The University of Western Australia

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Jonas Rubenson

Adj/A/Prof Jonas Rubenson

Adjunct Associate Professor
Musculoskeletal Tissue Mechanics and Muscle Energetics (School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health)

Contact details
Musculoskeletal Tissue Mechanics and Muscle Energetics
The University of Western Australia (M408)
35 Stirling Highway
Personal homepage
BSc PhD W.Aust.
Dr. Jonas Rubenson is an Assistant Professor in the Biomechanics Group within the School of Sport Science, Exercise & Health at UWA. His expertise lies in study of musculoskeletal mechanics, in particular in vivo muscle function during movement and the relationship between muscle function and locomotor energetics. Dr. Rubenson received his PhD from the University of Western Australia, where he studied the role of mechanical energetics as a determinant of the energy cost of bipedal running. Subsequent post-doctoral positions at Northeastern University (Boston, MA) and Stanford University (Stanford, CA) saw Dr. Rubenson gain expertise in both mechanical and energetic measurements of skeletal muscle in animal models (e.g. sonomicrometery and blood flow measurements) as well as experimental measurement and musculoskeletal modeling of muscle function in humans.
Dr. Rubenson now runs the Muscle Function + Locomotion Lab, who’s aim is to identify the fundamental principles underlying muscle function during locomotion. The lab adopts experimental and modeling approaches in both humans and animal systems, and applies this knowledge to improving human health and performance. Current projects involve measuring human muscle strain, force and force-length operating ranges during movement in both healthy and clinical populations (in particular in Chronic Heart Failure). Future work aims at applying this information in technologies for enhancing human gait, such as improving locomotor economy and reducing muscle and tendon injuries.
Dr. Rubenson’s work has been published in leading biology, biomechanics and physiology journals such as Proc. R. Soc. Lond, B., J. R. Soc., Interface, J. Exp. Biol. and J. Appl. Physiol. Dr. Rubenson is a member of the International Society of Biomechanics, the Society of Experimental Biology and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Key research
skeletal muscle and tendon function during locomotion
muscle mechanics
muscle and locomotion energetics
Google Scholar:

Submitted papers at review:

1.Nathan, D., Huynh, D., Rubenson, J, Rosenberg, M.. Estimating physical activity energy expenditure with the Kinect sensor in an exergaming environment. Submitted PLoS ONE.

2.Stearne, S.M., McDonald, K.A., North, I, Oxnard, C.E., Alderson, J.A., and *Rubenson, J. Sole-searching: the effect of the foot’s arch on the energetics of human locomotion. Submitted Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B.

3.Hutchinson, J.R., Rankin, J.W., Rubenson, J., Rosenbluth, K.H., Siston R.A., and Delp, S.L. Musculoskeletal modeling of an ostrich (Struthio camelus) pelvic limb: Influence of limb orientation on muscular capacity during locomotion. Submitted PeerJ

4.Wang, T., Ni, M.,Day, R.E., Gardiner, B.S., Landao-Bassonga, E., Rubenson, J., Kirk, T.B., Smith, D.W., Wang, A., Lloyd, D.G., Hardisty, G., Wang, Y., Zheng, Q., Zheng, M.H. and Lin, Z. Programmable mechanical stimulation rescues rabbit Achilles tendon from loading deprivation in a bioreactor system. Submitted British Journal of Sports Medicine.

5.Panizzolo, F.A., Maiorana, A.J., Naylor, L., Lloyd, D.G., Lichtwark, G.A., Green, D.J. and *Rubenson, J. Reductions in peak voluntary active and passive soleus forces are dictated by muscle size in chronic heart failure? Submitted J. Appl. Physiol.

2014 / In Press:

6.Panizzolo, F.A., Maiorana, A.J., Naylor, L., Lloyd, D.G., Green, D.J. and *Rubenson, J. Gait analysis in chronic heart failure points to the calf as the source of impaired walking capacity. J. Biomech. In Press.

7.Pires, N.J., Lay, B. and *Rubenson, J. Joint-level mechanical triggers for the walk-to-run transition in humans. J. Exp. Biol. In Press.

8.Panizzolo, F.A., Maiorana, A.J., Naylor, L., Lloyd, D.G., Lichtwark, G.A., Green, D.J. and *Rubenson, J. Skeletal muscle architecture in chronic heart failure: Is the soleus a sentinel muscle for impaired exercise capacity? Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. In Press.

9.*Rubenson, J. More than meat and a motor: the diverse biomechanical roles of skeletal muscle. Invited paper for Leonardo Journal / the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, MIT Press. In Press.

10.Stearne, S.M., Alderson, J.A., Green, B., Donnely, C.J. and *Rubenson, J. (2014) Joint mechanics in rearfoot vs. forefoot running: implications of switching technique. Med. Sci. Sport. Exerc. 46:1578-87


11.Panizzolo, F.A., Green, D.J., Lloyd, D.G., Maiorana, A.J. and *Rubenson, J. (2013) Soleus fascicle length changes are conserved between young and old adults at their preferred walking speed. Gait and Posture. 38: 764 - 769.

12. Smith, D.W., Rubenson, J., Lloyd, D.G., Zheng, M., Besier, T.F., Xu, J. and Gardiner, B.S. (2013). A conceptual framework for computational models of Achilles tendon homeostasis. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: System Biology and Medicine. 5: 523 – 538.

13.Wang, T., Lin, Z., Day, R., Gardner, B., Rubenson. J., Kirk, T.B., Smith, D.W., Lloyd, D.G., Hardisty, G., Wang, A. and Zheng, M.H. (2013) Programmable mechanical stimulation on tendon homeostasis in a bioreactor system. Biotechnol Bioeng. 110: 1495-507.

14.Wang, T., Gardner, B., Lin, Z., Kirk, T.B., Rubenson. J., Wang, A., Hunter, P., Anderson, P., Xu, J., Daish, K., Smith, D.W., Lloyd, D.G., and Zheng, M.H. (2013).
Bioreactor design for tendon/ligament engineering. Tissue Eng. Part B. Rev. 19: 133-

15.Haughton, L., Dawson, B., *Rubenson, J. (2013) Achilles tendon mechanics after both prolonged continuous running and prolonged intermittent shuttle running. J. Appl. Biomech. 29: 453 - 462.

16.Haughton, L., Dawson, B., *Rubenson, J. (2013) Effects of plyometric training on Achilles tendon properties and shuttle running during a simulated cricket batting innings, J. Strength Cond. Res. 27: 1036 – 1046.


17.*Rubenson, J., Pires, N.J., Loi, H.O., Pinniger, G.J., and Shannon, D. (2012). On the ascent: the soleus operating length is conserved to the ascending limb of the force length curve across gait mechanics in humans. J. Exp. Biol. 215: 3539 - 3551.


18. *Rubenson, J., Heliams, B.D., Besier, T.F.,Lloyd, D.A., and Fournier, P.A. (2011) Adaptations for economical running: the effect of bipedal limb structure on 3-D joint mechanics. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface. 8: 740-755.

19.Umberger, B.R. and Rubenson, J. (2011). Understanding muscle energetics in locomotion: New modeling and experimental approaches Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 39: 59-67.

20.Park, D, Rubenson, J., Carr, A, Mattson, J, Besier, T.F., and Chou, L. (2011) The Influence of acute static stretching and warm-up on Achilles tendon material properties. Foot and Ankle Int. 32: 407-413.

21.Carr, J.A., Ellerby, D.J., Rubenson, J., and Marsh, R.L. (2011) Mechanisms producing coordinated function across the breadth of a large biarticular thigh muscle. J. Exp. Biol. 114: 3396 - 3404.

22.Watson, R.R., Rubenson, J., Coder, L., Hoyt, D.F., Propert, M.W.G., and Marsh, R.L. (2011) Gait specific energetics contribute to economical walking and running in emus and ostriches. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 278: 2040-2046.

23.Haughton, L., Dawson, B., Rubenson, J., Tobin, M. (2011). Movement patterns and physiological strain during a novel, simulated cricket batting innings (BATEX), J. Sport. Sci. 29: 801-809.

24.Haughton, L., Dawson, B., *Rubenson, J. (2011). Performance in a simulated cricket batting innings (BATEX): Reliability and discrimination between playing standards. J. Sport. Sci. 29: 1097-103.

2009 & Earlier:

25.*Rubenson, J. and Marsh, R.L. (2009). Mechanical efficiency of limb swing during walking and running in guinea fowl (Numida meleagris). J. Appl. Physiol. 106: 1618 – 1630.

26.*Rubenson, J., Heliams, B.D., Lloyd, D.A., Maloney, S.K., Withers, P.C. and Fournier, P.A. (2007) Reappraisal of the comparative cost of human locomotion using gait-specific allometric analyses. J. Exp. Biol. 210: 3513-3524.

27.*Rubenson, J., Besier, T.F., Heliams, B.D., Lloyd, D.A., and Fournier, P.A. (2007) Running in ostriches (Struthio camelus): three-dimensional joint axes alignment and joint kinematics. J. Exp. Biol. 210: 2548-2562.

28.Marsh, R.L., Ellerby, D.J., Henry, H.T. and Rubenson, J. (2006). The energetic cost of trunk and distal limb loading during walking and running in guinea fowl Numida meleagris. I. Organismal metabolism and biomechanics. J. Exp. Biol. 209: 2050-63.

29.Rubenson, J., Henry, H.T., Dimoulas, P.M. and Marsh, R.L. (2006). The cost of running uphill: linking organismal and muscle energy use in guinea fowl Numida meleagris. J. Exp. Biol. 209: 2395-2408.

30. Rubenson, J., Heliams, B.D., Lloyd, D.A., and Fournier, P.A. (2004). Gait selection in the ostrich: mechanical and metabolic characteristics of walking and running with and without an aerial phase. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 271: 1091– 1099.

Funding received
Associate Professor Jennifer Pillow, Associate Professor Dominique Blache, Professor Kurt Albertine, Assistant Professor Peter Noble, Dr Andrew Gill, Associate Professor Mary Black, Assistant Professor Jonas Rubenson 2013, 'Separating the adverse neurodevelopmental consequences of mechanical ventilation and postnatal steroids in preterm lambs', NHMRC Project Grants. ($1,689,652)

Winthrop Professor David Lloyd, Professor David Smith, Professor Jiake Xu, Associate Professor Bruce Gardiner, Professor Thomas Kirk,
Assistant Professor Jonas Rubenson, Winthrop Professor Ming Zheng 2010, 'Bioengineered Bioscaffolds for Achilles Tendinopathy
Treatment', ARC Linkage Projects. Funds Approved: $840,000.00 (ARC) plus Industry Contribution (Total 1.5 M).

Assistant Professor Jonas Rubenson, Winthrop Professor David Lloyd, 2010, ' Creating human subject-specific neuromuscular skeletal
models', UWA Research Collaboration Awards. Funds Approved: $16,000.00. Collaboration partners: Prof. P. Hunter, Dr. T. Besier (U. Auckland), Prof. S. Delp (Stanford University), Dr. G. Lichtwark, (UQ).

Assistant Professor Jonas Rubenson, Winthrop Professor Daniel Green, Winthrop Professor David Lloyd 2009, 'Optimising Exercise & Functional Capacity in Heart Failure - A Focus on Enhancing Skeletal Muscle Mechanics', National Heart Foundation. Funds Approved: $129,000.00.

Winthrop Professor David Lloyd, Assistant Professor Jonas Rubenson 2009, ' Development & Validation of a Data Rich Neuromuscular Skeletal Computational Modelling Framework to Study Muscular Skeletal Disorders In Humans & Animals', UWA Research Collaboration Awards. Funds Approved: $8,000.00. Collaboration partners: Prof. S. Delp (Stanford University), Prof. W. Herzog (University of Calgary).

Assistant Professor Jonas Rubenson, 2008, 'Understanding the Link Between Muscle Mechanics and Energetics in vivo: Integrating Empirical Data and Musculoskeletal Modelling', UWA Research Development Award Scheme. Funds Approved: $22,655.00.
International Society of Biomechanics
Society of Experimental Biology
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.
Honours and awards
Early-Career Researcher “Best Publication of the Year” award (Engineering and Mathematics Category), The University of Western Australia. 2011

Heart Foundation Research Award, National Heart Foundation (Australia) 2010

Society for Experimental Biology, Post-doctoral travelling fellowship

UWA PhD Distinction Honors

UWA Valedictorian Address, 2005, Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences, Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Landscape and Visual Arts.
Previous positions
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
Dr. Rubenson coordinates two units in the School of Sport Science, Exercise & Health:

Level 3
3355- Neuromuscular Biomechanics and Motor Control (Formerly 3356)

Level 4- Postgraduate
7634- Advanced Neuromuscular Biomechanics and Motor Control
Current projects
Dr. Rubenson is currently involved with several research projects, with collaboration from Australia, Canada, and USA. Research projects include:

Experimental measurement of muscle mechanics during movement in humans. Focus on both healthy populations and clinical populations (Chronic Heart Failure).

Linking muscle and joint function with locomotor energetics in humans.

Musculoskeletal model of humans and animals (avian and rabbit models).

Integrating experimental muscle mechanics and energetics data with musculoskeletal modeling to estimate muscle efficiency in vivo.

In vivo function of native and tissue engineered tendon (rabbit model).
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM