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Bethany Keenan

Dr Bethany Keenan

Research Fellow

School of Engineering

+44 29206 87650
Queen's Buildings - South Building, Room Room S4.03, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA


Dr Bethany Keenan is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). She works with clinical and industry collaborators, and researchers from other Schools around the University (Biosciences, Computer Science, Medicine, Mathematics, Pharmacy, Psychology and Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre) to gain experience in multi-disciplinary fields.

Bethany's research interests focus on medical imaging and soft tissue mechanics. Her current work aims to better understand the biomechanical behaviour of soft tissues in order to improve pressure ulcer treatment and prevention. She has developed novel MRI techniques to clearly identify the anatomical geometry of the face, brain, pelvis, lower leg and foot. These MRI scans are then used to create 3D subject-specific finite element (FE) models which can be used to investigate the internal strains in the tissues in an unloaded and deformed state. This research is part of an ongoing project that will lead to guidelines and/or a test method that can determine which products are effective in preventing presure ulcers. This will potentially aid clinicians and carers to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Dr Keenan is also an MR Operator at CUBRIC, a STEM Ambassador, and a Dignity and Wellbeing Contact at Cardiff University.













Book sections



Research theme: Biomedical Engineering

Current collaborative projects include:

      • Investigating brain injury in sporting and collision environments using MRI (CUBRIC, FAW)
      • Development of a 3D deformable head model for respirator testing (i-bodi and NIOSH)
      • Exploring the use of MRI to visualize the longitudinal impact of dynamic variants on a medical implant or health product (Loughborough University, Cardiff Met / PDR Surgical and Prosthetic Design team) 
      • MRI-based 3D computational modelling of different face shapes to improve fit testing of respiratory masks (University of Southampton, NHS, NPoCC and Hybrisan)
      • Identification of damage criteria in pressure ulcers using the virtual fields method (Mines Saint-Étienne, France)
      • Investigating the influence of obesity on soft tissue strain response to sitting loads (Flinders University, Adelaide)
      • Clinical relevance of a simplified framework for generating in silico models from freehand ultrasound for monitoring internal tissue strains for the prevention of pressure ulcers: US-based Finite Element models versus MRI-based Finite Element models (École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers, France)


      2021 - Present
      Guest lecturer - MSc in Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

      Engineering Analysis - Maths tutorial lecturer for 1st Year students.

      2018 - Present
      Principal Supervisor for 3rd Year Erasmus students, Institut supérieur d'ingénieurs de Franche-Comté (ISIF), Besancon, France.

      2017 - Present
      Co-supervisor for 4th Year MEng students (Ergonomics) and MSc Orthopaedic engineering projects, Cardiff University.

      2017 - Present
      Co-supervisor for 3rd Year Undergraduate engineering projects.

      2016 - Present
      Guest lecturer in Biomechanics for 2nd and 3rd Year Medical Engineering students.


      Dr Keenan completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Engineering at Cardiff University in 2011. She then moved to Brisbane, Australia to read a PhD in Medical Imaging and Biomechanical Analysis of Scoliosis Progression in the Growing Adolescent Spine at Queensland University of Technology in May 2015. Her research project involved a ten month internship at Laboratoire de Biomécanique, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, France and entailed investigating the mechanics of the progressive scoliotic spine during the adolescent growth phase.

      Honours and awards

      2019 - Cardiff University Future Innovation Leader Award

      2019 - The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales (WLCoW) Travel Award

      2018 - European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel & 3M Pressure Ulcer and IAD Innovation Award

      2015 - Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders ‘Most Influential Articles of 2015’ for the paper entitled ‘Gravity-Induced Coronal Plane Joint Moments in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis’

      Grants and Scholarships

      2022 - Research and Innovation Services Network Builder Fund (Cardiff Met / PDR Surgical and Prosthetic Design Team)

      2022 - British Council Seedcorn Funding - Awarded 1st prize to develop Sustainable Healthcare Platform (Keele University and Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)

      2022 - Research Infrastructure Funding (RIF) of £140k for MR Elastography system (Co-Investigator).

      2022 - Innovation for All grant (i-bodi, Crawley Creatures).

      2021 - Visiting Professorship, École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers, France.

      2021 - 2022 - UK Research and Innovation Council / Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UKRI/EPSRC) grant for ''A BioEngineering approach for the SAFE design and fitting of Respiratory Protective Equipment (BE-SAFE RPE)'' 

      2020 - 2022 - European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Research Project Collaboration Funding (École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers, France and Université Grenoble Alpes).

      2020 - 2021 - Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair Research Travel Bursary (École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers, France).

      2019 - 2020 - European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Exchange Scholarship (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands).

      2019 - 2020 - National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Technology Grant for ''The SAFEST Review: The Shock-Absorbing Flooring Effectiveness SysTematic Review including older adults and staff in care settings'' (Co-Investigator, Reviewer and Advisory Board member).

      2019 - EPSRC and CCPi Tomographic Imaging Attendee Grant for 'Image-Based Finite Element Method for Industry (IBFEM-4i)', Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering, Wales, UK.

      2018 - Newton Fund and Researcher Links 'Embracing new design technologies: enabling equitable access to health', Central University of Technology, South Africa.

      2017 - Image-Based Biomedical Modelling Fellowship, University of Utah, USA.

      2017 - Attendee Grant for 'Material Parameter Identification and Inverse Problems in Soft Tissue Biomechanics', International Centre for Mechanical Sciences, Italy.

      2011 - Queensland University of Technology Supervisor Scholarship - a 3 year PhD project at QUT as part of the Florence Wilson Bequest, Brisbane.

      Professional memberships

      • Chartered Engineer (Engineering Council UK)
      • Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
      • Member of the European Mechanics Society (EUROMECH)
      • Member of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP)
      • Member of The International Skin Tear Advisory Panel (ISTAP)
      • Member of the International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP)
      • Member of Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER)
      • Member of the Association of Biomedical Engineers, Medical Engineers and Bioengineers (BioMedEng)

      Academic positions

      2019 - Present: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cardiff University

      2016 - 2019: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cardiff University

      February - September 2015: Clinical Research Associate with the Biomechanics and Spine Research Group, QUT and Queensland Children's Hospital, Australia

      Committees and reviewing

      • External Reviewer (PhD) on Comité de suivi individuel de thèse at the Université Grenoble Alpes, France
      • External Examiner (Research Degrees) at Queensland University of Technology, Australia
      • Journal Reviewer, Journal of Clinical Medicine (JCM)
      • Journal Reviewer, Journal of Tissue Viability (JTV)
      • Journal Reviewer, Journal of Biomechanics (J. Biomech)
      • Journal Reviewer, Nature Scientific Reports (Sci. Rep)
      • Journal Reviewer, Journal of Applied Sciences (Appl. Sci)
      • Journal Reviewer, Journal of Sport and Health Science (JSHS)
      • Image-Based Simulation for Industry (IBSim-4i) Scientific Committee
      • University of Portsmouth Ageing Network
      • School of Engineering Athena Swan Network

      Medical imaging and clinical training

      • MR Operator
      • CPR/AED and MR Safety
      • DXA Operator
      • IR(ME)R Theory
      • TRiM Practitioner
      • Mental Health First Aid
      • I-Act 


      Dr Keenan's research focuses on areas including:

      • Medical imaging
      • Biomechanics
      • Injury prevention
      • FE modelling
      • Soft tissue mechanics
      • Fall prevention in the elderly
      • Pressure ulcer formation and prevention

      Please contact her using the above details should your interests lie within these areas.