Department for Health

Dr Polly McGuigan

Polly Mcguigan

Director of StudiesMSc Sport and Exercise Medicine

Applied Biomechanics Suite 1.304
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 3541

External Projects


  • Lecturer in Biomechanics since October 2005
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University 2003-2005 – Limb muscle dynamics during steady and unsteady locomotion
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biology, University of Leeds 2002-2003 – Mechanical performance of bird flight muscles
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Royal Veterinary College 2000-2002 – Does muscle and surface damping of limb vibration prevent injury in the racehorse?
  • PhD, The Royal Veterinary /catalogues/2011-2012/hl/ College, University of London – The scope for adjustment of distal limb mechanics of the horse (Equus callabus)

Research interests

  • Muscle and tendon mechanics
  • The interaction of the contractile and elastic elements of the muscle-tendon unit
  • How muscle work and power are modulated in response to different locomotor activities such as walking, running, jumping, incline/decline, acceleration/deceleration and perturbations in gaits such as tripping
  • Changes in muscle-tendon unit mechanics with ageing, injury and fatigue and the affect these have on the mechanics of joints and limb function.
  • The interaction of age related changes in muscle mechanics and neural activity and the effect these have on the ability to perform locomotor tasks.
  • The mechanics of tripping – how changes in walking velocity and the timing, magnitude and nature of the trip stimulus affect recovery mechanism and success.
  • These are investigated using a combination of ultrasound imaging, forceplate and motion analysis and EMG.

Current research projects

  • Muscle work and power modulation during level, incline and decline running and jumping and the relationship between muscle architecture and functional plasticity.
  • The aetiology of Achilles tendon injuries and their effect on the mechanical properties of the tendon and functioning of the triceps surae muscle tendon complex.
  • The effect of footwear and exercise interventions on the strain of the Achilles tendon during exercise.
  • The effect of stretching on muscle tendon unit compliance and its implications for performance and injury.
  • The Biomechanics of Trip Recovery: a combination of experimental and simulation modeling approaches are used to better understand how individuals perform a successful recovery following a trip during walking.


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