School of Engineering

Medical and Biological Engineering Research Group


The MBE Group’s expertise lies in modelling and simulation in biomechanics and biomedical engineering and use of those techniques in predictive medicine and biology.

Our primary interests are:

The mechanobiology of bone and skulls

This includes: (1) at the cellular level – modelling of the osteocyte network and its control of the mechanotransduction, modelling of the bone remodelling cycle and modelling of bone diseases; (2) at the tissue level – modelling the basic (re)modelling processes of bone, and modelling the effect of changes in musculoskeletal function on osteoporosis and in Perthes’ disease; and (3) at the organ level – modelling the biomechanics of skulls, including various primate, lizard, pig, sheep, rabbit and rodent skulls.

The long term goal of the work is to develop a fully integrated multiscale model of bone. As part of that work we are developing our own voxel-based finite element software VOX-FE, for the analysis of very large-scale, high-resolution models of bone structures.

The biomechanics of insect heads

The primary goal of the research is to understand the evolution of insect mouthparts and head capsules and the particular contribution of these structures to their overall evolutionary success.

Cardiovascular stents


Current and recent supporters of our research include Action Medical Research, BBSRC, Department of Health, DFG, EPSRC, Leverhulme, MRC, NERC, OSPREY, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society

Latest publications

In the recent REF2014 exercise, over 85% of our publications were judged to be 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'. 

  • M Moazen, E Peskett, C Babbs, E Pauws, MJ Fagan. Mechanical properties of calvarial bones in a mouse model for craniosynostosis. PLoS ONE 10:5: e0125757. LINK (open access) 
  • PJ Watson, MJ Fagan, CA Dobson. 2015. Sensitivity to model geometry in finite element analyses of reconstructed skeletal structures: Experience with a juvenile pelvis. Journal of engineering in Medicine, 229:1, 9-19. LINK (open access)
  • G Gosselin, MJ Fagan. 2015. Foam pads properties and their effects on posturography in participants of different weight. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 23:2. LINK (open access)
  • B Ji, Q Yang, P Genever, MJ Fagan. 2014. Investigating the efficacy of bisphosphonates treatment against multiple myeloma induced bone disease using a computational model. Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering 24:6, 3373-3378. LINK (open access)
  • PJ Watson, F Gröning, N Curtis, L Fitton, A Herrel, S McCormack, MJ Fagan. 2014. Multi-body dynamics modelling of the rabbit skull. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 6:11, 20140564. LINK (open access)
  • SW McCormack, U Witzel, PJ Watson, MJ Fagan, F Gröning. 2014. The biomechanical function of periodontal ligament fibres in orthodontic tooth movement. PLoS One 9:7 e102387. LINK (open access)
  • B Ji, R Patton, P Genever, D Putra, MJ Fagan. 2014. Mathematical modelling of the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma-induced bone disease. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering – in press. LINK (open access)
  • Porro LB, Ross CF, Iriarte-Diaz J, O'Reilly JC, Evans SE, Fagan MJ. 2014. In vivo cranial bone strain and bite force in the agamid lizard Uromastyx geyri. Journal of Experimental Biology 217, 1983-92. LINK (open access)
  • N Curtis, U Witzel, MJ Fagan. 2014. Development and 3D morphology of the zygomatico-temporal suture in primate skulls. Folia Primatologica, 85: 77-87. LINK (open access)  + open access supplementary information
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