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Biomechanics expert Thomas Buchanan awarded University’s highest faculty honor: youtube.com/watch?v=n8zJoeKdsz0

Prof. Thomas Buchanan to present Francis Alison Lecture

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson | Illustration by Joy Smoker | Video by Sam Kmiec

Engineering educator to speak Dec. 8 on using biomechanics to understand disease

Thomas Buchanan, recipient of the University of Delaware’s 2022 Francis Alison Award, will present his Francis Alison lecture at 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Audion at STAR Tower on UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

His lecture, “Neuromusculoskeletalicious! Using biomechanics to estimate forces inside the body and understand disease,” will focus on how muscles play a critical role in the distribution of forces in all human tissues. Buchanan said information on these forces is difficult to obtain, requiring either implantation of sensors or estimation using mathematical models. 

“Accurate knowledge of muscle forces would enable us to better treat difficulties such as the gait disorders associated with stroke or the development of osteoarthritis following sports medicine injuries,” he said. “In this talk, I will discuss our approach to estimating forces in muscles and other tissues, why we think the estimations are accurate and how they can be used to study neuromusculoskeletal problems.”

The lecture also will be live streamed at sites.udel.edu/udlive/francisalison. A reception will be held in the Atrium following the lecture.

Buchanan, who recently retired from a joint professorship in the College of Engineering’s Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, is an internationally recognized and award-winning bioengineering educator and doctor of theoretical and applied mechanics. From establishing groundbreaking research to serving as department chair and deputy dean to leading renowned rehabilitation and research centers at the University, Buchanan’s work has shown the true impact of interdisciplinary collaboration and inspired future generations of engineers and scientists to pursue real, impactful solutions for everyday people in need.

In 1996, he joined the faculty at UD, where he taught mechanical engineering and biomechanics and movement science, before leading the Center for Biomedical Engineering Research two years later. From there, he was promoted from associate professor to professor of mechanical engineering, became the department chair in 2004 and then deputy dean of the College of Engineering in 2008. In 2009, he was named the George W. Laird Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and awarded the same prestigious title for the Department of Biomedical Engineering the following year. From 2010 to 2021, he served as institute director of the Delaware Rehabilitation Institute, now known as the Center for Human Research Coordination.

Prior to joining UD, he served as the associate director of the Sensory Motor Performance Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and as an assistant professor and research assistant professor at Northwestern University. 

The Francis Alison Award is the University’s highest faculty honor, which is named after the Rev. Dr. Francis Alison, who in 1743 founded the institution that is now the University of Delaware, and annually goes to one faculty member who exemplifies “the scholar-schoolmaster.”

Thomas Buchanan, George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, is the 2022 Francis Alison Award recipient, the University of Delaware’s highest faculty honor.
Thomas Buchanan, George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, is the 2022 Francis Alison Award recipient, the University of Delaware’s highest faculty honor.

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