Thomas Oxland

Thomas Oxland

Thomas Oxland


BASc, MASc (Waterloo), PhD (Yale); Associate Director ICORD; Fellow of the RSC, CAE, ASME

phone: (604) 675-8834
fax: (604) 822-2403
website:  Orthopaedic and Injury Biomechanics Group
office: ICORD
Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, 3rd Floor
818 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver BC
V5Z 1M9

Research Interests


  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Aging Spine
  • Orthopaedic Implants

Current Research Work

  • Spinal Cord Injury: Our group uses experimental and computational approaches to determine whether the pattern of spinal column injury results in different types of spinal cord injury.  From a basic science perspective, we are searching for a biomechanical injury threshold for spinal cord tissue.   Clinically, this line of research is important in the assessment of different therapies for spinal cord injured individuals.  This is a highly interdisciplinary area of research that includes elements of neuroscience, molecular biology, and spine surgery.
  • Aging Spine: Over the past ten years, we have conducted a wide range of studies investigating the bone-implant interface in the aging spinal column.  Recently, we have developed a simplified two-dimensional model of the spine in an attempt to determine the efficacy of long implant constructs that are used in adult deformity.  This research has demonstrated the critical role of the posterior musculature in these patients.  Future research in this area will be to extend the model to three dimensions and to investigate in detail the spinal levels adjacent to the long implant constructs.
  • Orthopaedic Implants: Our group has investigated many biomechanical aspects of orthopaedic implant behaviour over the years, including hip and knee joint replacement devices, fracture fixation implants, and devices used in the spine.  Our most recent research in this area has addressed some design aspects of  total ankle replacement implants.

Selected Publications

  • F. Schneider, K. MacDonald, D. Reimer, A.D. Melnyk, and T.R. Oxland, “Analysis of mechanical properties of different volleyballs,” Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, p.1754337118823996, 2019.
  • S. Mattucci, J. Speidel, J. Liu, M.S. Ramer, B.K. Kwon, W. Tetzlaff, and T.R. Oxland, “Development of a Traumatic Cervical Dislocation Spinal Cord Injury Model with Residual Compression in the Rat,” Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2019.
  • A. Yung, S. Mattucci, B. Bohnet, J. Liu, C. Fournier, W. Tetzlaff, P. Kozlowski, and T. Oxland, “Diffusion tensor imaging shows mechanism-specific differences in injury pattern and progression in rat models of acute spinal cord injury,” NeuroImage186, pp.43-55, 2019.
  • M. Malakoutian, J. Street, H.J. Wilke, I. Stavness, S. Fels, and T. Oxland, “A musculoskeletal model of the lumbar spine using ArtiSynth–development and validation,” Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization6(5), pp.483-490, 2018.
  • S. 0Mattucci, J. Speidel, J. Liu, B.K. Kwon, W. Tetzlaff, and T.R. Oxland, “Basic biomechanics of spinal cord injury—How injuries happen in people and how animal models have informed our understanding,” Clinical biomechanics, 2018.
  • J.T. Martin, S.E. Gullbrand, A.J. Fields, D. Purmessur, A.D. Diwan, T.R. Oxland, K. Chiba, F. Guilak, J.A. Hoyland, and J.C. Iatridis, “Publication trends in spine research from 2007 to 2016: comparison of the Orthopaedic Research Society Spine Section and the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine,” JOR spine1(1), p.e1006, 2018.
  • S. Mattucci, J. Liu, P. Fijal, W. Tetzlaff, and T.R. Oxland, “Repeatability of a dislocation spinal cord injury model in a rat—a high-speed biomechanical analysis,” Journal of biomechanical engineering139(10), p.104501, 2017.
  • T. Whyte, A.D. Melnyk, C. Van Toen, J. Street, T.R. Oxland, and P.A. Cripton, “The Effect of Translational Constraint on Cervical Spine Kinetics, Kinematics and Canal Occlusions in Impacts Inducing Lateral Bending,” In IRCOBI Conference Proceedings, 2017.
  • T.R. Oxland, “Fundamental biomechanics of the spine—what we have learned in the past 25 years and future directions,” Journal of biomechanics49(6), pp.817-832, 2016.
  • K. Chen, J. Liu, P. Assinck, T. Bhatnagar, F. Streijger, O. Zhu, M.F. Dvorak, B.K. Kwon, W. Tetzlaff, and T.R. Oxland, “Differential histopathological and behavioral outcomes eight weeks after rat spinal cord injury by contusion, dislocation, and distraction mechanisms,” Journal of neurotrauma33(18), pp.1667-1684, 2016.
  • T. Bhatnagar, J. Liu, A. Yung, P.A. Cripton, P. Kozlowski, and T. Oxland, “In vivo measurement of cervical spinal cord deformation during traumatic spinal cord injury in a rodent model,” Annals of biomedical engineering44(4), pp.1285-1298, 2016.
  • T. Bhatnagar, J. Liu, A. Yung, P. Cripton, P. Kozlowski, W. Tetzlaff, and T. Oxland, “Quantifying the internal deformation of the rodent spinal cord during acute spinal cord injury–the validation of a method,” Computer methods in biomechanics and biomedical engineering19(4), pp.386-395, 2016.
  • T. Bhatnagar, J. Liu, A. Yung, P. Cripton, P. Kozlowski, W. Tetzlaff, and T. Oxland, “Relating histopathology and mechanical strain in experimental contusion spinal cord injury in a rat model,” Journal of neurotrauma33(18), pp.1685-1695, 2016.
  • M. Malakoutian, J. Street, H.J. Wilke, I. Stavness, M. Dvorak, S. Fels, and T. Oxland, “Role of muscle damage on loading at the level adjacent to a lumbar spine fusion: a biomechanical analysis,” European Spine Journal25(9), pp.2929-2937, 2016.
  • D. Volkheimer, M. Malakoutian, T.R. Oxland, and H.J. Wilke, “Limitations of current in vitro test protocols for investigation of instrumented adjacent segment biomechanics: critical analysis of the literature,” European Spine Journal24(9), pp.1882-1892, 2015.
  • M. Malakoutian, D. Volkheimer, J. Street, M.F. Dvorak, H.J. Wilke, and T.R. Oxland, “Do in vivo kinematic studies provide insight into adjacent segment degeneration? A qualitative systematic literature review,” European Spine Journal24(9), pp.1865-1881, 2015.
  • A.D. Melnyk, J.D. Chak, V. Singh, A. Kelly, P.A. Cripton, C.G. Fisher, M.F. Dvorak, and T.R. Oxland, “Characterization of the behavior of a novel low-stiffness posterior spinal implant under anterior shear loading on a degenerative spinal model,” European Spine Journal24(4), pp.775-782, 2015.
  • A.D. Melnyk, A. Kelly, J.D. Chak, T.L. Wen, P.A. Cripton, M.F. Dvorak, and T.R. Oxland, “The effect of disc degeneration on anterior shear translation in the lumbar spine,” Journal of Orthopaedic Research33(4), pp.450-457, 2015.
  • C. J. Lam, P. Assinck, J. Liu, W. Tetzlaff, and T. R. Oxland, “Impact depth and the interaction with impact speed affect the severity of contusion spinal cord injury in rats,” Journal of neurotrauma, no. ja, 2014.
  • A. D. Melnyk, S. P. Kingwell, Q. Zhu, J. D. Chak, P. A. Cripton, C. G. Fisher, M. F. Dvorak, and T. R. Oxland, “An in vitro model of degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis,” Spine, vol. 38, no. 14, pp. E870–E877, 2013.
  • A. Saari, C. R. Dennison, Q. Zhu, T. S. Nelson, P. Morley, T. R. Oxland, P. A. Cripton, and E. Itshayek, “Compressive Follower Load Influences Cervical Spine Kinematics and Kinetics During Simulated Head-First Impact in an in Vitro Model,” Journal of biomechanical engineering, vol. 135, no. 11, p. 111003, 2013.
  • S. G. Sjovold, S. F. Mattucci, A. M. Choo, J. Liu, M. F. Dvorak, B. K. Kwon, W. Tetzlaff, and T. R. Oxland, “Histological Effects of Residual Compression Sustained for 60 Minutes at Different Depths in a Novel Rat Spinal Cord Injury Contusion Model,” Journal of neurotrauma, vol. 30, no. 15, pp. 1374–1384, 2013.
  • A. Tadros, T. R. Oxland, and P. O’Brien, “The Retroacetabular Angle Determines the Safe Angle for Screw Placement in Posterior Acetabular Fracture Fixation,” International Scholarly Research Notices, vol. 2013, 2013.
  • A. D. Melnyk, T. L. Wen, S. Kingwell, J. D. Chak, V. Singh, P. A. Cripton, C. G. Fisher, M. F. Dvorak, and T. R. Oxland, “Load transfer characteristics between posterior spinal implants and the lumbar spine under anterior shear loading: an in vitro investigation,” Spine, vol. 37, no. 18, pp. E1126–E1133, 2012.
  • C. M. Russell, A. M. Choo, W. Tetzlaff, T.-E. Chung, and T. R. Oxland, “Maximum principal strain correlates with spinal cord tissue damage in contusion and dislocation injuries in the rat cervical spine,” Journal of neurotrauma, vol. 29, no. 8, pp. 1574–1585, 2012.
  • V. Ebacher, P. Guy, T. R. Oxland, and R. Wang, “Sub-lamellar microcracking and roles of canaliculi in human cortical bone,” Acta biomaterialia, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 1093–1100, 2012.
  • C. S. Bailey, S. G. Sjovold, M. F. Dvorak, C. G. Fisher, and T. R. Oxland, “The strength profile of the thoracolumbar endplate reflects the sagittal contours of the spine,” Spine, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 124–128, 2011.
  • T. Lund and T. R. Oxland, “Adjacent level disk disease—is it really a fusion disease?,” Orthopedic Clinics of North America, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 529–541, 2011.

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