Scientific theme and general objectives

--- Page currently being edited, following the creation of the new BiomécaMot team in 2023, resulting from the merger of TIMC's teams BIOMECA (Biomechanics of Living Tissues and Materials - Modeling and Characterization) and SPM (Health, Plasticity, Motricity). ---


The aim of this team is to federate within TIMC the actors of biomechanics of living tissues and materials and motricity for the living in order to give a better national and international visibility to these competences specific to our research laboratory.

The biomechanics activities conducted by the researchers of this team have for the most part applicative purposes (clinical assistance and design of medical devices for the living) involving both theoretical (modeling of the behavior of biological tissues and architectural materials), computational (numerical simulation) and experimental (characterization of materials, in vivo or post-mortem measurements) aspects. The strength of the team is to be able to couple all these themes on the same scientific project.

The «Health, Plasticity, Motility» activities, joining researchers and clinicians experts in human movement analysis, takes its originality from the conjunction of fundamental and clinical expertise in children and adolescents sensory-motor behavior. This expertise leans on a movement analysis platform deployed both in the laboratory and in the Children Hospital.

Our goal is to better understand in healthy and pathological subjects the mechanisms underlying postural control, on one hand, and the interactions between posture and movement (especially gait), on the other hand. Our work is mainly based on behavioral investigations of moving individuals, by using indirect markers such as kinetics and kinematics analysis of motor coordination, electromyography of the muscles involved, analysis of the attentional cost of posture and/or movement control, imagery, or also electroencephalography.


Research topics

The biomecanic scientific research themes of the team are articulated around four research axes:

  • The experimental characterization ex vivo and in vivo of the laws of behavior of living tissues and materials for the living (figure 1).
  • The proposal of new laws of behavior adapted to the studied tissues and materials, with the permanent concern of proposing laws whose parameters can be characterized experimentally.
  • Numerical simulation of living tissues and materials (figure 2), taking into account the specific anatomy of the patient and proposing solutions for routine clinical use (generation of patient-specific models, acceleration of calculations via model reduction techniques).
  • Transfer to the clinic, with evaluations on patients via clinical studies.


recherche image 1   bioméca image 6   recherche image 2

Figure 1 : Ex vivo (left) and in vivo (center) characterization of lingual soft tissue.
Characterization of the vascular wall (right) from intravascular ultrasound sequences.


The motricity scientific research themes are articulated around these research axes:

Posture-movement interactions

Posture and movement control are frequently investigated separately in laboratory tasks or through relatively simple clinical test. However, it is through the interaction between posture and movement, on one hand, and fundamental and clinical research, on the other hand, that the central nervous system (CNS) develops specific responses to control the complexity of healthy and pathological MOTOR behavior.

The functional coupling between processes for controlling posture and processes for controlling the movement is meaningful only if this coupling takes into account, in healthy or pathological subjects, the cerebral PLASTICITY linked to the sensory, motor and/or cognitive constraints applied to the system.

Finally, our goal is to further understand the fundamental processes underlying sensory-motor pathologies, in relation to children ontogenesis, and to contribute, from a HEALTH prospective, to the development and evaluation of innovative therapeutic solutions and biomedical devices.

Our work also opens a new line of research regarding the evolution of a given sensory-motor pathology with age and the therapeutics needs of the adults patients. For example, a quick investigation of the international data bases shows more than 22 000 studies investigating cerebral palsy among which only 735 are dedicated to adult patients (3% of the studies). For scoliosis, more than 5 000 articles have been published among which 700 are focused on adult scoliosis (12% of the studies).


fig 3 SPM

Ontogenesis of motor development in healthy and pathological subjects

The present knowledge regarding motor development shows that ontogenesis is a nonlinear process. Our main interest is focused on the anticipatory and/or preparatory control mechanisms ensured by the CNS and occurring before initiation of the postural and/or motor commands.

Two dimensions are mainly investigated. The first one looks at the attentional cost and cognitive resources solicited during children development for postural and movement control. The second one regards cerebral palsy following pre or peri-natal cerebral lesions. Indeed, this pathology induces many postural and motor deficits against which we try to propose more adapted therapeutic responses.


Fig 4 SPM

Teenagers’ idiopathic scoliosis

Idiopathic scoliosis, which origin is multifactorial, represents one of the most frequent pathologies in teenagers. However, the actual therapeutic responses are not satisfying because of a limited efficacy. In addition, the real movements of the scoliotic spine during day life activities, without or with a corset, are scarcely known.

Our studies aim at developing new tools in order to better predict spine deformations, to improve surgery techniques, or to optimize the conception of the corsets and their effects on spine curvatures. These works also aim at developing innovative solutions for idiopathic scoliosis treatment by using new external corsets and/or dynamical « internal » corsets leaning on patients’ sensory-motor activity.


Research projects

Prévention Ulcères Pied

Responsable(s) : Yohan PAYAN
Contrat : Projet International de Coopération Scientifique (PICS) France-Israël - CNRS - [1970]


Responsable(s) : Yohan PAYAN
Contrat : Projet IdEx Sorbonne Universités - UNIVERSITE GRENOBLE ALPES - [2017]
Fossil tongues − FOTONG

Projet PICS Prévention Ulcères

Responsable(s) : Yohan PAYAN
Contrat : Projet International de Coopération Scientifique (PICS) France-Israël - CNRS - [2017]
Prévention des ulcères du pied diabétique

Projet biomécanique et tissus mous

Responsable(s) : Yohan PAYAN
Contrat : Programme Hubert Curien France - Nouvelle-Zélande (Campus France) - UNIVERSITE GRENOBLE ALPES - [2017]
Modélisation biomécanique des tissus mous du sein pour une assistance à la chirurgie

Projet Imagerie et génération de modèles biomécaniques

Responsable(s) : Yohan PAYAN
Contrat : Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM) - UNIVERSITE GRENOBLE ALPES - [2016]
Imagerie pour la génération de modèles biomécaniques personnalisés de la jambe : applications à l’arthrodèse de cheville et à l’ostéotomie tibiale

Convention CHU Nantes

Responsable(s) : Yohan PAYAN
Contrat : Convention Reversement CHU Nantes - UNIVERSITE GRENOBLE ALPES - [2013-2017]
Étude préliminaire en vue de la prévention des escarres à l'aide d'un dispositif embarqué.


Team members
Presentation of team members (introductory sentence)

The BiomécaMot team is co-directed by Grégory Chagnon and Estelle Palluel.

Team coordinator(s)

Permanent members

Others members

PhD students


Les thèses en cours dans notre équipe :

  • Benoît GAULIN : "Analyse de l'influence du positionnement personnalisé d'implants dans l'arthroplastie de genou par analyse quantifiée du mouvement et modélisation biomécanique. " (framed by Estelle PALLUEL )
  • Clément HORTEUR : "Intérêt de la planification et modélisation pré-opératoire sur jumeau numérique pour le choix des critères d'implantation d'une prothèse totale de genou " (framed by Yohan PAYAN )
  • Marie Charlotte PICARD : "Modélisation biomécanique du visage humain pour l'assistance chirurgicale. " (framed by Yohan PAYAN )
  • Vianney POIRON : "VELIS augmenté " (framed by Pierre Yves GUMERY )
Platforms - Resources
Health, Plasticity, Motricity platform
  • 32-channel data acquisition system (A/D 12 bit) + 32 I/O digital, wireless

spm 1  
  • Kinematic analysis
    of 3D wireless motion

    • Opto-electronic system (optotrak + codamotion)
    • Accelerometers
    • 3D video system
    • Goniometers
    • 9-channel inertial units


spm 2    
spm 4    spm 3
spm 6
  • Surface electromyography

spm 5  
  • 128 channels EEG

spm 7  
  • Force platforms
    (static and dynamic)

spm 8  
  • Walking mats Gaitrite

spm 9  
  • Treadmill

  • Sensors and other devices:
    strain gauges, ground contacts, tendon vibrators, etc.

spm 10  


Primary collaborations and grants

The mechanical behavior of human organs and soft tissues is often very complex, since it is non-linear, time-varying, active, non-homogeneous and anisotropic. Any experimental mechanical characterization of such tissues (and even of materials interacting with these tissues) relies on behavioral models that best take into account this mechanical/geometrical/physical complexity. The researchers of the Biomeca-TIMC team determine behavioral laws (hyperelastic, viscoelastic, plastic or poroelastic) able to mimic the deformations undergone by human tissues and/or materials interacting with these tissues. We also propose original models for active tissues (e.g. muscle activation in interaction with bone segments, deformation of active organs such as the heart, the tongue or facial soft tissues).

The models developed are multi-scale (time and space) and multi-process (chemistry, cells, tissues, mechanics of continuous media). Their coupling with the environment can be done via equivalent boundary conditions (representative elementary volumes) to limit the complexity of the model itself. The team collaborates with several clinical services, with laboratories of chemistry, materials and biomechanics, as well as with industrial companies (startups and large groups).

Biomeca image 3
bioméca image 4

Figure 2 : Numerical simulations of breast deformations (left) and atherosclerotic plaques (right)




  • Positioning within the biomechanics community: Y. Payan (2012) and J. Ohayon (2016) recipients of the Society of Biomechanics (SB) Senior Award; J. Ohayon past president of the SB; Y. Payan associate editor of the journal Clinical Biomechanics from 2020; J. Ohayon and Y. Payan editors of the series Biomechanics of Living Organs published by Elsevier (from 2017).
  • International partnerships: UK, Iran, Canada, USA, Spain, Netherlands, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Israel.
  • Wide spectrum of tissues modeled: cell, coronary vessels, muscles, fat, brain, face, tongue, breast, lungs, heart, liver, intestines, buttocks, prostate, urethra, knee, spine and foot.

Clinical and industrial valorization

The clinical and industrial valorization of the results is also a central objective of the team.

The researchers already have important collaborations with several clinical services in France and abroad, and in particular a privileged partnership with the Laboratory of Anatomy of the University Hospital of Grenoble.

Industrial valorization is achieved through the filing of patents (4 patents filed over the period 2014-219), industrial contracts (General Electric, ANSYS, Sinclair, Anatoscope, Uromems, Demeure Orthopédie) and transfers via the pre-maturation of the Institut CARNOT LSI (CARDIO and IFEM projects), maturation in SATT (IPAV project) and the creation of startups (Texisense and TwinSight).

In addition,

  • National Research Agency program: Technology Enhanced Learning Environment for Orthopaedic Surgery, 2007-2010.
  • ENVEHO funding for the development of clothes more adapted to children walk.
  • PHRC-IP for the recording of pressure variations at the interface between the stump and socket in above-knee amputees.
  • Crédit Impôt Recherche – Chabloz Orthopédie for the development of innovative corsets.



Address: TIMC, Site Santé, Pavillon Taillefer, Rond-Point de la Croix de Vie, 38700 La Tronche
Address: Faculté de Médecine de Grenoble, Bâtiment Jean Roget, 38706 La Tronche