Alex Breen

BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, MIPEM - Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Technology Lead for Quantitative Fluoroscopy

Alex is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Biomechanics Research and a Lecturer in the School of Chiropractic where he teaches Biomechanics and Research methods. Alex has a background in Medical Physics (MSc), and Biomechanics (PhD) is responsible for the biomechanical and computational processes involved in the University college's Quantitative Fluoroscopy (QF) system, as well as radiation protection.


Alex Breen graduated from Exeter University with a Degree in Physics with medical applications in 2005. In 2007 he joined the AECC University College's Centre for Biomechanics Research (CBR) where he has been working in research groups investigating the biomechanics of the spine. This research has mainly involved developing, sourcing, maintaining, upgrading, validating and modifying image processing programs for spinal imaging analysis for research and commercialisation. At the same time, Alex undertook his MSc (part-time) in Medical Physics, followed by a PhD (full time) in Prosthetics and Biomechanics while continuing to support doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in the centre. He was part of the first cohort of the Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (CARL) fellowship scheme, implemented for the development of early-career researchers.

Current Activity

Alex is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Biomechanics Research (CBR) and a Lecturer in the School of Chiropractic where he teaches Biomechanics and Research methods. He is also unit lead on the Gateway courses "Introduction to Health Research".

In CBR Alex is responsible for the biomechanical and computational processes involved in the college's Quantitative Fluoroscopy (QF) system, as well as radiation protection. He supervises and trains collaborative researchers and PhD students in the analysis of spine kinematics using this system.

Alex is currently undertaking work to understand further the emerging motion biomarkers for low back pain that have been identified using the QF Systems. He is collaborating internationally to further the understanding of spine function by combining QF and surface electromyography, as well as the construction of individualised dynamic mathematical models of intervertebral loading based on QF and 3-D MRI imaging.

Area of Interest

Areas of interest include: Musculoskeletal Research, Medical Physics, Spine, Biomechanics and Prosthetics.


  • BSc (Hons) Physics with medical applications
  • MSc Medical Physics,
  • PhD Prosthetics and Biomechanics
  • Certified radiation protection supervisor.


  • Chiropractic Academy for Research Leadership (Senior Fellow)
  • Society for Back Pain Research (Executive committee Member)
  • Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and Technology (Visiting Associate)
  • Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (Member)
  • North American Spine Society (Member).


  • Clinical relevance of dynamic lumbar intervertebral motion sharing. (National Institute of Health Research)
  • Estimation of in vivo intervertebral loading during motion using fluoroscopic and magnetic resonance imaging informed finite element models. (Chiropractic Research Council)
  • Evaluation of residual limb movement of unilateral amputees within the prosthetic socket. (Bournemouth University)
  • Minimal detectable change in intervertebral kinematic measures in human subjects. (European Council for Chiropractic Research Excellence)
  • Effects of a skinsuit to simulate gravitational forces in microgravity environments on lumbar intervertebral kinematics. (Kings College London and European Space Agency).

View/download Alex Breen's research in the AECC University College Research Repository.


Brownhill, K., Mellor, F., Breen, Ax., Breen, A., Passive Intervertebral Motion Characteristics in Chronic Mid to Low Back Pain: a Multivariate Analysis. Medical Engineering & Physics, (Aug 2020) DOI:

Breen, A., Mellor, F., Morris, A. and Breen, Ax.,. An in vivo study exploring correlations between early-to-moderate disc degeneration and flexion mobility in the lumbar spine. European Spine Journal, (July 2020) pp.1-9. DOI:

Funabashi, M., Breen, Ax., De Carvalho, D., Henry, A., Murnaghan, K., Pagé, I., Wong, A.Y. Kawchuk, G., Center of rotation locations during lumbar spine movements, JBI Evidence Synthesis (June 2020) - Volume 18 - Issue 6 - p 1305-1312 doi:

Breen, Ax,. Breen, A., 2020. Dynamic interactions between lumbar intervertebral motion segments during forward bending and return. Journal of Biomechanics, p.109603. (Mar 2020) DOI:

De Carvalho, D.E., de Luca, K., Funabashi, M., Breen, Ax., Wong, A.Y., Johansson, M.S., Ferreira, M.L., Swab, M., Kawchuk, G.N., Adams, J. and Hartvigsen, J. Association of Exposures to Seated Postures with Immediate Increases in Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Studies With Objectively Measured Sitting Time. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. (Jan 2020) DOI:

Breen Ax, Claerbout E, Hemming R, Ayer R, Breen AC. Comparison of intra-subject repeatability of quantitative fluoroscopy and static radiography for the measurement of lumbar intervertebral flexion translation. Scientific Reports (Dec 2019) DOI:

G Kawchuk, S Miazga, I Pagé, M Swain, D De Carvalho, M Funabashi, Ax Breen, A Wong. Clinicians' Ability to Detect a Palpable Difference in Spinal Stiffness Compared With a Mechanical Device, Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics (Feb 2019) DOI:

Breen Ax; R Hemming; F Mellor; A Breen. Intra-subject repeatability of in vivo intervertebral motion parameters using quantitative fluoroscopy. European Spine Journal, 28(2), 450-460, (Feb 2019) DOI: .

Pagé, I., Swain, M., Wong, A., Breen, A., De Carvalho, D., Descarreaux, M., Funabashi, M. and Kawchuk, G., Correlations Between Individuals' Characteristics and Spinal Stiffness in Individuals With and Without Back Pain: A Combined Analysis of Multiple Data Sets. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, (Dec 2018) DOI:

du Rose A, Breen Ax, Breen A. Relationships between muscle electrical activity and the control of inter-vertebral motion during a forward bending task Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology (Accepted), available online: 12-SEP-2018 DOI:10.1016/j.jelekin.2018.08.004.

Breen Ax; Mellor F, Breen A,. Aberrant intervertebral motion in patients with treatment-resistant nonspecific low back pain: a retrospective cohort study and control comparison. European Spine Journal (June 2018) DOI: 10.1007/s00586-018-5666-1.

Adams, J., Kawchuk, G., Breen, Ax., De Carvalho, D., Eklund, A., Fernandez, M., Funabashi, M., Holmes, M.M., Johansson, M.S., de Luca, K., Moore, C., Page, I., Pohlman, K.A., Swain, M.S., Wong, A.Y.L., Hartvigsen J. Leadership and capacity building in international chiropractic research: introducing the chiropractic academy for research leadership (CARL).Chiropractic & manual therapies, 2018 26(1), p.5. DIO: 10.1186/s12998-018-0173-3.

Meakin J, Zanjani-pour S, Breen Ax and Breen A. Estimation of in vivo inter-vertebral loading during motion using fluoroscopic and magnetic resonance image informed finite element models. Journal of Biomechanics 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.09.025.

Breen A, Breen Ax. Uneven intervertebral motion sharing is related to disc degeneration and is greater in patients with chronic, non-specific low back pain: an in vivo, cross-sectional cohort comparison of intervertebral dynamics using quantitative fluoroscopy. European Spine Journal. 2017 Aug 16:1-9. DOI: 10.1007/s0058.

Breen A, Breen Ax, Mellor F, du Rose A, Bentman S. Control of intervertebral Motion: A Critical Element of Spine Control and a Target for Treatment. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (in press).

Breen Ax., Breen A.: Accuracy and repeatability of quantitative fluoroscopy for the measurement of sagittal plane translation and finite centre of rotation in the lumbar spine. Medical Engineering & Physics April 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2016.03.009.

Breen Ax., Dupac M., Osborne N.: Attainment rate as a surrogate indicator of the intervertebral neutral zone length in lateral bending: An in vitro proof of concept study. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 10/2015; 23(1); DOI:10.1186/s12998-015-0073-8.

Mellor F, Breen Ax: Ionizing radiation exposure and the development of intervertebral disc degeneration - No case to answer. The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society 03/2013; 13(3):224-6. DOI:10.1016/j.spinee.2012.07.039.

van Loon I., Mellor F., Breen Ax: Accuracy and repeatability of sagittal translation of lumbar vertebrae in vitro and in vivo using quantitative fluoroscopy. Clinical Chiropractic 12/2012; DOI:10.1016/j.clch.2012.09.001.

Breen A., Teyhen D., Mellor F., Breen Ax., Wong K.W.N, Deitz A.: Measurement of Intervertebral Motion Using Quantitative Fluoroscopy: Report of an International Forum and Proposal for Use in the Assessment of Degenerative Disc Disease in the Lumbar Spine. Advances in Orthopedics, 2012(3):802350; 05/2012; DOI:10.1155/2012/802350.

Contact Details

Phone: 01202 436 369



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