Hugh Williamson Gait Laboratory/Orthopaedic Department

Research Overview

Under the campus partnership, our research is embedded in MCRI.  Full research profile may be found at https://www.mcri.edu.au/research/themes/clinical-sciences/gait-lab-orthopaedics.

The research group in the Hugh Williamson Gait Laboratory includes Biomedical Engineers (Dr Morgan Sangeux), Postdoctoral  Fellow, MCRI (Elyse Passmore), Doctoral candidate, UOM, Melissa Louey. Physiotherapists (Pam Thomason, Senior Clinical Physiotherapist and Gait Laboratory Manager, Dr Tandy Hastings-Ison, Postdoctoral researcher, Liz Martin and Jessie McKay). Orthopaedic Surgeons (Professor Kerr Graham, Mr Paulo Selber and Mr Abhay Khot).

The group in the Hugh Williamson Gait Laboratory are involved in a series of interconnected studies including gait biomechanics, outcome studies and international collaborations.

Clinical Research

Pam Thomason has led the group's initiative into outcomes of Single Event Multilevel Surgery (SEMLS) including a randomised clinical trial, with 5-year follow-up and currently investigating 10-year outcomes.  In addition our group is collaborating with centres in Europe to conduct the largest, longest term follow-up of adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy following SEMLS in the literature to date.  An important part of the clinical trials group has been the development and assessment of new outcome tools. Scholarly Selective Students recently completed a pilot study in the use of the GOAL: "The Gait Outcomes Assessment List (GOAL): Validation of a new measure of gait function for children with cerebral palsy" which has now become integrated into routine Gait Laboratory follow-up.

Dr Tandy Hastings-Ison is working with ambulant children who have cerebral palsy and walk on their tip-toes.  She is investigating how often Botulinum Toxin-A injections, or the type of cerebral palsy may affect the time to calf lengthening surgery. The title of her project is: Botox injections for spastic equinus in ambulant children with cerebral palsy: Long-term follow-up and time to surgery.

Dr Morgan Sangeux's research focuses on helping children with cerebral palsy. Morgan uses and develops neuro-biomechanical models of the lower-limb during walking to understand the mechanisms that prevent children with cerebral palsy to walk similarly to their typicaly developing peers. Morgan uses and develops various means to capture the movement of the lower limbs during walking, including stereophotogrammetry, bi-plane fluoroscopy, digital video and wearable IMU sensors. Morgan also develops new measurement and analysis tools for medical imaging given the major role imaging has in paediatric orthopaedics.  In the last 20 years, the Gait Laboratory at The Royal Children's Hospital, has collected gait analysis data on thousands of patients, often pre and post surgical interventions.  One stream of Morgan's research aims to leverage this data to propose semi-automatic interpretation of gait analysis and to predict surgical outcomes.

Elyse Passmore is finishing her PhD on biomechanical modelling.  During her PhD, Elyse has developed innovative tools to measure torsional deformities on gait in typically developing children and in children with cerebral palsy.

Melissa Louey is a Biomedical Engineer with 3 years experience in the Gait Laboratory at The Royal Children's Hospital, and is starting her PhD in the School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne.  Melissa will develop innovative tools to measure the movement of the upper limb in children with cerebral palsy.  She will also develop neuro-motor models to help understand the effect of cerebral palsy on gait.

Cerebral Palsy/Orthopaedic Department

Within the Orthopaedic Department, Senior Clinical Physiotherapist Kate Willoughby leads research in management of the hip for children with cerebral palsy.  Kate is the coordinator for a randomised clinical trial investigating the outcomes of adductor surgery versus bony reconstructive surgery in younger children with moderate degrees of hip displacement. In addition Kate is the Melbourne coordinator involved in the Children's Hip Outcome Project (CHOP), a collaboration with researchers in the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and multiple other sites internationally.

Within the area of hip management, Leena Zhou is a University of Melbourne Masters student conducting research into appropriate implants in bony reconstructive surgery for the hip.  This work entails development of a standardised method for reporting of medical and surgical adverse events after orthopaedic surgery in children with cerebral palsy (Modified Clavien-Dindo (MCD) system.

NH&MRC CRE in Cerebral Palsy: Professor Kerr Graham is Co-Chief investigator with Professor Dinah Reddihough of the CP-CRE.

Collaborators

  • NH&MRC CP-CRE, Chief Investigators: Professor Dinah Reddihough, Professor H.Kerr Graham, Professor Christine Imms, Professor Nadia Badawi, Associate Professor Michael Coory, Professor Eve Blair, Professor Rob Carter.
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Professor Unni Narayanan, Dr Darcy Fehlings, Professor H. Kerr Graham, Dr R Hamdy, Dr Kishore Mulpuri.

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Masters, Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.