Convener: Alex Breen

"CBR - working collaboratively with clinical, basic science and industrial partners"

Centre for Biomechanics Research (CBR)

Mechanical disorders of the spine add more to world disability than any other illness and the annual cost of them runs to many billions. High quality biomechanics research into these conditions is essential, but problematical given the location of the spine deep in the body. The AECC University College Centre for Biomechanics Research (CBR), under the direction of Alan Breen Professor of Musculoskeletal Research, is an international leader in addressing this problem.

The Centre has specialist expertise in medical physics and clinical biomechanics. We have access to a dedicated Fluoroscopy lab, an on-site upright, open MRI scanner and other biomechanical measurement devices. Beyond this, CBR works internationally in collaboration with clinical, basic science and industrial partners to further our understanding of inter joint biomechanics through quantitative imaging biomarkers.

Take part in our latest study

We need over 100 volunteers to come forward to take part in establishing a database of spine mechanics of the low back in healthy adults. This is the biggest study of its kind and those who volunteer for this research study will get the chance to see their spine move in real-time and get a free DVD of their spine motion. At this stage, we are focusing our recruitment for a sub-study in which we need 15 female volunteers to take part.
Read more and download the pre-study form to register your interest in taking part.


1. To develop tools for the measurement and interpretation of dynamics and stresses in the musculoskeletal system.
2. To conduct multidisciplinary and collaborative research into biomechanical measures for the diagnosis of musculoskeletal pain and disability.
3. To generate subject specifics measures of inter joint biomechanics through quantitative imaging biomarkers.

Find out more about Research Convener Alex Breen


Latest News

  • Is space travel a pain in the butt? (King's College London / and the European Space Agency)
    • The problem with reduced gravity for astronauts is that it can lead to back problems when they return to ‘Earthside’. This is thought to be due to the swelling in the discs in their spines during space flight. Dr Phil Carvil of King's College London engaged CBR to test a possible countermeasure to disc swelling using their unique imaging facilities. 
  • New Advance in the Assessment of Spinal Stresses (Exeter)
  • Personalised Biometrics
    • In early 2018 Professor Alan Breen was asked to present a keynote lecture at Cardiff University’s Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair. In his talk titled “individualised assessment of aberrant intervertebral kinematics” Alan summarised the CBR’s work in establishing a clinical and research tool to identify a ‘subject-specific marker’ for abnormal spinal mechanics in people whose spinal pain doesn’t respond to treatment. International interest in this subject has no doubt led to CBR’s four latest papers which focus on this subject being downloaded over 5,200 times since being published online (Mellor 2014Breen 2017, Breen 2018, du Rose 2018)  

 Keep up to date with CBR latest research here

Get involved

If you are interested in the work we are doing in the centre, and wish to collaborate, contribute or discuss our research, please get in touch with me:
View all Research Centres