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William S. Marras, Ph.D., CPE

  • Honda Chair Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering
  • Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehab
  • Professor, Orthopaedics
  • Professor, Neurological Surgery
  • 278 Baker Systems
    1971 Neil Avenue
    Columbus, OH 43210
  • 614-292-6670


Dr. Marras is the Executive Director & Scientific Director of the Spine Research Institute, the Executive Director of the Center for Occupational Health in Automotive Manufacturing (COHAM), and the Executive Director of the Institute for Ergonomics.  He is the Honda Chair Professor in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering at The Ohio State University, and holds joint appointments in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Physical Medicine, and the Department of Neurosurgery.  His research is centered on understanding the role of biomechanics in spine disorder causation and its role in the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of spine disorders. His research includes epidemiologic studies, laboratory biomechanics studies, mathematical modeling, and clinical studies. His findings have been published in over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, and have been cited over 11,000 times.  He also has written numerous books and book chapters including his most recent book entitled “The Working Back: A Systems View.”  He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, and NPR and has a TEDx talk entitled “Back Pain and your Brain.”  Professor Marras’  work has attracted national as well as international recognition. He is a two-time winner (1993 and 2002) of the prestigious Swedish Volvo Award for Low Back Pain Research, has won Austria's Vienna Award for Physical Medicine, the Liberty Mutual Prize for Injury Prevention Research, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo for his work on the biomechanics of low back disorders.  He has been elected fellow in six professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Ergonomics Society (UK), and the International Ergonomics Association.  Professor Marras has served as Chair for numerous National Research Council committees and boards including The Committee on Human Factors, the Committee on Human Systems Integration, and the Board on Human Systems Integration. Dr. Marras currently serves as Deputy Editor of Spine and was the previous Editor-in-Chief of Human Factors.  He is the current president of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES). In 2009 Dr. Marras was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (the National Academies).

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Marras C.V. (Updated 02/03/2014)

Journal Articles


  • 2017, "Validation of a personalized curved muscle model of the lumbar spine during complex dynamic exertions." Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 33,


  • 2016, "A biologically-assisted curved muscle model of the lumbar spine: Model validation." CLINICAL BIOMECHANICS 37,
  • 2016, "The Contribution of Biomechanical-Biological Interactions of the Spine to Low Back Pain." HUMAN FACTORS 58, no. 7,


  • 2014, "Putting mind and body back together: a human-systems approach to the integration of the physical and cognitive dimensions of task design and operations.." Applied ergonomics 45, no. 1,


  • 2012, "The complex spine: the multidimensional system of causal pathways for low-back disorders.." Human factors 54, no. 6,


  • 2010, "Instrumentation for measuring dynamic spinal load moment exposures in the workplace." JOURNAL OF ELECTROMYOGRAPHY AND KINESIOLOGY 20, no. 1,
  • 2010, "Quantitative Dynamic Measures of Physical Exposure Predict Low Back Functional Impairment." SPINE 35, no. 8,
  • 2010, "Quantitative biomechanical workplace exposure measures: Distribution centers." JOURNAL OF ELECTROMYOGRAPHY AND KINESIOLOGY 20, no. 5,


  • 2009, "Loading along the lumbar spine as influence by speed, control, load magnitude, and handle height during pushing." CLINICAL BIOMECHANICS 24, no. 2,
  • 2009, "Lumbar spine forces during manoeuvring of ceiling-based and floor-based patient transfer devices." ERGONOMICS 52, no. 3,


  • 2008, "A critical review of a pivotal scientific contribution: Liles and associates 24 years later.." Human factors 50, no. 3,


  • 2007, "The effects of work experience, lift frequency and exposure duration on low back muscle oxygenation.." Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 22, no. 1,
  • 2007, "Estimation of the dynamic spinal forces using a recurrent fuzzy neural network.." IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern B Cybern 37, no. 1,
  • Gallagher, Sean; Marras, William, S; Litsky, Alan, S; Burr, Deborah; Landoll, John; Matkovic, Velimir, 2007, "A comparison of fatigue failure responses of old versus middle-aged lumbar motion segments in simulated flexed lifting.." Spine 32, no. 17, 1832-1839 - 1832-1839.
  • 2007, "The influence of lift frequency, lift duration and work experience on discomfort reporting.." Ergonomics 50, no. 3,
  • 2007, "Low back pain recurrence in occupational environments." SPINE 32, no. 21,
  • 2007, "Spinal loading during manual materials handling in a kneeling posture." JOURNAL OF ELECTROMYOGRAPHY AND KINESIOLOGY 17, no. 1,
  • 2007, "Low back pain and the workplace.." JAMA 298, no. 4,
  • 2007, "The effect of phone design on upper extremity discomfort and muscle fatigue.." Hum Factors 49, no. 4,


  • 2005, "Functional impairment as a predictor of spine loading." SPINE 30, no. 7,


  • 2004, "Spine loading in patients with low back pain during asymmetric lifting exertions." Spine Journal 4, no. 1,


  • 2003, "Gender influences on spine loads during complex lifting.." The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society 3, no. 2,


  • 2002, "Spine loading as a function of gender.." Spine 27, no. 22,


  • 2001, "Female and male trunk geometry: size and prediction of the spine loading trunk muscles derived from MRI.." Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) 16, no. 1,
  • 2001, "A non-MVC EMG normalization technique for the trunk musculature: Part 1. Method development.." Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology 11, no. 1,
  • 2001, "Spine loading characteristics of patients with low back pain compared with asymptomatic individuals." SPINE 26, no. 23,