Erica Beaucage-Gauvreau

Mrs Erica Beaucage-Gauvreau

PhD Candidate

School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences


Low back pain is a common and costly health condition, affecting adolescents to elderly. Although it is mainly considered idiopathic, lifting has been identified as an independent risk factor. Many daily tasks require lifting of light objects, thus increasing the risk of developing low back pain. Several of these activities can be performed with one hand, allowing for trunk support with the free hand. The braced arm-to-thigh technique is a one-handed lifting method, where the dominant hand is used to pick up low-to-moderate mass objects from ground level, while the free hand supports the trunk by applying a bracing force on the corresponding thigh.

The aim of this project is to perform a biomechanical analysis of this braced arm-to-thigh lifting technique to determine if it reduces loads on the lower back when compared to more traditional two-handed (squat) or unsupported one-handed (stoop) lifts, using a computer modelling approach. Kinematics and kinetics data collected with a 12-camera Vicon motion analysis system (Oxford Metric, UK) and two force platforms (AMTI, USA), respectively, are used as inputs for a full-body OpenSim computational model to estimate the L4/L5 intervertebral joint loads for the different lifting tasks evaluated in healthy and low back pain individuals.

This exciting new research is producing a validated full-body OpenSim model with a detailed lumbar spine musculature for lifting tasks specifically. This validated model will be shared and freely available to the OpenSim community, allowing different laboratories worldwide to analyse various lifting tasks. This project will also provide important insight on the stabilising effect of the arm on the thigh, supplementing the literature on the limited available data on one-hand lifting methods, particularly for the understudied low back pain population.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2015 Teaching Assistant University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2015 Junior Forensic Engineer CEP Forensic Engineering
    2009 - 2010 Student Ergonomist Queen's University Ergonomic Consulting Program
    2009 - 2010 Research Assistant Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2017 Award Logemas ISB Travel Award
    2017 Invitation OpenSim Advanced User Workshop Stanford University United States
    2016 Invitation OpenSim Virtual Workshop
    2016 Award Best Student Presentation at ACSR annual meeting
    2015 Scholarship Endeavour Postgraduate University of Adelaide Australia
    2015 Scholarship WorkSafe SA Top-Up Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    French Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2015 University of Adelaide Australia PhD Candidate
    2008 - 2010 Queen's University, Kingston Canada Master of Applied Sciences
    2004 - 2008 University of British Columbia Canada B. Applied Science
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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Beaucage-Gauvreau, E., Robertson, W., Brandon, S., Fraser, R., Freeman, B., Graham, R., . . . Jones, C. F. (2019). Validation of an OpenSim full-body model with detailed lumbar spine for estimating lower lumbar spine loads during symmetric and asymmetric lifting tasks. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 22(5), 451-464.
    DOI
    2012 Beaucage-Gauvreau, E., Dumas, G. A., & Lawani, M. (2012). Trunk postural demands of occupational activities of some merchant pregnant women in Benin, West Africa. Ergonomics, 55(10), 1218-1228.
    DOI
    2011 Beaucage-Gauvreau, E., Dumas, G. A., & Lawani, M. (2011). Head load carriage and pregnancy in West Africa. Clinical Biomechanics, 26(9), 889-894.
    DOI
  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2017 Beaucage-Gauvreau, E., Thewlis, D., Graham, R., Robertson, W. S. P., Fraser, R. D., Freeman, B. J., & Jones, C. F. (2017). Validation of Full Body OpenSim Model With Detailed Lumbar Spine to Evaluate Biomechanics of Lifting Tasks. Poster session presented at the meeting of XXVI Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics. Brisbane, Australia.
    2017 Beaucage-Gauvreau, E., Thewlis, D., Robertson, W. S. P., Fraser, R. D., Freeman, B. J. C., & Jones, C. F. (2017). Biomechanical Investigation of a Braced Arm-To-Thigh Lifting Technique for Occupational Tasks, With Kinematic Analysis and Computer Modeling Approaches. Poster session presented at the meeting of XXVI Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics. Brisbane, Australia.
    2017 beaucage-gauvreau., thewlis., robertson, W. S. P., fraser, R. D., freeman., & jones, C. F. (2017). Biomechanical investigation of a braced arm-to-thigh lifting technique for occupational tasks, with kinematic analysis and computer modeling approaches. Poster session presented at the meeting of ANZORS-RSA Joint Conference. Adelaide.
    2017 Beaucage-Gauvreau, E., Thewlis, D., Graham, R., Robertson, W. S. P., Fraser, R., Freeman, B. J. C., & Jones, C. F. (2017). Validation of full body OpenSim model with detailed lumbar spine to evaluate biomechanics of lifting tasks. Poster session presented at the meeting of ANZORS-RSA Joint Conference. Adelaide.

AOSpine Australia New Zealand Project Grant (2017) "Validation of a full-body musculoskeletal model with detailed lumbar spine, for estimating spinal muscle and joint loads in bending and lifting tasks” (Principal Investigators: Jones, Beaucage-Gauvreau, Thewlis, Robertson, Fraser, Freeman)

  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Phone: 83132852
  • Email: erica.beaucage-gauvreau@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 7
  • Room: WS7062.19
  • Org Unit: School of Mechanical Engineering

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