Katherine Saul

Associate Professor

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Dr. Saul is interested in dynamics and neural control of the musculoskeletal system, upper limb biomechanics and orthopaedic rehabilitation, computational dynamic simulation of movement, and musculoskeletal imaging.

She directs the Movement Biomechanics Lab (MoBL), which investigates the relationship between musculoskeletal structure and function in the upper limb.  The lab uses MR imaging, strength assessments, and functional testing in conjunction with computational simulations of the upper limb to characterize and investigate upper limb function and neuromuscular control in healthy and impaired populations of subject

At the undergraduate level, Dr. Saul teaches Engineering Dynamics (MAE 208).

Outside of work, Dr. Saul enjoys spending time with her family, travel, being outdoors, and quilting.



Mechanical Engineering

Stanford University


Mechanical Engineering

Stanford University



Brown University

Research Description

Dr. Saul’s research applies mechanical engineering techniques to improve treatment outcomes for neuromusculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb across the lifespan, using both computational dynamic simulation and experimental methods (including imaging, motion capture, and functional assessments of musculoskeletal performance). She uses computational simulation of muscle mechanics and the dynamics of functional movement to compare treatment options and predict functional outcomes; and explores muscle control strategies and movement compensations exhibited by healthy and impaired patients to provide a foundation for clinical practitioners to optimize rehabilitation for their patients. Recently, her work has focused on characterizing shoulder movement and neuromuscular control and compensations due to rotator cuff impairment in older adults and peripheral nerve injury in the upper limb. She is also interested in identifying general principles of scaling for upper limb musculoskeletal anatomy, useful for developing patient-specific approaches to clinical research.


A Direct Comparison of Node and Element-Based Finite Element Modeling Approaches to Study Tissue Growth
Howe, D., Dixit, N. N., Saul, K. R., & Fisher, M. B. (2022), JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4051661
Influence of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Location on Glenohumeral Joint Morphology
Dixit, N. N., McCormick, C. M., Cole, J. H., & Saul, K. R. (2021), JOURNAL OF HAND SURGERY-AMERICAN VOLUME. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhsa.2020.10.019
Isolating the energetic and mechanical consequences of imposed reductions in ankle and knee flexion during gait
McCain, E. M., Libera, T. L., Berno, M. E., Sawicki, G. S., Saul, K. R., & Lewek, M. D. (2021), JOURNAL OF NEUROENGINEERING AND REHABILITATION, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-021-00812-8
Location of brachial plexus birth injury affects functional outcomes in a rat model
Doshi, R. M., Reid, M. Y., Dixit, N. N., Fawcett, E. B., Cole, J. H., & Saul, K. R. (2021, September 5), JOURNAL OF ORTHOPAEDIC RESEARCH. https://doi.org/10.1002/jor.25173
Reduced joint motion supersedes asymmetry in explaining increased metabolic demand during walking with mechanical restriction
McCain, E. M., Berno, M. E., Libera, T. L., Lewek, M. D., Sawicki, G. S., & Saul, K. R. (2021), JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICS. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2021.110621
Using Reinforcement Learning to Estimate Human Joint Moments From Electromyography or Joint Kinematics: An Alternative Solution to Musculoskeletal-Based Biomechanics
Wu, W., Saul, K. R., & Huang, H. (2021), JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME, 143(4). https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4049333
Effect of Mechanically Passive, Wearable Shoulder Exoskeletons on Muscle Output During Dynamic Upper Extremity Movements: A Computational Simulation Study
Nelson, A. J., Hall, P. T., Saul, K. R., & Crouch, D. L. (2020), JOURNAL OF APPLIED BIOMECHANICS, 36(2), 59–67. https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.2018-0369
Sensitivity of Neuromechanical Predictions to Choice of Glenohumeral Stability Modeling Approach
McFarland, D. C., Brynildsen, A. G., & Saul, K. R. (2020), JOURNAL OF APPLIED BIOMECHANICS, 36(4), 249–258. https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.2019-0088
Computational analysis of glenohumeral joint growth and morphology following a brachial plexus birth injury
Dixit, N. N., McFarland, D. C., & Saul, K. R. (2019), JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICS, 86, 48–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.01.040
Mechanics and energetics of post-stroke walking aided by a powered ankle exoskeleton with speed-adaptive myoelectric control
McCain, E. M., Dick, T. J. M., Giest, T. N., Nuckols, R. W., Lewek, M. D., Saul, K. R., & Sawicki, G. S. (2019), JOURNAL OF NEUROENGINEERING AND REHABILITATION, 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-019-0523-y

View all publications via NC State Libraries


HCC: Medium: A novel neural interface for user-driven control of rehabilitation of finger individuation
National Science Foundation (NSF)(10/01/21 - 9/30/22)
Development and Persistence of Tissue-Level Musculoskeletal Deformity Following Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(3/10/21 - 2/28/23)
An Orthopaedic and Engineering Framework to Evaluate Military Injury and Quantify Incapacitation
US Army - Army Research Laboratory(11/01/19 - 9/15/22)
Optimizing Impedance Control of an Ankle Exoskeleton to Improve Post-Stroke Walking Mechanics and Energetics
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(5/15/19 - 5/14/22)
Integrated Iterative Musculoskeletal Modeling to Study Growth and Function
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(7/01/16 - 6/30/18)
Experimental validation of shoulder injury risk across the workspace
US Dept. of Defense (DOD)(8/16/16 - 7/26/17)
Parallel Development of Bone and Muscle Impairments Following Neonatal Brachial Plexus Injury
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(8/16/16 - 7/31/19)
R13: American Society of Biomechanics Annual Meeting
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(6/01/16 - 5/31/17)
Identifying Muscular Contributions to Bone Deformity of the Shoulder following Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy
Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation(6/30/14 - 6/30/15)
Upper Limb Kinematics and Muscular Compensation During Activities of Daily Living in Older Adults with Rotator Cuff Impairment
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/01/13 - 8/31/16)