Professor Steve Preece
School of Health and Society
Professor of Biomechanics & Rehabilitation
Steve is the Director of the Centre for Health Sciences Research. In this role, he is responsible for fostering a vibrant research culture across the school, enabling staff from a wide range of academic backgrounds to develop their research profile. His own research is focused around musculoskeletal biomechanics and wearable sensor technology. He has now published over 45 papers in this area, attracted over £1.2M in research funding and supervised 11 PhD students to completion.
Steve’s research seeks to understand whether abnormal ways of moving, or coordinating muscles, can lead to musculoskeletal pain or other physiological impairment, such as altered breathing. Using biomechanical research techniques (e.g. electromyography), his research explores the links between muscle coordination and pain, how alterations in postural control affects muscle activation during movement and how to deliver effective muscle biofeedback. Using this knowledge, Steve aims to create new physiotherapy-led interventions.
With funding from the NIHR, he has created a completely new behavioural intervention for knee osteoarthritis which integrates concepts from biomechanics, pain science and health psychology. This intervention incorporates EMG biofeedback and is referred to as “Cognitive Muscular Therapy”. Visit the cognitive muscular therapy hub website for more details. Steve has recently been awarded £250K from the NIHR to carry out a feasibility trial to understand how effective this new treatment may be for people with knee osteoarthritis who do not respond to exercise-based management. Building on this success, Steve has also been awarded £400K from the EPSRC to create a new digital health system to manage dysfunctional breathing. This project will deliver a novel biofeedback system which uses avatar-based visualisation to enable patients to improve the muscular control of breathing. Read the digital health project news article for more details.
Steve has a strong research profile in the biomechanics of human running. This work seeks to explore the links between running injury and movement/muscle coordination. Steve aims to use this understanding to develop and test ways of treating running-related injuries and has used his understand of human running to set up two commercial running performance clinics.
Steve teaches on a number of Master’s level modules across the areas of research methods, biomechanics and prosthetics and orthotics. He is current supervising one PhD student who is funded through an externally sponsored iCase with Cardinus Risk Management Ltd. He has acted as an external PhD examiner at the University of Cambridge and Southampton.
Areas of research
Biomechanics, Running, EMG, Knee Osteoarthritis, Biofeedback, Wearable Sensors
- MSc Trauma & Orthopaedics
- MSc Advancing physiotherapy
- MSc Prosthetic & Orthotic Science
- School Research Methods Module (MSc)
- The biomechanics of human running
- Movement and muscle coordination in running and its role in running injury
- Characteristics of elite runners
- Movement and muscle coordination in knee osteoarthritis
- New interventions for knee osteoarthritis
- Biofeedback applications
- Wearable technology applications in health and sport
- BSc Hons Physics
- PhD Engineering Mathematics