Ryan Quarrington

Dr Ryan Quarrington

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr Ryan Quarrington is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Adelaide Spinal Research Group and Centre for Orthopaedic and Trauma Research, University of Adelaide. During his PhD, Dr Quarrington used statistical analysis of patient data from medical records and images, and biomechanical testing of cadaver material, to investigate the epidemiology, clinical outcomes, and injury mechanisms of cervical spine (neck) trauma. The data obtained and techniques developed during his PhD largely informed a funded Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project Grant, on which he is the named postdoctoral researcher. This ARC-funded project aims to further improve our understanding of the biomechanics underlying neck trauma using a variety of experimental techniques. 

Dr Quarrington is also involved with a number of other research projects, including:
- Using computational modelling to investigate subaxial cervical spine facet contact during intervertebral motions; 
- Comparison of cervical facet cartilage profiles from microCT with that measured during histology;
- Developing a sheep model of the paediatric spine;
- Exploring suture/tendon interaction for rotator cuff repairs;
- Development and validation of a biofidelic neck for paramedic training mannequin.

Projects available for 2020
Research projects are available for students of Medical Sciences & Mechanical Engineering in the categories of: Summer Research Projects, 3rd Yr, Honours/FYP, MPhil, Masters by CW, PhD. All projects are based at Adelaide Health & Medical Sciences Building, North Tce. All projects have flexible start dates, depending on project availability and research needs at the time of commencement. Projects described are suited to 1 year duration; if you are interested in applying for MPhil or PhD, please contact Dr Quarrington to discuss potential projects related to spine, orthopaedics and neurotrauma.

Research Project 1 - Passive stiffness and range of motion of the human neck
Project description: The passive stiffness and range of motion of the human neck, from childhood to old age, is needed to enable accurate design of paramedic mannequins. In this project we will design and build an apparatus, and assess volunteer participants in the motion capture laboratory, to determine their passive neck stiffness and range of motion.
Project suitable for: Mechanical Engineering - Summer Research / FYP / MPhil / PhD

Research Project 2 - Centre of mass of the sheep head
Project description: On going traumatic brain injury and concussion studies in our group require an accurate representation of the centre of mass of the sheep head, as defined by external palpable landmarks. In this project, an existing bank of CT images will be used to determine the location of the centre of mass of the sheep’s head, and to relate this to reliably palpable external anatomical landmarks.
Project suitable for: Medical Sciences - Third Year / Honours / Masters; Mechanical Engineering - Summer Research / FYP / MPhil

Research Project 3 - Cervical spine bone quality and strength
Project description: Osteoporosis of the spine is diagnosed clinically using DEXA scans of the lumbar spine. However, often only small segments of ex vivo cadaver spines are obtained for biomechanical testing, and in this case there is no standard way of determining if a specimen has sufficient bone quality. The aim of this project is to develop a relationship between the bone density predicted by calibrated CT images of cervical spines, and the bone density measured at specific locations on microCT images, as well as the strength of the bone from mechanical testing.
Project suitable for: Medical Sciences - Third Year / Honours / Masters; Mechanical Engineering - Summer Research / FYP / MPhil

Research Project 4 - Mechanical properties and microstructural features of spinal dura mater
Project description: The mechanical properties and microstructure of spinal dura are of interest because the dura likely plays an important role in modulating the pressure in the intrathecal space after spinal cord injury. This project will characterise the mechanical properties and microstructure of animal and/or human dura, using biomechanics and histology techniques.
Project suitable for: Medical Sciences - Third Year / Honours / Masters; Mechanical Engineering - Summer Research / FYP / MPhil

Research Project 5 - A detailed anatomical model of the pig spine and spinal cord from CT and MRI
Project description:
 In order to develop computational models for investigating spinal cord injury in an animal model, an accurate scalable anatomical model of the pig spine, spinal cord and dura is required. This will be developed from existing CT and MR images using a combination of semi-automated and manual segmentation techniques.
Project suitable for: Medical Sciences - Third Year / Honours; Mechanical Engineering - Summer Research / FYP / MPhil

Research Project 6 - Creating accurate anatomical coordinate systems from CT
Project description: To determine the motions of a joint during biomechanical testing, local coordinate systems are defined using anatomical landmarks. In our group, this has traditionally been performed by determining the 3D coordinates of these landmarks using a motion capture system and a digitising wand; however, the accuracy of this method can be limited by difficulties in physically accessing the landmarks, and irregular anatomy. This project will investigate the feasibility and accuracy of determining these anatomical coordinate systems from high-resolution CT images, and will compare the results to the current methodology.
Project suitable for: Medical Sciences - Third Year / Honours / Masters; Mechanical Engineering - Summer Research / FYP / MPhil

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 Post-doctoral Researcher University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2019 Research Engineer University of Adelaide
    2013 - 2013 Research Engineer SA Pathology
    2012 - 2013 Research Engineer University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2012 - 2017 Laboratory Teaching Assistant University of Adelaide, Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2017 Research Award David Winter Young Investigator Award - Shortlisted International Society of Biomechanics
    2017 Research Award Medtronic Spinal Research Award Spine Society of Australia Australia
    2016 Research Award Young Investigator Best Paper Prize Australia & New Zealand Spinal Cord Society Australia
    2015 Scholarship Dawes Top-up Scholarship RAH Research Foundation Australia
    2014 Scholarship Research Training Program Australian Federal Government Australia
    2012 Research Award ARI Prize for Research Impact School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide Australia
    2011 Scholarship Summer Research Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia
    2009 Scholarship Tertiary Student Care Trust Scholarship Wyndham Richardson Australia
    2008 Scholarship Regional Support Science Scholarship Playford Memorial Trust Australia
  • Language Competencies

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

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2014 - 2018 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia PhD
    2009 - 2012 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Sports) - 1st Class Honours
  • Research Interests

University of Adelaide Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences Infrastructure Grant (2019) "Peripheral items for Injury Biomechanics “Drop Tower” apparatus" (Principal Investigators: Jones, Quarrington, Freeman).

University of Adelaide Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences Infrastructure Grant (2019) "Materials testing machine input/output board" (Principal Investigators: Jones, Quarrington, Freeman).

University of Adelaide Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences Infrastructure Grant (2019) "Data acquisition chassis and module for custom accelerometer array system" (Principal Investigators: Jones, Quarrington, Turner, Leonard, Corrigan).

ARC Discovery Project (2019-2022) [DP190101209] “Elucidating the mechanics of facet dislocation and fracture in the neck” (Chief Investigators: Jones, Costi, Freeman; Partner Investigators: Cripton; Named Post-doctoral Researcher: Quarrington). 

AOSpine Australia & New Zealand Research Project Grant (2015) “Towards improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying cervical facet fracture and dislocation: quantitative evaluation of facet deflection and loading” (Principal Investigators: Jones, Freeman, Costi). A significant contribution was made towards this successful grant application.

Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Fund, Clinical Project Grant (2015). "Quantitative evaluation of facet deflection and loading in the human cervical spine." (Principal Investigators: Jones, Freeman, Costi). A significant contribution was made towards this successful grant application.

  • Laboratory Teaching Assistant for Sports Materials (MECH3108), School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide (2012-2017) 
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  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Design and manufacture of an advanced patient simulator mannequin neck The University of Adelaide Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mingyue Liu
    2020 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Biomechanics of subaxial cervical spine injury during head-first impact The University of Adelaide Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Darcy Thompson-Bagshaw
    2019 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Centre of mass of the sheep head The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Manjot Bhathal
    2019 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Creating accurate anatomical coordinate systems for the cervical spine from CT images and fiducial markers University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Nicholas Cunha
    2019 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Cervical spine bone quality and strength The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Medical Sciences Other Full Time Mackenzie Skinner
    2019 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Mechanical properties of spinal dura mater and pericranium The University of Adelaide Doctoral Internship Program (McGill University) Other Full Time Sacha Cavelier
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Visualisation of spinal facet kinematics using co-registration of CT and motion capture data University of Adelaide Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) Honours Full Time Darcy Thompson-Bagshaw
    2017 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Visualisation of spinal kinematics using co-registration of CT and motion capture data University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Fraser Darcy
    2017 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Measurement of cervical vertebral bone quality and geometry The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Amy Rees
    2016 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Mechanical response of the facets during simulated cervical facet dislocation The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Rachael Killian
    2015 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Passive spine testing apparatus The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Alexander Coventry & Hannah Andrews
    2015 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Mechanical testing of trabecular cores from vertebral bodies of paediatric sheep spines The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Amie vanAntwerpen & Warwick Langman
    2014 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Case note review of cervical spine injuries at the RAH The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Medicine Other Full Time Shabnam Torabiardakani
    2014 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Development of software to measure parameters relating to subaxial cervical facet dislocation on medical images The University of Adelaide Summer Research Project, Mechanical Engineering Other Full Time Alexander Martin
  • Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83132854
  • Email: ryan.quarrington@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 7
  • Room: WS7062.20
  • Org Unit: Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

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