Queen's University

Queen's opens world-class research lab at Hotel Dieu Hospital


The nuts and bolts of how our bodies walk, run, work, and play will be under scrutiny in a new Queen’s University research laboratory opened today at Hotel Dieu Hospital.

The Human Mobility Research Lab (HMRL) is a world-class facility, designed to measure the biomechanics of how we move in our more demanding contemporary workplaces and recreational activities—everything from lifting objects and climbing stairs to playing golf and running wind sprints.

“Keeping people mobile is the name of the game,” says Kevin Deluzio, the lab’s principal investigator and associate professor in the department of mechanical and materials engineering at Queen’s.

“One of every three Canadians will be significantly affected by musculoskeletal disease during his or her lifetime. This lab is geared towards developing new treatments for disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Capturing and measuring motion will give us a clearer understanding of how we can help people’s bodies function better.”

About half of the 3000-square-foot lab is wide open, affording plenty of room for participants to walk or jog. Force plates embedded in the floor will measure impact, wall-mounted cameras will provide motion analysis, and video fluoroscopy—a type of high-speed x-ray—will image the interior workings of the joints.

The $1.5 million facility is supported in part by generous donations from the family of the late Don McGeachy (Science ’40)) and by Queen’s supporters Betty and Michael Dicketts. Funding is also provided by Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ministry of Research and Innovation, and Queen’s University.

The lab creates a unique partnership between the Human Mobility Research Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital. The close proximity to the specialized orthopaedic clinics at Hotel Dieu creates a strong clinical connection, providing a major advantage for researchers.

“The potential research benefits and results from this lab will be published and disseminated nationally and internationally,” says Hotel Dieu CEO David Pichora who is also a professor at Queen’s University. “It’s very well positioned to be one of the leading gait labs in the world.”

The lab will be the meeting point for disciplines such as medicine, engineering, health sciences and information technology. This kind of collaboration is essential to innovation and to translating new knowledge into clinically important applications.

“Queen’s is widely recognized for excellence in scholarship, research, social purpose and spirit,” says Queen’s Vice-Principal (Research) Steven Liss. “This lab is a great example of a learning environment that brings together our research partners and fosters leadership in all these areas.”

Media contacts:

Anne Craig, Queen’s Media Relations, 613 533-2877, anne.craig@queensu.ca

Anne Rutherford, HDH Public Relations, 613-544-3380, ext. 3380

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Last updated at 3:43 pm EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
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