Dr. Marwan El Rich
Dr. marwan el-rich Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering

Contact Information
marwan.elrich@ku.ac.ae +971 2 312 4193


Before joining Khalifa University in 2016, I was an assistant professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and adjunct professor in the department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Alberta in Canada. I also worked as engineer expert in Biomechanics at Altair Engineering France for 2 years.

My research area of expertise is computational biomechanics of the human musculoskeletal system with focus on the thoracolumbar and cervical spines as well as the ankle joint. I am interested in the development of numerical tools such as musculoskeletal (MS) and finite element (FE) models that help study the biomechanical properties of the musculoskeletal system in healthy subjects, in patients with diseases such as low back pain, neck pain, talar bone fracture, gait deficits and associated musculoskeletal complications following a stroke, and to optimize the related treatments.  

I am also interested in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can ease the process of subject-specific modelling and propose alternative solutions to the current techniques which are labor-intensive and time-consuming.

I am co-founder of MASHYAH (www.mashyah.com), a start-up company, which enables comprehensive gait analysis by combining portable motion sensors and personalized musculoskeletal modeling to motion collect data and compute joints reaction loads.

I am Professional Engineer and member of the APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, Canada, the European Society of Biomechanics and the ASME-Bioengineering Division.  I am also an associate editor in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, section Biomechanics.

I have supervised 3 post-doc fellows, 7 PhD students, 4 MSc and 5 MEng students who have graduated. Four of the PhD graduates are assistant professor/ research associates in Canadian and US universities. Currently, I am supervising 2 PhD and 1 MSc students. 

  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering (Biomechanics), Polytechnique Montreal (Canada)
  • M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnique Montreal (Canada)
  • D.E.A. Civil Engineering, Ecole Centrale Paris, (France)
  • B.Sc. Civil Engineering, Ecole National Polytechnique

  • Finite Element Analysis (ENGR455)
  • Selected Topics in Mechanical Engineering (MEEN 694 )
  • Engineering Dynamics (MEEN201)
  • Mechanics of Solids (MEEN325)
  • Statics (MEEN200)

Affiliated Research Institutes/Centers
  • Healthcare Engineering Innovation Center

Research Interests
  • Computational Biomechanics of the Musculoskeletal System, Innovative Biomaterial, Implants, Artificial Intelligence, Gait, Biomechanics of the Human Spine

Research Projects

  • New Advanced Composites for Tissue-Engineered Osteochondral Constructs

Summary: The project focuses on the development, for the first time, of novel osteochondral tissue constructs using new interpenetrating phase composites (IPCs) that combine architected surface-based smart nitinol structures and polyurethane (PU) polymer phase. The tissue construct can serve as articular cartilage repair and in artificial bone replacement implants design. Compared to existing solutions, such as polymers, inorganic materials, ECM-based materials, the superelasticity of nitinol, combined with the ability to control the stiffness of nitinol implants by means of embedded architected porosity, may provide better mechanical compatibility with human osteochondral tissue. Moreover, the proposed surface-based architectures are expected to allow osseointegration and osteoconductivity comparable to state of the art alternatives.

The project objectives are the following:

  1. Fabrication and testing of architected nitinol for application to osteochondral tissue engineering
  2. Fabrication and characterization of novel SMA/polymer interpenetrating phase composites
  3. Modeling and simulation to support computer-based design of the new osteochondral construct
  4. Biomechanical evaluation of the performance of the proposed osteochondral construct alone and as part of a talar bone implant
  5. Development of educational resources and research capabilities and industrial outreach

Project Personnel

KU: Dr. Marwan El-Rich (PI), Dr. Wael Zaki (co-I), Dr. Fahad Almaskari (co-I)

Canada: Dr. LePing Li (University of Calgary), Dr. Nadr Jomha (University of Alberta)

  • Obesity, Gait Characteristics, and Joint Biomechanics in a the UAE Population

Summary: The aim of the project is to investigate obesity and obesity shape in a young Emirati population and quantify their effects on gait characteristics, spine and joints biomechanics using a subject-specific framework that includes gait analysis and a full body musculoskeletal (MS) model. This novel framework is unique due to its ability to predict subject-specific muscle forces and joint reaction forces and moments throughout the entire gait cycle, in addition to the standard gait analysis outputs. The resulting data will provide subject-specific gait characteristics and joint-loading profiles based on personalized musculoskeletal modeling that accounts for the subject kinematic and kinetic data as well as his/her trunk mass distribution. These profiles are of high importance for low back pain and joint osteoarthritis prevention, personalized risk assessment, and treatment programs

Desirable Outcomes and Deliverables:

  • Determination of gait characteristics of young Emirati subjects with normal weight, overweight and obesity.
  • Prediction of the subject body shape and segmental mass models based on anthropometric measurements using our validated deep learning tools
  •  Prediction of joint reaction forces of Emirati subject during gait using our full body MS model
  • Comparison of the gait characteristics and joint biomechanics of obese and overweight with normal weight participants using statistical analyses and gait deviation indices
  • Exploration of possible relationships between obesity shape and gait characteristics and joint loadings in young Emirati subjects.

Project Personnel

KU: Dr. Marwan El-Rich (PI), Dr. Kinda Khalaf (Co-I)


Research Staff and Graduate Students:

Abdul Aziz Hulleck Ph.D. student
Rajan Prasad Ph.D. student
Shiza Ahmed M.Sc. student
Abdelsalam Tareq Alkhalaileh M.Sc.student
Ahmed Hafez Ph.D. student
Doua Kosaj Ph.D. student

  • Project: New Advanced Composites for Tissue-Engineered Osteochondral Constructs

PhD position: prerequisites required of candidate

  1. Strong background and interest in materials science, engineering mathematics, and solid mechanics.
  2. Excellent command of written and spoken English.
  3. Experience using a finite element software for structural simulations.
  4. Knowledge of continuum mechanics.
  5. Basic knowledge of Biomechanics and additive manufacturing techniques is desired.

Research assistant position:

  • Obesity, Gait Characteristics, and Joint Biomechanics in a the UAE Population

PhD positions: Successful candidates should have a sound engineering background and should be able to work both in a team and independently within a multidisciplinary framework in clinical and research settings. The candidates should also demonstrate good research potential and passion for learning. Experience in numerical modeling as well as basic knowledge of biomechanics are preferable.