Researcher

Dr Kirsty McDonald

Fields of Research (FoR)

Biomechanics, Biomedical Engineering, Medical Devices, Motor Control, Human Movement and Sports Science

Biography

With a strong foundation in the biomechanics and physiology of human movement, my research has three key pillars: (i) exploring what humans optimize in various locomotor environments and (ii) determining how they do it, whilst (iii) applying these insights to improve the quality of life of people with movement disabilities. I investigate the multi-factorial prioritization scheme of walking and running gaits in an attempt to broaden our...view more

With a strong foundation in the biomechanics and physiology of human movement, my research has three key pillars: (i) exploring what humans optimize in various locomotor environments and (ii) determining how they do it, whilst (iii) applying these insights to improve the quality of life of people with movement disabilities. I investigate the multi-factorial prioritization scheme of walking and running gaits in an attempt to broaden our understanding of how humans with and without movement disabilities balance competing locomotor objectives (e.g., minimizing energy cost, maximizing stability, minimizing their risk of musculoskeletal injury/fatigue). In addition, I explore the control targets involved in sensing and regulating these optimality criteria (e.g., does muscle level signaling drive energy cost minimization?). Finally, I explore the distinctive challenges associated with assistive technology use, questioning if we can improve the design of devices such as prostheses, orthoses, and exoskeletons to complement the principal criteria prioritized by the user.


My Grants

 

Year Details
2021 UNSW Medicine + Health, School of Health Sciences, Networking Seed Grant Scheme. Exploring device use recommendations to optimize health outcomes for children who use lower limb prostheses. Co-Investigators: Broderick, C., van Doorn, N., Scott, T.

My Qualifications

2018 PhD, The University of Western Australia
2013 BSc(Hons), The University of Western Australia
2011 BSc, The University of Western Australia

My Research Activities

 Peer-Reviewed Publications

Year Details Link
2021 Ziemnicki, D., Caputo, J., McDonald, K.A., Zelik, K.E. Development and Evaluation of a Prosthetic Ankle Emulator with an Artificial Soleus and Gastrocnemius. Journal of Medical Devices (ASME). Accepted  
2021 McDonald, K.A., Teater, R.T., Cruz, J.P., Kerr, J.T., Bastas, G., Zelik, K.E. Adding a toe joint to a prosthesis: walking biomechanics, energetics, and preference of individuals with unilateral below-knee limb loss. Scientific Reports. 11; 1924. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-81565-1 Available Here
2020 Yandell, M., Ziemnicki, D., McDonald, K.A., Zelik, K.E. Characterizing the Comfort Limits of Forces Applied to the Shoulders, Thigh and Shank to Inform Exosuit Design. PLOS ONE. 15(2); e0228536. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228536 Available Here
2019 McDonald, K.A., Cusumano, J.P., Peeling, P., Rubenson, J. Multi-objective control in human walking: insight gained through simultaneous degradation of energetic and motor regulation systems. Journal of The Royal Society Interface. 16(158); 20190227. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0227 Available Here
2019 McDonald, K.A., Honert, E.C., Cook, O.S., Zelik, K.E. Unholey shoes: experimental considerations when estimating ankle joint complex power during walking and running. Journal of Biomechanics. 92; 61-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.05.031 Available Here
2019 McDonald, K.A., Devaprakash, D., Rubenson, J. Is conservation of center of mass mechanics a priority in human walking? Journal of Experimental Biology. 222(9); jeb195172. doi: 10.1242/jeb.195172 Available Here
2019 Nicholas, J.C., McDonald, K.A., Peeling, P., Jackson, B., Dimmock, J.A., Alderson, J.A., Donnelly, C.J. Pole dancing for fitness: the physiological and metabolic demand of a 60-minute class. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 33(10); 2704-10. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002889 Available Here
2019 McDonald, K.A., Honert, E.C., Cook, O.S., Zelik, K.E. Ankle joint complex power during walking and running: effects of marker location, and shoe- vs. skin-mounted markers. Footwear Science. 11(Sup1); S51-S52. doi: 10.1080/19424280.2019.1606073 Available Here
2016 McDonald, K.A., Stearne, S.M., North, I., Alderson, J.A., Pires, N.J., Rubenson, J. The role of arch compression and metatarsophalangeal joint dynamics in modulating plantar fascia strain in running. PLoS ONE. 11(4); e0152602. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152602 Available Here
2016 Stearne, S.M., McDonald, K.A., Alderson, J.A., North, I., Oxnard, C.E., Rubenson, J. The foot’s arch and the energetics of human locomotion. Scientific Reports. 6; 19403. doi: 10.1038/srep19403 Available Here
2015 Caulfield, S., McDonald, K.A., Dawson, B., Stearne, S.M., Green, B.A., Rubenson, J., Clemmons, T.D., Peeling, P. A comparison of haemolytic responses in fore-foot and rear-foot striking distance runners. Journal of Sport Sciences. 34(15); 1485-1490. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1119300 Available Here

 

Conference Abstracts

Year Details
2021 Eveld, M.E., Wolfe, A.E., Cruz, J.P., Sifuentes, N.J., Ausec, B.N., Zelik, K.E., McDonald, K.A. Task-specific device use in paediatric prosthesis users. 12th Australasian Biomechanics Congress, In Review
2021 McDonald, K.A., Teater, R.H., Zelik, K.E. Does a prosthetic toe joint affect mechanics or preference when persons with limb loss walk on uneven terrain? XXVIII Congress of the International Women in Biomechanics, Virtual
2021 Teater, R.T., McDonald, K.A., Zelik, K.E. Exploring Effects of Prosthetic Ankle and Toe Joint Range of Motion on Activities of Daily Living. XXVIII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Virtual
2021 Ebrahimi, A., Kessler, S., Montgomery, J., Banks, C., McDonald, K., Daniels, K., Maharaj, J. What womxn want: Using the International Womxn in Biomechanics organization to help womxn in biomechanics thrive. XXVIII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Virtual
2021 Ziemnicki, D.M., Caputo, J., McDonald, K.A., Zelik., K.E., Effects of an artificial gastrocnemius and powered ankle prosthesis on transtibial prosthesis user gait. 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Virtual
2020 Molitor, S., Zelik, K., McDonald, K. On the importance of applying appropriate joint angle normalization to multi-segment foot models. Biomedical Engineering Society Conference, Virtual
2020 Molitor, S., Zelik, K., McDonald, K. Comparison of joint mechanics of the dominant vs non-dominant lower limbs during locomotion. 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Virtual
2020 Teater, R.T., McDonald, K.A., Bastas, G., Zelik, K.E. Asymmetry, Instability and Functional Deficits in Transtibial Prosthesis Users During Squatting, Lifting and Sit-to-Stand. 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Virtual
2020 Ziemnicki, D.M., McDonald, K.A., Zelik., K.E. Combining an Artificial Gastrocnemius and Powered Ankle Prosthesis: Effects on Transtibial Prosthesis User Gait. 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Virtual
2020 McDonald, K.A., Cusumano, J.P., Hieronymi, A., Rubenson, J. Decoupling the metabolic and neuromuscular cost of human walking. Dynamic Walking 2020, Virtual
2019 McDonald, K.A., Teater, R.H., Cook, O.S., Bastas, G., Zelik, K.E. The Biomechanical and Met-toe-bolic Effects of Walking on a Passive Prosthetic Foot with an Added Toe Joint. XXVII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Calgary, Canada
2019 Teater, R.H., McDonald, K.A., Cook, O.S., Bastas, G., Zelik, K.E. Addition of a Passive Toe Joint: Considerations for Passive and Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Design. XXVII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Calgary, Canada
2019 McDonald, K.A., Honert, E.C., Cook, O.S., Zelik, K.E. Ankle joint complex power during walking and running: effects of marker location, and shoe- vs. skin-mounted markers. XXVII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Calgary, Canada
2019 McDonald, K.A., Hieronymi, A., Cusumano, J.P., Rubenson, J. Optimization in Human Walking: Decoupling Whole-Body Energetics and Local Muscle Effort. XXVII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Calgary, Canada
2019 McDonald, K.A., Honert, E.C., Cook, O.S., Zelik, K.E. Ankle joint complex power during walking and running: effects of marker location, and shoe- vs. skin-mounted markers. 14th Biennial Footwear Biomechanics Symposium, Kananaskis, Canada
2018 Nicholas, J.C., McDonald, K.A., Peeling, P., Jackson, B., Dimmock, J.A., Alderson, J.A., Donnelly, C.J. The physiological and metabolic demand of a standardized 60-minute pole dancing class. 23rd Annual Congress of the European College for Sport Science, Dublin, Ireland
2016 McDonald, K.A., Peeling, P., Rubenson, J. Preferred walking speed selection in normal and perturbed gait environments. 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Raleigh, USA
2016 McDonald, K.A., Peeling, P., Rubenson, J. Preferred walking speed selection in normal and unstable gait environments. Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement, Sterling, USA
2015 McDonald, K.A., Stearne, S.M., North, I., Alderson, J.A., Rubenson, J. The role of arch compression and metatarsophalangeal joint dynamics in modulating plantar fascia strain in running. XXV Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Glasgow, UK

 


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

PhD & Masters

The Locomotion Research Group is always on the lookout for applicants with a keen interest in locomotor biomechanics, optimality and/or assistive technology. Domestic and international candidates can apply for an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship through the University of New South Wales, with multiple rounds/start dates available each year. Please get in touch via email if you would like to discuss these opportunities further.

Undergraduate

Undergraduate students from the University of New South Wales who are interested in i) learning more about Honours/4th year research projects, or ii) volunteering as a research assistant, are encouraged to email Dr McDonald to discuss.


Currently supervising

Year Student Topic area University Supervisory Role
2021 Key Nahan, PhD student Locomotor optimality UNSW Primary supervisor
2021 Dayeon (Cathy) Jung, Hons student Reactive balance and falls prevention UNSW Primary supervisor
2021 Maoling Lim, Hons student Reactive balance and falls prevention UNSW Co-supervisor
2021 Nicole Nanayakkara, Hons student Reactive balance and falls prevention UNSW Co-supervisor

 


My Teaching

HESC2451: Biomechanics

HESC2452: Movement Assessment and Instruction

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Publications

by Dr Kirsty McDonald