Postdoctoral position available: Active spring muscle model - a new phenomenological model of skeletal muscle mechanics

Understanding Machina Carnis, how our muscles mechanically generate movement, is one of the fundamental research questions in human movement science and also has significant implications in many application areas. Phenomenological muscle models, such as the Hill-type muscle model, have been widely used in studies on motor control and biomechanics. However, the performances of such models in predicting the dynamic contractile behaviours of the muscle, such as eccentric or sub-maximal contractions, are known to be far from accurate.

This BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, United Kingdom)–funded postdoctoral research associate will join Dr Sang-Hoon Yeo’s research group to develop a new phenomenological model of the skeletal muscle mechanics. The key idea is to incorporate a newly proposed “active spring model” that involves titin as the third filament, together with actin and myosin filament, that actively regulates the mechanical behaviour of the muscle (see figures below). This new model is expected to be effectively utilized in various areas involving musculoskeletal simulation models, where the current prevalent use of the Hill-type model is identified as a major limiting factor. For two years starting in early 2019, the research associate will lead the first stage of the study focusing on in-vitro muscle/fiber experiments and model development. The research programme includes one-month visits to two prominent muscle biomechanics laboratories: 1) Prof Walter Herzog’s lab in University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada) and 2) Prof Kiisa Nisikawa’s lab in Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, USA) to carry out data collection. Based on the collected data, the research associate will lead the data analysis, computational modelling and simulation of a new muscle mechanics model, and will also collaborate with other research associates to apply the developed muscle model to human biomechanics.

The host institution, The University of Birmingham, is a Russell Group university in the vibrant City of Birmingham, United Kingdom. The university has produced eleven affiliated Nobel laureates and is also known as a cradle of modern muscle mechanics, dating back to the seminal work of Peter Rack and David Westbury. The School of Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, where the research associate will be based, is a world-leading research institution in sport science, ranked 5th in the world (QS World Ranking, Sport-related subject).

This highly interdisciplinary project is waiting for an ambitious and open-minded individual with substantial experience in computational motor control and muscle/musculoskeletal biomechanics. Individuals whose expertise lies in engineering and physical science and want to apply your skills in muscle biomechanics are also strongly encouraged to apply. Experience in wet-lab work is preferred but not strictly required. If you are interested to apply, please contact the principal investigator Dr Sang-Hoon Yeo ( to initiate discussion.