Katherine Saul

Associate Professor

  • 919-515-1273
  • Engineering Building III (EB3) 3162
  • Visit My Website

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.


Shoulder strength requirements for upper limb functional tasks: Do age and rotator cuff tear status matter?
Santago, A. C., Vidt, M. E., Li, X. T., Tuohy, C. J., Poehling, G. G., Freehill, M. T., & Saul, K. R. (2017), Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 33(6), 446–452.
Analysis of effects of loading and postural demands on upper limb reaching in older adults using statistical parametric mapping
Li, X. T., Santago, A. C., Vidt, M. E., & Saul, K. R. (2016), Journal of Biomechanics, 49(13), 2806–2816.
Assessments of fatty infiltration and muscle atrophy from a single magnetic resonance image slice are not predictive of 3-dimensional measurements
Vidt, M. E., Santago, A. C., Tuohy, C. J., Poehling, G. G., Freehill, M. T., Kraft, R. A., … Saul, K. R. (2016), Arthroscopy-The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, 32(1), 128–139.
Can self-report instruments of shoulder function capture functional differences in older adults with and without a rotator cuff tear?
Vidt, M. E., Santago, A. C., Hegedus, E. J., Marsh, A. P., Tuohy, C. J., Poehling, G. G., … Saul, K. R. (2016), Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 29, 90–99.
Muscle forces and their contributions to vertical and horizontal acceleration of the center of mass during sit-to-stand transfer in young, healthy adults
Caruthers, E. J., Thompson, J. A., Chaudhari, A. M. W., Schmitt, L. C., Best, T. M., Saul, K. R., & Siston, R. A. (2016), Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 32(5), 487–503.
Quantitative analysis of three-dimensional distribution and clustering of intramuscular fat in muscles of the rotator cuff
Santago, A. C., Vidt, M. E., Tuohy, C. J., Poehling, G. G., Freehill, M. T., Jordan, J. H., … Saul, K. R. (2016), Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 44(7), 2158–2167.
Relationship between maximum isometric joint moment and functional task performance in patients with brachial plexus injury: A pilot study
Crouch, D. L., Santago, A. C., Plate, J. F., Li, Z. Y., & Saul, K. R. (2016), Gait & Posture, 44, 238–244.
The effects of a rotator cuff tear on activities of daily living in older adults: A kinematic analysis
Vidt, M. E., Santago, A. C., Marsh, A. P., Hegedus, E. J., Tuohy, C. J., Poehling, G. G., … Saul, K. R. (2016), Journal of Biomechanics, 49(4), 611–617.
Age-related structural changes in upper extremity muscle tissue in a nonhuman primate model
Santago, A. C., Plate, J. F., Shively, C. A., Register, T. C., Smith, T. L., & Saul, K. R. (2015), Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 24(10), 1660–1668.
Benchmarking of dynamic simulation predictions in two software platforms using an upper limb musculoskeletal model
Saul, K. R., Hu, X., Goehler, C. M., Vidt, M. E., Daly, M., Velisar, A., & Murray, W. M. (2015), Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 18(13), 1445–1458.

View all publications via NC State Libraries


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)