Jaap Harlaar, PhD

Delft University of Technology & Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam


Graduated as an electrical engineer, I  specialized in  biomedical engineering, focussing on measuring and processing ElectroMyoGraphic signals during movement into clinically meaningful information. That forced me  to take the biomechanics of human movement into the equation. At the VU university hospital in Amsterdam, over the years I developed several successful (and also less successful..) technological solutions for the clinical application of  the biomechanical analysis of human movement (including motor control). I always felt the importance of working very closely together with clinicians; paediatric physiatrist, neurologist and orthopaedic surgeons in the case of treating walking problems in children with cerebral palsy. Later on I started working together with scientists and clinicians to see how biomechanics of human movement could help in understanding and treating Knee OsteoArthritis , by assessing the pathomechanics about the knee, and how to affect those. Over the last six years I intensified this, being affiliated to the technological University in Delft, and the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. We now aim to more precisely measure cartilage biomechanics  using an innovative hybrid setup of  realtime imaging along with motion capture. Processed with a multiscale modelling framework of knee biomechanics, we want to define the role of cartilage pathomechanics in KOA aetiology and contribute to mechanical phenotyping in individuals with (early) KOA.


Before joining OARSI – now my primary professional society -  I served ESMAC (for five years as their president), as well as ISPO. I have been the responsible organiser of  several world congresses; on human motion biomechanics, P&O, and rehabilitation technology. Besides my research program I serve as director of an innovative educational program that merges engineering sciences and medicine, constituting a new healthcare professional: the clinical technologist.