Mr Bernard Michael Lawless MEng, BEng (Hons), AMIMechE, Cert. Med. Sci

Mr Bernard Michael Lawless

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher in Biomedical Engineering

Contact details

Department of Mechanical Engineering
School of Engineering
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
University of Birmingham

Bernard Lawless is a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher in the Spinal Implant Design (SID) Research Group which is part of the Biomedical Engineering Research Group (University of Birmingham) and S14 Implants (Bordeaux, France).

Bernard’s research is in the development of a posterior dynamic stabilisation spinal implant and evaluating the degradation of polymers. Alongside orthopaedic implants and biomaterials, his other research interests include spine biomechanics, spinal trauma, articular cartilage and bone.


  • MEng in Mechanical Engineering, ITT Dublin, 2014
  • Certificate in Medical Science, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 2012
  • BEng (Hons) in Mechanical, Engineering, ITT Dublin, 2012
  • Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers


As an undergraduate, Bernard obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at ITT Dublin where he was awarded Mechanical Engineering Student of the Year in 2010. He continued his study in Mechanical Engineering and in 2012 Bernard was awarded an Honours Bachelor Degree with first class honours.

After completing his honours degree, Bernard was employed by ITT Dublin as a research assistant in
which he developed a mathematical model for an adsorption geothermal process. Later that year, he was awarded a President’s Award Scholarship by ITT Dublin to study towards a research postgraduate degree (MEng) at the Bioengineering Technology Centre (BTC).

During his two year research degree, Bernard completed courses in Medical Imaging at the Dublin
Institute of Technology (DIT) and was awarded a Certificate in Medical Science (Anatomy) from the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (RCSI). Also, he taught modules in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and mechanics at ITT Dublin and
taught quality and manufacturing systems as a guest lecturer in Nanjing University of Technology, China.

Bernard is an enthusiastic researcher and this was shown by him being awarded 1st Prize in the Experienced Researcher Category in Biomaterials and Orthopaedic Biomechanics at the 20th annual conference of Bioengineering in Ireland (BINI 20).

After obtaining his MEng in 2014, Bernard joined the University of Birmingham’s Biomedical Engineering Research Group as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (funded through the EU 7th Framework).


Research Themes

Biomedical Engineering, Design and Testing of Medical Devices, Degradation of Polymers, Mechanical Testing of Natural Tissues.  

Research Activity

Design and Testing of Medical Devices

Bernard has tested and developed spinal implants such as posterior dynamic stabilisation systems to intervertebral replacement devices, at the University of Birmingham, to ISO standards. He has completed a course in Advanced TRIZ and has experience of Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

Degradation of Polymers

Bernard is currently investigating the degradation of polymers and how degradation affects the mechanical properties.

Mechanical Testing of Natural Tissues

Bernard has an extensive experience in mechanical testing from:

  •  Replication of spinal trauma
  •  Mechanical testing of bone
  •  Range of motion of functional spinal units  
  •  Crack propagation and fatigue
  • Quasi-static testing and quantifying viscoelastic properties of numerous biological materials from human bladder tumours to articular cartilage

Other activities


Previous Committee Positions 

  • IMech Young Members' Panel (Republic of Ierland) Vice Treasurer, Sept 2012 - Aug 2014


Details of Bernard’s publications can be found on Google Scholar

  • Temple, D.K., Cederlund, A.A., Lawless, B.M., Aspden, R.M., Espino, D.M. (2016). Viscoelastic properties of human and bovine articular cartilage: a comparison of frequency-dependent trends. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 17:419.

  • Barnes, S.C., Lawless, B.M., Shepherd, D.E.T., Espino, D.M., Bicknell, G.R. and Bryan, R.T. (2016). Viscoelastic properties of human bladder tumours. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials, 61: 250-257.

  • Lawless, B.M., Barnes, S.C., Espino, D.M. and Shepherd, D.E. (2016). Viscoelastic properties of a spinal posterior dynamic stabilisation device. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials, 59: 519-526.

  • Lawless, B., Tiernan, S., McEvoy, F. and Morris, S. (2014). Effect of Flexion Angle during Impact on the Replication of Spinal Fractures. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Systems. Avestia, Prague, Czech
    Republic, p. Paper No: 61.

View all publications in research portal