingénieurs de Franche-Comté (ISIF), Besancon, France.

2017 - Present 
Co-supervisor for 3rd Year Undergraduate and 4th Year Postgraduate Engineering Projects, MSc Orthopaedic Engineering Projects, Cardiff University.

2016 - Present 
Guest lecturer in Biomechanics for Yr 2 and Yr 3 Medical Engineering students.

Research theme: Mechanics, Materials and Advanced Manufacturing

Current collaborative projects include:

  • MRI-based 3D computational modelling of heel pressure ulcers to improve prevention and treatment of ulcers (TU/e, Netherlands and the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre)
  • Advancing neurological catheter development through MR scanning of novel hyrdogel brain phantoms. Neurological catheters are inserted into the brain phantom and infused with an MR tracer (Renishaw PLC)
  • Identification of damage criteria in pressure ulcers using the virtual fields method (Mines Saint-Étienne, France)

  • Investigating the influence of obesity on soft tissue strain response to sitting loads (Flinders University, Adelaide)
  • Biomechanical testing of hip protectors to form a Standards document (Simon Fraser University and University of Waterloo, Canada)
  • Systematic review of shock-absorbing flooring in care settings (University of Portsmouth and HSE)

Dr Keenan's research focuses on areas including:

  • Medical imaging
  • Biomechanics
  • Injury prevention
  • FE modelling
  • Soft tissue mechanics
  • Fall prevention in the elderly
  • Pressure ulcer formation and prevention

Please contact her using the above details should your interests lie within these areas.