Brooke Slavens

Brooke Slavens

  • Richard and Joanne Grigg Professor of Mechanical Engineering, EMS Office 1080
  • Affiliate Faculty of Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science & Technology

Dr. Slavens is currently investigating the prevention of secondary conditions of the shoulder in manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury across the lifespan. She is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and the VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (RR&D). She is also the Director of the Mobility Lab at the Innovation Campus Accelerator Building. The lab is cross affiliated with the College of Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Science & Technology and the College of Engineering & Applied Science Department of Biomedical Engineering.


  • NIDRR ARRT Postdoctoral Training Pediatric Mobility Marquette University 2010
  • PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, 2007
  • MS, Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, 2004
  • BS, Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, 2001

Research Interests

  • Dynamics of human movement
  • Musculoskeletal modeling
  • MRI and ultrasound musculoskeletal imaging
  • Rehabilitation engineering
  • Orthopaedic biomechanics

New interests in human motion analysis have directed research to the area of upper extremity. To quantify the upper extremity, the Movement Analysis for Biomedical Innovation & Technology (Mobility) Lab has developed a validated 3D inverse dynamics model for assessment of pediatric mobility. The model can be used to characterize shoulder, elbow and wrist joint forces and moments. It is being applied to subjects with myelomeningocele, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and osteogenesis imperfecta to characterize crutch, walker and wheelchair mobility to better understand joint load demands. Due to long-term assistive device usage, these mobility device users may be at an increased risk for developing upper extremity pain or pathologies.

Further research interests include musculoskeletal and finite element modeling to investigate the tissue level effects of long-term joint loading from assistive device usage. Research may improve clinical intervention strategies, therapeutic gait planning and offer insight to long-term joint loading effects.

Selected Publications

Google Scholar Link

  • Xiao, C., Jahanian, O., Slavens, B.A., Hsiao-Wecksler, E.T. Design and Biomechanical Evaluation of Pneumatic Sleeve Orthosis for Lofstrand Crutches. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems & Rehabilitation Engineering,1109/TNSRE.2022.3226519, Advanced online publication, 2023.
  • Jeong, H.J., Engel, J.M., Wilwert, O., Muriello, M.J., Basel, D.G., Slavens, B.A. Pain Characteristics and Symptom Management Strategies in Children with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 10.1080/01942638.2022.2163601, Published ahead of print, 2023.
  • Leonardis, J.M., Schnorenberg, A.J., Vogel, L.C., Harris, G.F., and Slavens, B.A. The Influence of Age at Pediatric-Onset Spinal Cord Injury and Years of Wheelchair Use on Shoulder Complex Joint Dynamics During Manual Wheelchair Propulsion, Archives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Translation, 4(4): 100235, 2022.
  • Koontz, A.M., Neti, A., Chung, C.S., Ayiluri, N., Slavens, B.A., Davis, C.G., Wei, L. Reliability of 3D Depth Motion Sensors for Capturing Upper Body Motions and Assessing the Quality of Wheelchair Transfers. Sensors (Basel), 22: 4977, 2022.
  • Jahanian, O., Gaglio, A., Cho, C.C., Muqeet, V., Smith, R., Morrow, M.M., Hsiao-Wecksler, E.T., Slavens, B.A. Hand-rim Biomechanics During Geared Manual Wheelchair Propulsion Over Different Ground Conditions in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Biomechanics, 142: 111235, 2022.
  • Hanks, M.M., Schnorenberg, A.J., Lee, K.K., Slavens, B.A. Three-Dimensional Biomechanics of the Trunk and Upper Limb during Overhead Throwing in Wheelchair Lacrosse Athletes with Spinal Cord Injury. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001989, Advanced online publication, February 11, 2022. In proof March 16, 2022.
  • Schnorenberg, A.J., French, M.E., Riebe, J.M., Grindel, S.I., Slavens, B.A. Shoulder Complex Kinematics Pre- and Post- Rotator Cuff Repair. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 62: 102331, 2022.
  • Jahanian, O., Schnorenberg, A. J., Muqeet, V., Hsiao-Wecksler, E., Slavens, B. A. Glenohumeral Joint Dynamics and Shoulder Muscle Activity During Geared Manual Wheelchair Propulsion on Carpeted Floor in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 62: 102318, 2022.
  • Hanks M.M., Leonardis J.M., Schnorenberg A.J., Krzak, J.J., Graf, A., Vogel, L.C., Harris, G.F., Slavens, B.A. The Influence of Sex on Upper Extremity Joint Dynamics and Pain in Pediatric Manual Wheelchair Users with Spinal Cord Injury. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 27(3): 26-37, 2021. Winner of the 2022 American Spinal Injuries Association Vogel Award.
  • Jones, C., Schnorenberg, A.J., Garlanger, K., Leonardis, J.M., Kortes, S., Riebe, J., Plesnik, J., Lee, K., Slavens, B.A. Biomechanical Analysis of Wheelchair Athletes with Paraplegia During Cross-Training Exercises. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Jun 8: 1-16, 2021.

Positions and Scientific Appointments

  • 2021 - National Institutes of Health (NIH), Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences (MRS) Study Section
  • 2020 - Broadscope Disability Services, Board of Directors

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • 2023 - Best Podium Presentation, Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society
  • 2022 - Vogel Research Award for Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, American Spinal Injury Association
  • 2022 - Presidential Award for Early Career Science and Engineering, NIH Nomination
  • 2020 - Nominated for the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, US National Awards
  • 2020 - Dean’s Research Award, College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • 2019 - Diversity Travel Award, American Society of Biomechanics/AMTI Force and Motion Foundation