Associate Professor Clare Minahan
The elite and emerging female athlete
Clare Minahan is an Associate Professor at Griffith University, Queensland Australia, and has led the Griffith Sports Science group since 2002. Clare’s interests are in the advancement of human performance with a key focus on the determinants of performance in female athletes. She has documented unique responses to exercise in female athletes including locomotor movement patterns, muscle damage, thermoregulation, and immune function. Clare has published over 85 peer-reviewed scientific articles, has successfully supervised multiple post-doctoral fellows and PhD students to completion, and is currently supervising numerous post-graduate students embedded in Australian high-performance sport organisations. These context specific partnerships provide the avenue for vigorous academic research and direct applied sports-science translation. Clare’s research continues to influence a new generation of exercise and sport professionals to seriously consider the physiology unique to female athletes. In 2021, Clare was recognised by Exercise & Sports Science Australia as one of three Female Leaders in Exercise & Sports Science. Clare is a member of the ESSA* Sports Science Advisory Group and the AIS* Female Performance and Health Initiative Monitoring Group. She was instrumental in establishing the strategic direction of the Female Performance and Health Initiative and setting and implementing the research agenda. In recent years, Clare has applied her knowledge of female athletes to lead the development, implementation and delivery of ‘GAPS’; an inclusive sports pathway programme for emerging athletes in developing countries of the Pacific. GAPS has been highly successful and is now formally recognized and supported by the Commonwealth Games Federation as the key sports development initiative for women in developing countries of the Commonwealth. GAPS will be delivered in Oceania, Europe, and Africa in 2021 under Clare’s leadership.
Dr Luke Kelly
How a better understanding of the human foot has implications for applied biomechanics
Luke is a Senior Research Fellow within the Centre for Sensorimotor Performance in the School of Human Movement & Nutrition Sciences. His primary area of research is focused on enhancing our understanding of the complex function of the human foot. Despite the importance of our feet in our daily lives, we know little about this complex anatomical structure. He is driven to understand how the foot has evolved, to perform such a diverse array of locomotor tasks with relative effectiveness and efficiency. Specifically, how the brain and spinal cord control foot function, and the role of elastic connective tissues in providing structural support and energy conservation. He is fascinated by the intricate interaction of the many small bones within the foot, and how variations in structure may influence the physical performance of the foot. Beyond fundamental science, his research has broad application across a range of areas. His research program has both direct industry connections (e.g. Australian Sports Commission and Asics Oceania) and potential applications in different areas of health (e.g. chronic musculoskeletal conditions – osteoarthritis), rehabilitation, and robotic/prosthetic design.
Dr Conny Draper
The challenges of delivering applied biomechanical servicing to elite athletes
Dr. Conny Draper is one of the world’s leading Sports Biomechanists focussing on Rowing. Conny has many Olympic teams as her clients and spends her time travelling the world assessing the Biomechanics of crews and individuals. Conny is renown for being able to translate a vast amount of data from the devices she uses into plain English. Coaches often remark how Conny is able to get athletes and coaches alike to understand what is going on and how to use this information to make meaningful change. Conny completed a Masters in Sports Science in Halle-Wittenberg followed by a PhD at the University of Sydney and has held full time roles at the Australian institute of Sport. Since becoming freelance, Conny has also completed project work for FIFA, and is currently on the FISA Equipment and Technology Commission.