Insigneo roll call of promotions and PhDs

Insigneo roll call of promotions and PhDs

We have such a long list of achievements and graduations to announce this month that we have decided to combine them.

Firstly, we would like to congratulate the following members of staff on their promotions:

Claudia Mazzà

Claudia has been promoted to Professor of Biomechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.




Alberto Marzo

Alberto Marzo is an Insigneo Fellow and has been promoted to Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.




Enrico Dall’Ara

Insigneo Fellow Enrico Dall’Ara has been promoted to Senior Lecturer in the Department of Oncology and Metabolism.




Fred Claeyssens

Insigneo member Fred Claeyssens has been promoted from Senior Lecturer to Reader in Biomaterials in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.




We are very proud to announce that the following students have passed their vivas recently:

Maria Cristiana Costa
Thesis title “Prediction of the risk of vertebral fracture in patients with metastatic bone lesions as a tool for more effective patients’ management”.
The aim of my project was to develop new approaches based on subject-specific FE models to provide a biomechanical analysis of strength and stability of vertebrae with metastatic lesions induced by an increase in the levels of bone resorption (i.e. lytic lesions). This may contribute for a more objective assessment of the risk of vertebral fracture in patients with lytic mestastases which nowadays are mainly assessed in clinics based on a qualitative Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score system.


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Maria Cristiana is part of Multisim and her project was funded by the Sheffield hospitals charity through the Insigneo PhD bursary.

Bart Van Veen
Title: Variability in neuromotor control of the musculoskeletal system dynamics – A stochastic modelling approach.

Insight into the forces acting on our joints during daily activities such as walking can inform us about the onset and progression of joint degenerative diseases, such as arthritis. These joint forces cannot be measured in a non-invasive manner and therefore we typically use computational, musculoskeletal models to predict these forces. During my PhD project, I looked into the assumptions in these models on how people control their muscles during walking. I found that a change in how people control their muscles has the potential to reduce the forces experienced by the hip and knee. Also, I have shown that a relatively small uncertainty in how we estimate muscle control in musculoskeletal models can have a big influence on the predicted force at the hip and knee.

What I am doing next
After my time at Insigneo ends (March 2019), my partner Barbara and I will leave on a year-long cycle tour through the south of Europe along the Silk Roads towards Central Asia. During our trip, we aim to visit universities (and biomechanics-related research groups in specific) along our route to exchange ideas and build a network within the biomechanics community. We would be very happy to present about our research and our trip if we happen to pass by you on our way. Feel free to contact me ( if you would like to be kept up to date about our trip.