Researcher

Dr Rachel Evelyn Ward

My Expertise

Biomechanics, including three-dimensional (3D) analysis of human movement (i.e. 3D kinematics & kinetics, electromyography, force plates, inertial measurement units).

Dance biomechanics and movement education - PhD thesis title "Biomechanical perspectives on classical ballet technique and implications for teaching practice".

Dance for health - currently researching effects of dance as a therapeutic modality across different age groups and health conditions

Fields of Research (FoR)

Human Movement and Sports Science, Biomechanics, Motor Control, Dance

Biography

I obtained a PhD in Biomechanics from UNSW in 2012, before taking up a full-time academic position in the UNSW School of Medical Sciences. 

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the UNSW School of Health Sciences. I have worked as a Biomechanist in gait analysis laboratories at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, and have over 14 years of experience as a dance educator.

My primary areas of tertiary teaching...view more

I obtained a PhD in Biomechanics from UNSW in 2012, before taking up a full-time academic position in the UNSW School of Medical Sciences. 

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the UNSW School of Health Sciences. I have worked as a Biomechanist in gait analysis laboratories at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, and have over 14 years of experience as a dance educator.

My primary areas of tertiary teaching and research include biomechanics, motor learning and skill acquisition. I have a strong interest in investigating the biomechanics of dance and other movement practices, and assessing the therapeutic effects of dance for people of all ages and abilities.


My Grants

2019-20: Goldstein D, Park S, McCrary MJ, Simar D, Ward R. The effect of exercise training on neurophysiologic, functional, and quality of life deficits in cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. World Cancer Research Fund International, AU$99,958.

2018: Thom J (CI), Arnold R, Booth J, Boutcher Y, Jones M, Kwai N, McAuley J, Parmenter B, Simar D, Ward R, Housley G, Birznieks I, Potas J, Vickery R, Smith G, Herbert R, Bolsterlee B, Cederholm J, Khamis H. SoMS Human Participant Laboratories Level 1 Wallace Wurth. UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme, AU$539,980.

2016: Lord S (PI). … (co-investigators listed alphabetically, incl. Ward R). UNSW Major Research Equipment and Infrastructure Initiative Scheme (MREII), AU$218,097.


My Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy, UNSW

Master of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW

Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching, UNSW

Bachelor of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney

Graduate Certificate in the Pilates Method, UTS

Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management, Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD) 

Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) 


My Awards

2018    UNSW Medicine Faculty Teaching Award: Teaching Excellence

2018    UNSW School of Medical Sciences Award: Community Engagement

2016    UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award: Teaching Excellence - Contributions to Student Learning

2016    UNSW School of Medical Sciences Award: Teacher of the Year

2015    UNSW School of Medical Sciences Award: Contribution to the Student Experience


My Research Activities

My research activity relates to analysis of human movement, with an aim to contribute to the development of guidelines for therapeutic exercise prescription, injury prevention, and assessment of methods for effective motor skill acquisition. My scope of research ranges from assessment of motor skill development in paediatric populations through to detailed analysis of the highly skilled movement of dancers and athletes. I am very interested in investigating the therapeutic effects of dance as an exercise modality for people of all ages and abilities, and promoting safe dance techniques for elite dancers.

Broad Research Areas:

Biomechanics, Movement Analysis, Motor Learning, Motor Skill Aquisition, Dance

Specific Research Keywords:

Biomechanics, Human Movement Analysis, Motor Skill Aquisition


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

  • Biomechanics of human movement
  • Motor learning and skill acquisition
  • Dance technique and dance for health

Currently supervising

  • Eliza MacDonald - MSc candidate - "Ballet After Breast Cancer" - Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of a 16-week classical ballet intervention for breast cancer survivors, with secondary aims to assess the quality of life, upper-body function, muscular strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness of breast cancer survivors.
  • Michael Ling - PhD candidate - "Application of advanced signal processing techniques to mechanomyography".

My Engagement

In addition to my role as a tertiary educator and researcher, I am a former professional dancer, and currently a Registered Teacher and Practical Teaching Supervisor of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and Certified Teacher of the Dance Health Alliance (DHA). I teach classical ballet and contemporary dance for children and adults at various locations across Sydney, and regularly deliver dance classes tailored specifically for older adults, including those with dementia and Parkinson's Disease.

I am currently an active member of the national and international dance medicine and dance science community. At the national level, I am on the Executive Committee (currently Treasurer) of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH), and am Chair of Dance Research Collaborative (DaRC), a group of dance researchers, clinicians, educators and students from tertiary institutions across Australia. The group focuses on dance-related research in the areas of health, education, performance, injury and epidemiology. Internationally, I am a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), to which I regularly contribute through review of conference abstracts and adjudication of conference awards. I am also currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.


My Teaching

Program Authority for the UNSW Bachelor of Exercise Physiology (2014 - present)

Academic Advisor for the UNSW Bachelor of Exercise Physiology (2013 - present)

Course Convenor and Lecturer for HESC2452 Movement Assessment and Instruction (2012 - present)

Lecturer for HESC3592 Neuromuscular Rehabilitation (2012 - present)

Lecturer for HESC1501 Introductory Exercise Science (2011 - present)

 

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Location

School of Health Sciences
Exercise Physiology Department
Room 218, Level 2 Walluce Wurth Building
UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052

Contact

+61 2 9065 8926