Dr Sylvie Coupaud


Biomedical Engineering

Personal statement

My research focus is on the long-term health consequences of spinal cord injury, especially disuse osteoporosis, and the rehabilitation interventions that can be used to tackle them. As well as contributing to increasing our understanding of bone loss after spinal cord injury, I am working with colleagues in the university and with external collaborators to explore options for musculoskeletal rehabilitation in this patient group. We are using peripheral QCT and computational modelling to predict which patients are most susceptible to bone loss, and to develop patient-tailored physical interventions to counteract osteoporosis progression after spinal cord injury. This work has implications for tackling the musculoskeletal deconditioning experienced by astronauts on long-term space missions, or after stroke, multiple sclerosis and natural ageing. 

I joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in September 2012 as a Research Fellow, and was appointed as a Lecturer in the same department in November 2015. I am also a member of the Scottish Centre for Innovation in Spinal Cord Injury, and have continued the research started in my previous post at the University of Glasgow (funded by the Glasgow Research Partnership in Engineering), in collaboration with the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit.


I received a BA (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford in 1999, MRes in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Strathclyde in 2001 and PhD in Rehabilitation Engineering from the University of Glasgow in 2005.  I worked towards my PhD as a Postgraduate Assistant in the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering at the University of Glasgow from 2001-2004, and gained clinical experience through a research post at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow from 2004-2007.  I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and state-registered as a Clinical Scientist with the Health & Care Professions Council (UK).


Osteoporosis after spinal cord injury : aetiology, effects and therapeutic approaches
Abdelrahman Shima, Ireland Alex, Winter Elizabeth M, Purcell Mariel, Coupaud Sylvie
The Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions Vol 21, pp. 26-50 (2021)
Global and site-specific analysis of bone in a rat model of spinal cord injury-induced osteoporosis
Williams Jonathan A, Windmill James FC, Tanner K Elizabeth, Riddell John S, Coupaud Sylvie
Bone Reports Vol 12 (2020)
On the relationships between applied force, photography technique, and the quantification of bruise appearance
Black Heather I, Coupaud Sylvie, Nic Daiéd Niamh, Riches Philip E
Forensic Science International Vol 305 (2019)
Comparison of the muscle pattern variability during treadmill walking (fixed and self-pace) and overground walking of able-bodied adults
Ibala Eunice, Coupaud Sylvie, Kerr Andrew
Journal of Annals of Bioengineering Vol 1, pp. 1-11 (2019)
Patient-specific bone mineral density distribution in the tibia of individuals with chronic spinal cord injury, derived from multi-slice peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT) – A cross-sectional study
Coupaud Sylvie, Gislason Magnus K, Purcell Mariel, Sasagawa Keisuke, Tanner K Elizabeth
BONE Vol 97, pp. 29–37 (2017)
Bone morphology of the femur and tibia captured by statistical shape modelling predicts rapid bone loss in acute spinal cord injury patients
Varzi Delaram, Coupaud Sylvie AF, Purcell Mariel, Allan David B, Gregory Jennifer S, Barr Rebecca J
BONE Vol 81, pp. 495-501 (2015)

More publications


In 2014, I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I lead and deliver Anatomy and Physiology teaching on the BEng/MEng in Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Sports Engineering degree programmes, and BSc in Speech & Language Pathology, and contribute to teaching Cell Biology to undergraduate students.

I also enjoy supervising project students for the MSc/MRes and final year undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. Completed projects that I have supervised were on the following topics:

  • Biomechanical characterisation of osteoporotic bone
  • Finite element modelling of healthy and osteoporotic bone
  • Characterisation of musculoskeletal interactions after spinal cord injury
  • Multi-scale modelling of musculoskeletal interactions to inform rehabilitation intervention design
  • Measuring lower limb peripheral blood flow to investigate its role in maintaining bone health

Professional activities

Spinal Cord (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Skeletal Radiology (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Journal of Rehabilitiation Research and Development (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Disability and Rehabilitation (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Journal)
Peer reviewer

More professional activities


Early diagnosis and intervention of osteoporosis using nanovibrational stimulation (STFC CLASP)
Reid, Stuart (Principal Investigator) Coupaud, Sylvie (Co-investigator)
Early diagnosis and intervention of osteoporosis using nanovibrational stimulation
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2021
RAMP-ES - Recruitment of Antagonist Muscle Pairs using Electrical Stimulation
Coupaud, Sylvie (Principal Investigator)
Electrically-stimulated synergistic recruitment of antagonist muscle pairs, to maximise bone stimulation in the paralysed limbs of patients with spinal cord injury
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2021
Medical Devices Doctoral Training Centre Renewal | Gibson, Richard
Reid, Stuart (Principal Investigator) Coupaud, Sylvie (Co-investigator) Gibson, Richard (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2022
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Power Networks and Smart Grids | Gibson, Richard
Reid, Stuart (Principal Investigator) Coupaud, Sylvie (Co-investigator) Gibson, Richard (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2022
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Devices and Health Technologies | Lachendro, Flynn James
Coupaud, Sylvie (Principal Investigator) Chalmers, Susan (Co-investigator) Lachendro, Flynn James (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 01-Jan-2021
Development of a Model of Peripheral Blood Flow in Cortical Bone
Kazakidi, Asimina (Principal Investigator) Coupaud, Sylvie (Principal Investigator)
20-Jan-2016 - 04-Jan-2017

More projects


Biomedical Engineering
Wolfson Building

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