Motion Analysis Research Center - Latest News

November 2 & 3, 2018

4th Motion Analysis Research Center Symposium: Clinical Biomechanics in Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation

The 2018 edition of our annual symposium featured five outstanding and world-renowned experts in sports medicine and rehabilitation.  Special thanks to Professor Brian Davis (University of Akron), Professor Jay Hertel (University of Virginia), Dr. Brian Noehren (University of Kentucky), Dr. Bruce Williams (Weil Foot Ankle and Orthopedic Institute), and Dr. Rich Souza (University of California, San Francisco). Be sure to mark your calendars for the 5th Motion Analysis Research Center Symposium to be held on November 1 & 2, 2019.   Click HERE to see more information or to add your name to our mailing list.

November 3 & 4, 2017

3rd Annual MARC Symposium: Pediatric Neuromechanics and Sports Medicine

The third instalment of our annual symposium enjoyed great success this year, with more than 50 attendees each day.  We are particularly grateful to our three Keynote Speakers: Irene Davis, PhD, from the Spaulding National Running Center in Boston, MA, Richard Bouché, DPM from the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, WA, and Russell Volpe, DPM, from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.  Be sure to mark your calendars for the 4th Motion Analysis Research Center Symposium to be held on November 2 & 3, 2018.   Click HERE to see more information or to add your name to our mailing list.

August 8, 2017

Welcome, Dr. Bob Baker!

The MARC is pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Baker, PT, PhD, MBA, OCS as Clinical Assistant Professor - our 1st adjunct faculty member appointment!  Bob has 30 years of blended experience in orthopedic  physical therapy and clinical research.   A physical therapist since 1984, Bob is the owner of Emeryville Sports Physical Therapy, which opened in May, 2002.  His research interests have been focused on the biomechanical investigation of lower extremity running injuries.  In particular, he has studied extensively iliotibial band syndrome in runners.  Other research interests include motor control and functional testing related to orthopedic and sports injuries.  Bob's initial study in the MARC is titled, Biomechanical and EMG Analysis of Runners with Iliotibial Band Syndrome, with Prof. Drew Smith, Dr. Stephen Hill, and Dr. Rich Souza from UCSF.

November 4 & 5, 2016

2nd Annual MARC Symposium

Thanks to the hard work of my fellow Organizing Committee members (Kate Hayner, Rolando Lazaro, Cherri Choate, Tim Dutra, Stephan Hill, and Carla Ross), our second annual symposium was an even bigger success than the first one.  Everything was bigger and better, including our fantastic Keynote Speakers: Professor Nick Stergiou (University of Nebraska), Professor Mindy Levin (McGill University), and Dr. Laurie King (Oregon Health & Science University) and amazing Invited Speakers: Dr. Doug Richie Jr., Dr. Kevin Kirby, and Professor Tom McPoil (Regis University).  

The Friday Tutorials and Workshops were a real hit with our participants and Saturday's program of oral and poster presentations were equally well-received.  This year also marked the start of awards for best poster and best clincial presentation, and we want to acknowledge the two SMU students who won these prizes:

Best Poster

Rebecca Marino (DPT)


Best Clinical Presentation

Alex Franceschi (DPT)

September 28, 2016

A star is born!  

Our own Dr. Stephen Hill is the star of the latest SMU public service announcement, "5 Ways to Prevent Falls on National Falls Prevention Day".

December 21-23, 2015

Thanks to John Kaplanis and his crew from Lyon Medical Construction, Inc., the room containing the Neurocom Equitest Smart Balance Manager has a new look.  The entrance wall has been removed and the equipment shifted to make the room much more functional for testing and demonstrating.  Many thanks also goes to Lillian Harvin for her help and support of this minor renovation.
















October 29, 2015

Dr. Stephen Hill and Professor Drew Smith participated in the  2015 Supernatural Healthcare Symposium, a lighthearted look at how modern healthcare principles and practices might be applied to populations who seem to show up more often at Halloween.  For more information, see this link.
















August 8, 2015

The speaker list has been finalized for the 1st Annual MARC Symposium to be held November 6 & 7, 2015 in the Health Education Center.  For more information, please click here.

June 25-27, 2015

Thanks to a generous donation to the MARC in support of our research and teaching in the area of balance and mobility, the Aretech ZeroG-Passive Gait Training System was installed in the center.  This system includes a 50 ft overhead track, two trolleys, and patient harnesses and is a fall prevention system that provides patients the ability to safely practice overground walking and balance activities.  The system will also allow researchers to design experiments involving the application of perturbations to subjects without the fear of causing potential falls or injuries.


February 13, 2015

The MARC played host to a UK television crew filming an episode of their Extraordinary Humans series that featured Kenichi Ito, the Guinness Book of World Record holder for the fastest 100m run by a human using all four limbs.  Along with colleagues at CSU East Bay's Department of Kinesiology, Mr. Ito was studied for running technique and bone density changes during his brief visit to the East Bay.  In Hayward, researchers used video cameras and bone density scanners, supervised by Dr. Vanessa Yingling, while in the MARC, Mr. Ito ran over the force platforms as our 9-camera Qualisys motion capture system recorded his motion using a customized, 76-marker model, previously designed to study handstands.  Professor Drew Smith was interviewed by San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Steve Rubenstein, and commented that "although it was unlikely that too many athletes would take up four-limbed running, it was an interesting, and technically challenging, example of the adaptability of humans."

PHOTO CREDITS: Michael Short / Special to The Chronicle

To see the SF Chronicle story, click here.

Local CBS station coverage, click here.

Kenichi Ito's record-breaking run.

December 8 - 22, 2014

The MARC was a second home for four Envision Academy interns who spent 80-hrs at Samuel Merritt University, much of it in the MARC.  Coordinated by Dr. Carisa Harris Adamson of the Department of Physical Therapy, Amanda Ceja, Jeimi Giron, Sunny Chang, and Neyeli Aguilar had a very busy schedule that included attending lectures on such subjects as human anatomy and energy expenditure while using assistive devices, as well as conducting a research mini-project similar to an ongoing MARC project investigating hotel workers and bedmaking tasks.  The parting comments by one of the students, Jeimi Giron, pretty much sum up their experience, "I never want to leave.  I've really enjoyed being here."  Hopefully, this will be the start of a long-term relationship between the MARC and Envision Academy.

(L-R): Amanda Ceja, Jeimi Giron, Sunny Chang, and Neyeli Aguilar

December 18, 2014

Professor Drew Smith and Dr. Steve Hill welcomed SMU staff to the 1st Annual MARC Holiday Morning Tea this morning.  It was great to see so many colleagues come by the MARC to share some holiday cheer and meet Steve, the newest member of the MARC team.

December 8, 2014

Professor Drew Smith is pleased to announce the newest addition to the Motion Analysis Research Center:  Dr. Stephen Hill has taken up the position of Laboratory Manager, effective today.  Steve received his PhD in Kinesiology (Biomechanics) from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and he has over 25 years of experience in kinesiology and biomechanics of human movement.  His clinical and research work has included orthotics & prosthetics, back injury, and neurological disorders.  Before coming to SMU, Steve collaborated in, developed, and managed multidisciplinary clinical and research motion analysis labs in Canada and the US, and taught several biomechanics courses.  His primary research focus is on clinical and occupational applications of biomechanics of gait and posture.  Welcome Steve!!

October 30, 2014

Professor Drew Smith was one of seven Samuel Merritt University faculty presenting at the Zombie Health Symposium.  His talk was titled, "The influence of contemporary music on the gait of the clinically undead", a case study on a single zombie subject recently studied during three visits to the MARC.  The symposium was a great success, bringing some comic relief for students and faculty midway through the semester.  And, it created some buzz in the local media:

  • KPIX, the San Francisco local CBS affiliate's report here.
  • KQED story here.
  • San Francisco Chronicle article here.

June 23 - 27, 2014

The 19th Annual Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society (GCMAS) Meeting was held in Newark DE, hosted by the College of Health Sciences, University of Delaware.  Professor Drew Smith attended this meeting where he was invited to be Co-Moderator of the Data Methods session on June 25th as well as present his research project, "Planar energy analysis of gait initiation", during the afternoon poster session that same day.

Abstract: Planar Energy Analysis of Gait Initiation

Poster: Planar Energy Analysis of Gait Initiation

May 17, 2014

The California School of Podiatric Medicine hosted their annual Alumni and Associates Biomechanics and Sports Medicine Symposium on Saturday, May 17th, 2014.  The morning session included several lectures by Drs. Marc A. Benard, Kevin A. Kirby, and Douglas H. Ritchie as well as Professor Drew Smith.  The afternoon session was devoted to three workshops on such diverse subjects as Subtalar Joint Axis Location, Chronic Ankle Instability, and Pediatric Examination.  Professor Smith's lecture on three-dimensional analyses of gait initiation as well as a brief update on the MARC can be found below:

Three-dimensional analyses of gait initiation

MARC Update

May 14, 2014

One more small renovation was completed this week in the MARC.  We have installed our novel emed pressure platform into the force platform pit area in the center of the laboratory.  This will allow subjects to walk with fewer contraints and it will let us ultimately synchronize the emed data with our Qualisys 3D motion capture system.

March 12, 2014

Hot off the presses! Click here to download a PDF version of the MARC brochure.

March 6, 2014

To allow for future development of the MARC, the force platform pit, originally designed to accommodate up to 6 units, was recently renovated in preparation for future purchases of force platforms.  The work was done by Lyon Medical Construction, Milltek, and Qualisys North America, Inc., and the results are fantastic!  Special shout-outs for a job well-done go to Dan India, John Kaplanis, Lino Morales, and Benjamin Harrison.


January 30, 2014

The Faculty Organization Research Committee continued its Research Rounds with a talk given by Professor Drew Smith, Director of the MARC on January 30th entitled "Balance: Why is it so hard to stand still?".

Balance: Why is it so hard to stand still?  Why is it so hard to stand still?



November 14, 2013

Samuel Merritt University (SMU) announces the opening of its new Motion Analysis Research Center (MARC), a state-of-the art laboratory designed to advance the study of human movement in education, research and patient care.

The laboratory will serve as a teaching center on motion analysis for faculty and students from SMU’s California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM), Department of Occupational Therapy, and Department of Physical Therapy.

Located in the SMU Health Education Center on the University’s Oakland campus, the center is equipped with the latest technology to study movement including a nine-camera, three-dimensional motion-capture system, force platforms, in-shoe and platform pressure mapping systems, electromyography, and other equipment to evaluate movement and motor function. 

Healthcare practitioners across several fields will use the center to study biomechanics, gait, upper and lower body movement, and the effect of treatment modalities, and apply what they learn in clinical practice for the benefit of patients. The MARC will also be used for clinical trials of new products to treat movement disorders.

Professor Drew Smith, PhD, the director of the center, has more than 35 years of experience in the field of movement analysis and kinesiology, and has worked internationally in academic settings, clinical settings, and research labs. His primary area of research is in gait and balance, in particular neuromuscular control of motion across a wide spectrum of movements. Before coming to SMU, Smith was an associate professor and associate head of the Department of Health and Physical Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

The MARC was funded entirely by philanthropic support. Foundations, corporations, employees, alumni, board members and friends of Samuel Merritt University contributed more than $600,000 to renovate the space and purchase the equipment. 

See the photos
Read the press release
Read the September 2013 eNews article
Read the SMU Newsroom article

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