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1994 …2021

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Personal profile

Research Biography

John completed his Mechanical Engineering degree in 1991 and his first employment was in Orthopaedic Biomechanical Engineering, where he found his passion and is still working in today. He was awarded his PhD in biomechanics of the intervertebral disc in 2004 at Flinders University. In mid-2005, he undertook an 18 month postdoctoral fellowship at the Departments of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, USA, one of the most prestigious spine research groups in the world. In 2009, John joined Flinders University as an Academic staff member/Biomechanical Engineer. He spent three years building his biomechanics research laboratory and program of research, and led a collaborative team to design and develop an award-winning novel, six degree of freedom hexapod robot. In 2015, he was elected to the grade of Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia in both the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Colleges.

He has expertise in bone, joint and soft tissue mechanics and the development of novel, experimental techniques to facilitate his research. He has conducted research on the hip, knee, shoulder, spine, elbow, hand and wrist as well as in fracture repair and reconstruction of soft tissue structures. He is actively involved with research collaborations both nationally and internationally. He has authored two book chapters, 50 articles, and presented over 150 papers both nationally/internationally on a wide range of biomechanical topics.

John is Director of The Flinders Surgical Lab, which has been established to enable medical device companies to provide advanced training for surgeons. He is Director of Studies (Course Coordinator) for Mechanical Engineering, and leads the experimental team of the Biomechanics and Implants Research group, Medical Device Research Institute, at Flinders University. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Spine Society of Australia.

Research Interests

John Costi is a Biomechanical Engineer with substantial experience in the conduct of experimental research into Orthopaedic Biomechanics of joints, soft tissue/bone, implants and medical devices. Expertise in the area of the spine and intervertebral disc biomechanics.

His major research interests are to understand the multiscale, complex mechanical behaviour and failure mechanisms of the discs and mechanisms of spine disc degeneration, disc tissue injury and biomechanics, knee ligament reconstruction, soft tissue mechanics and hip implant micromotion.

Multiscale characterisation of soft tissue mechanics

Established materials testing systems exist for medium to large scale determination of the mechanical function for whole biological tissues, implants and medical devices. However, in order to fully quantify the behaviour of tissue structures, an understanding of their structural and mechanical behaviour is required at the nano- and micro-scales. This information, together with macroscopic material behaviour, can be used to develop multi-scale models of tissues that will allow more complex and realistic simulations to be undertaken.

Programs of research are currently being developed at both nano and micro-scales and novel techniques are being developed to measure the micromechanical properties of soft tissue in multiple degrees of freedom.

Hexapod Robot for Biomechanics Testing

An award-winning, novel design of a Hexapod Robot has been developed within the School in collaboration with the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide, to enable complex 6 DOF testing of bones, joints, soft tissues, artificial joints and other medical/surgical devices.

Funding has been obtained by John from The Repat Foundation, the Health and Medical Research Fund, Department of Health, SA Government, as well as the School and the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The current hexapod is based heavily on the very successful Hexapod developed at the University of Vermont by Ian Stokes et al.


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