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Canada Research Chair in Biomechanics of Head and Spine Injuries

About the Chair

Considering the duration and complexity of the rehabilitation process, head and spine injuries are among the leading causes of physical and psychosocial handicaps, not to mention the financial burden they impose on the healthcare system. In light of this, it is important to increase research into these types of complex injuries in order to improve understanding of them and develop new preventive and therapeutic tools.

Professor Yvan Petit looking at a piece of equipment with a student

The objective of the Canada Research Chair in Biomechanics of Head and Spine Injuries is to develop a better understanding of the interactions between head trauma and vertebral and spinal cord injuries, and to propose innovative solutions to prevent and treat these types of injuries. This research will result in the design of effective methods and tools that will change how devices for protecting and stabilizing the spine and the head are designed. It will also lead to the development and evaluation of new protection and stabilization tools aimed at reducing the risks and severity of bone and spinal cord injuries.


The theoretical and methodological framework for the proposed research program includes numeric and experimental modelling of head and spine injuries, along with the application of advanced techniques in the development and validation of innovative solutions related to the prevention and treatment of these complex injuries.

Spinal cord and equipment of the lab

Experimental modelling of head and spine injuries

  • In vivo animal models
  • In vitro human or animal specimens
  • Isolated segments and tissues

Modelling of finite elements

  • Functional units
  • Spinal segments
  • Spinal cord
  • Fluid-structure interaction

Design of protective and treatment devices

  • Spinal implants
  • Cervical, thoracic and lumbar orthoses
  • Cervical collars
  • Active and passive protective devices
  • Design for safety and health
Professor and Chairholder Yvan Petit

Yvan Petit is a mechanical engineer with a PhD in biomedical engineering. Since 2003, he has been a professor at ÉTS, where he teaches computer-assisted product development, additive manufacturing technologies, and medical device design.

Professor Petit plans to focus primarily on the following areas:

  • The biomechanics of bones and joints;
  • The evaluation, prevention and treatment of vertebral and spinal cord injuries;
  • The design of new protective and medical tools.

He has supervised more than 50 graduate students and published over 150 articles, books and book chapters. He regularly acts as an external reviewer for research theses, scientific articles, and grant proposals for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQNT and FRQS).

Contact us

Yvan Petit, PhD, Eng.
Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department
École de technologie supérieure
1100, Notre-Dame Street West
Montréal, Québec  H3C 1K3
Phone: 514 396-8691

Researcher and Head of Trauma and Acute Care Research Axis
Sacré-Cœur-de-Montréal Hospital
5400, Gouin Boulevard West
Montréal, Québec  H4J 1C5
Phone: 514 338-2222, ext. 2583

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