Skip to content
Curtin University
Health Sciences

Staff directory

Professor Leon Straker

Professor Leon Straker Professor Leon Straker

BAppSc(WAIT), MSc(Lond), PhD(Syd)

Position John Curtin Distinguished Professor
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences
School School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science
Campus Bentley Campus
Location 408.3545
Phone +61 8 9266 3634
Fax +618 9266 3699
Email L.Straker@curtin.edu.au

Brief Summary

Leon Straker is Professor of Physiotherapy and holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship.

 He has an international reputation for research, is nationally recognized as a leader in physiotherapy, is a successful teacher and program leader and has made a substantial contribution to physiotherapy and ergonomics locally, nationally and internationally.

 Leon has worked in the area of prevention of musculoskeletal disorders for over 20 years, starting with a government taskforce on Repetitive Strain Injury. His professional experience has included working as a community physiotherapist providing prevention education for adult workers and school children and working as the first ergonomist for the UK National Health Service where he developed a participative approach to risk management.

 Leon has taught research methods and ergonomics to undergraduate physiotherapy students and ergonomics to postgraduate students and received excellent student ratings. He has supervised over 50 student research projects producing ~100 publications. He has lead undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs and been responsible for coordinating higher degree by research programs. In 2005 he received a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for developing the Course Evaluation on the Web system for continual course improvement after the Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) program increased its Course Experience Questionnaire student satisfaction ratings by 25%.

 Leon has also received awards for distinguished service to the international ergonomics association and made a significant contribution nationally.

 He has published over 200 scholarly works including over 100 peer reviewed journal papers and 20 books and book chapters. His papers have been cited over 700 times. He has been chief investigator on grants worth over $4 million, including 4 from the NHMRC and others from National Arthritis Foundation, Physiotherapy Research Foundation, Healthway, WorkCover Queensland, Division of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Australian Coal Association Research Program. He has served as an editorial board member for 2 of the leading journals in this area and was Editor for Ergonomics (2007-2010). He instigated the international virtual ergonomics conference CybErg, and chaired the first two of these.

 The quality of his research has been recognised with a number of awards including the international Stephen Pheasant Memorial award for physical ergonomics research in 1999 and the national John Lane award in 2004 for a major systematic contribution to advancing the science of ergonomics and its application in Australia.

 His research has attracted international mass media interest with TV news coverage in Europe, Asia and North America, major print media such as The New York Times and The Times. He is a sought after speaker with invitations for keynote addresses in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

Memberships, Awards and Training

Leon is a registered physiotherapist and Member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. He has previously been a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association, the UK National Back Exchange and the Institute for Human Factors and Ergonomics UK.

Recent awards have included:

2012-2016 National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship; 2011 Raine Foundation award for most outstanding contribution to public health utilising the Raine Study data; 2011 Journal of Physiotherapy Oration; 2009 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Alan Welford award for best paper on an ergonomics topic; 2007-2011 National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship; 2006 Curtin University Health Sciences Researcher of the Year'; 2005 Cutin University Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence for development of Course Evaluation on the Web; 2004 Ergonomics Society of Australia John Lane Award for major systematic contribution to advancing ergonomics in Australia; 2004 USA National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health honourable mention for intervention research; 2002 Elsevier Science Publishers award for best paper at CybErg 2002 conference; 

 

Back to top

Employment History

Physiotherapist at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Senior Physiotherapist at Community Health Services WA, Ergonomist at Kingston and Esher Health Authority UK, Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor/Professor Curtin University.

Back to top

Teaching

  • PhD, MPhil, honours Research Supervision
  • Prior teaching in undergraduate research methods, occupational health and ergonomics and postgraduate coursework teaching in ergonomics
Back to top

Research Interests

  • impact of technology on health with a focus on prevention
  • Sedentariness
  • Computer and electronic game use by children
  • Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders associated with manual handling, sitting and computer use
  • Adolescent spinal pain
Back to top

Publications

2015

Journal Articles (Research)

2014

Journal Articles (Research)

2013

Journal Articles (Research)

2012

Journal Articles (Research)

Conference Articles (Research)

2011

Journal Articles (Research)

2010

Journal Articles (Research)

Conference Articles (Research)

2009

Journal Articles (Research)

2008

Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)

2007

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Burgess-limerick, R., L. M. Straker, C. M. Pollock, G. Dennis, S. Leveritt, and S. Johnson. 2007. “Implementation of the participative ergonomics for manual tasks (PErforM) programme at four Australian underground coal mines.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 37: 145-155.
  • Dankaerts, W., P. O'Sullivan, A. F. Burnett, and L. M. Straker. 2007. “The use of a mechanism-based classification system to evaluate and direct management of a patient with non-specific chronic low back pain and motor control impairment - A case report.” Manual Therapy 12: 181-191.
  • Straker, L. M., and R. Abbott. 2007. “Effect of Screen-Based Media on Energy Expenditure and Heart Rate in 9- to 12- Year-Old Children.” Paediatric Exercise Science 19: 459-471.
  • Straker, L. M., P. O'Sullivan, A. Smith, and M. Perry. 2007. “Computer Use and Habitual Spinal Posture in Australian Adolescents.” Public Health Reports 122: 634-643.

Conference Articles (Research)

  • Harris, C., L. M. Straker, and C. M. Pollock. 2007. “Children's Exposure and Use of Information Technology.” In 43rd Annual Conference - Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, Nov 26, 2007, Perth, Western Australia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc.
  • Ciccarelli, M., L. M. Straker, S. Mathiassen, and C. M. Pollock. 2007. “How much variation does task rotation in the computerised office really provide?.” In The 43rd Annual Conference of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, Nov 26, 2007, Perth, Western Australia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia.
  • Coleman, J., L. M. Straker, R. Burgess-limerick, and C. M. Pollock. 2007. “IT Kids:Is Paper IT Work More Physically Variable than Computer IT Work for Children?.” In A Healthy Society:Safe, Satisfied and Productive 43rd Annual Conference - Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, Nov 26, 2007, Perth, Western Australia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc..
  • Straker, L. M., and S. Parry. 2007. “Increasing Physical Stress at Work - The Necessity for a New Paradigm for Physical Ergonomics.” In A Healthy Society : Safe, Satisfied and Productive 43rd Annual Conference - Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, Nov 26, 2007, Perth, Western Australia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc.
  • Ranelli, S., L. M. Straker, and A. Smith. 2007. “Prevalance of Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Problems in Children Learning Instrumental Music.” In A Healthy Society : Safe, Satisfied and Productive 43rd Annual Conference - Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, Nov 26, 2007, Perth, Western Australia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc.
  • Haselgrove, C., L. M. Straker, A. Smith, P. O'Sullivan, M. Perry, and N. Sloan. 2007. “The Effects of School Bag Carriage on Adolescent Spinal Pain.” In A Healthy Society : Safe Satisfied and Productive 43rd Annual Conference of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, Nov 26, 2007, Perth, Western Australia: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc..

2006

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Straker, L. M., C. M. Pollock, S. R. Zubrick, and J. Kurinczuk. 2006. “The association between information and communication technology exposure and physical activity, musculoskeletal and visual symptoms and socio-economic status in 5-year-olds.” Child: Care, Health and Development 32 (3): 343-351.
  • Straker, L. M., C. M. Pollock, and R. Burgess-limerick. 2006. “Excerpts from CybErg 2005 discussion on preliminary guidelines for wise use of computers by children.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 36: 1089-1095.
  • Straker, L. M., C. M. Pollock, and R. Burgess-limerick. 2006. “Towards evidence-based guidelines for wise use of computers by children.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 36: 1045-1053.
  • O'Sullivan, P., W. Dankaerts, A. F. Burnett, L. M. Straker, G. Bargon, N. Moloney, M. Perry, and S. Tsang. 2006. “Lumbopelvic kinematics and trunk muscle activity during sitting on stable and unstable surfaces.” Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 36 (1): 19-24.
  • Dankaerts, W., P. O'Sullivan, L. M. Straker, A. F. Burnett, and J. S. Skouen. 2006. “The inter-examiner reliability of a classification method for non-specific chronic low-back pain patients with motor control impairment.” Manual Therapy 11 (1): 28-39.
  • Dankaerts, W., P. O'Sullivan, A. F. Burnett, and L. M. Straker. 2006. “Altered patterns of superficial trunk muscle activation during sitting in nonspecific chronic low back pain patients: Importance of subclassification.” Spine 31 (17): 2017-2023.
  • Dankaerts, W., P. O'Sullivan, A. F. Burnett, and L. M. Straker. 2006. “Differences in sitting postures are associated with non-specific chronic low back pain disorders when patients are subclassified.” Spine 31 (6): 698-704.

Conference Articles (Research)

  • Coleman, J., L. M. Straker, and R. Burgess-limerick. 2006. “ITKids: Is paper IT work more physically demanding than computer IT work for children?.” In The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia 42nd Annual conference - New Technology: Putting Macro The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia 42nd Annual conference - New Technology: Putting Macro The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia 42nd Annual conference - New Technology: Putting Macro The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia 42nd Annual conference - New Technology: Putting Macro the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, 4, Nov 20, 2006, Sydney, NSW: The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia.
  • Wise, M., L. M. Straker, S. Mathiassen, and C. M. Pollock. 2006. “ITKids: Variation in muscle activity among school children when using different information and communication technologies.” In The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, 42nd Annual Conference. New Technology: Putting a macro & Micro into Context, Nov 20, 2006, Sydney, NSW: The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia.
  • Ciccarelli, M., L. M. Straker, S. Mathiassen, and C. M. Pollock. 2006. “ITKids: does computer use reduce postural variability in children?.” In IEA 2006 Congress, Jul 10, 2006, Maastricht, Netherlands: IEA Press.

2005

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Greig, A., L. M. Straker, and A. Briggs. 2005. “Cervical erector spinae and upper trapezius muscle activity in children using different information technologies.” Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 91 (2): 119-126.
  • Straker, L. M., and C. M. Pollock. 2005. “Optimizing the interaction of children with information and communication technologies.” Ergonomics 48 (5): 506-521.
  • Harris, C., L. M. Straker, C. M. Pollock, and S. G. Trinidad. 2005. “Musculo-skeletal outcomes in children using information technology - the need for a specific etiological model.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 35: 131-138.
  • Szeto, G., L. M. Straker, and P. O'Sullivan. 2005. “The effects of speed and force of keyboard operation on neck-shoulder muscle activities in symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 35: 429-444.
  • Szeto, G., L. M. Straker, and P. O'Sullivan. 2005. “The effects of typing speed and force on motor control in symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 35 (9): 779-795.
  • Szeto, G., L. M. Straker, and P. O'Sullivan. 2005. “EMG median frequency changes in the neck-shoulder stabilizers of symptomatic office workers when challenged by different physical stressors.” Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 15 (6): 544-555.
  • Szeto, G., L. M. Straker, and P. O'Sullivan. 2005. “A comparison of symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers performing monotonous keyboard work - 1: Neck and shoulder muscle recruitment patterns.” Manual Therapy 10: 270-280.
  • Szeto, G., L. M. Straker, and P. O'Sullivan. 2005. “A comparison of symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers performing monotonous keyboard work - 2: Neck and shoulder kinematics.” Manual Therapy 10: 281-291.

Conference Articles (Research)

  • Straker, L. M., C. M. Pollock, and R. Burgess-limerick. 2005. “Towards evidence based guidelines for healthy and wise use of computers by children.” In CybErg 2005, Sep 15, 2005, South Africa: International Ergonomics Association Press.

2004

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Straker, L. M., R. Burgess-limerick, C. M. Pollock, and R. Egeskov. 2004. “A randomised controlled trial of a participative ergonomics intervention to reduce injuries associated with manual tasks: physical risk and legislative compliance.” Ergonomics 47 (2): 166-188.
  • Briggs, A., L. M. Straker, and A. Grieg. 2004. “Upper quadrant postural changes of school children in response to interaction with different information technologies.” Ergonomics 47(7): 790-819.
  • Dankaerts, W., P. O'Sullivan, A. F. Burnett, L. M. Straker, and L. A. Daneels. 2004. “Reliability of EMG measurements for trunk muscles during maximal and submaximal voluntary isometric contractions in healthy controls and CLBP patients.” Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 14: 333-342.
  • McKenna, L. J., J. M. Cunningham, and L. M. Straker. 2004. “Inter-tester reliability of scapular position in junior elite swimmers.” Physical Therapy In Sport 5 (3): 146-155.

2003

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Straker, L. M. 2003. “Evidence to support using squat, semi-squat and stoop lifting techniques to lift low lying objects.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 31 (3): 149-160.
  • Innes, E. J., and L. M. Straker. 2003. “Attributes of excellence in work related assessments.” Work 20 (1): 63-76.
  • Innes, E. J., and L. M. Straker. 2003. “Workplace assessments and functional capacity evaluations: Current beliefs of Australian therapists.” Work 20 (3): 225-236.

2002

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Szeto, G., L. M. Straker, and S. Raine. 2002. “A field comparison of neck and shoulder postures in symptomatic and asymptomatic office workers.” Applied Ergonomics 33 (1): 75-84.
  • Roelofs, A., and L. M. Straker. 2002. “The experience of musculoskeletal discomfort amnogst bank tellers who just sit, just stand or sit and stand at work.” Ergonomics SA 14 (2): 11-29.
  • Innes, E., and L. M. Straker. 2002. “Strategies used when conducting work related assessments.” Work 19 (2): 149-165.
  • Tuckwell, N. L., L. M. Straker, and T. E. Barrett. 2002. “Test retest reliability on nine tasks of the physical work performance evaluation.” Work 19 (3): 243-253.
  • Straker, L. M., A. Briggs, and A. M. Greig. 2002. “The effect of individually adjusted workstations on upper quadrant posture and muscle activity in school children.” Work 18 (3): 239-248.
  • Straker, L. M., A. Briggs, and A. Greig. 2002. “The effect of individually adjusted workstations on upper quadrant posture and muscle actvity in school aged children.” Work 18 (3): 239-248.
  • Innes, E. J., and L. M. Straker. 2002. “Workplace assessments and functional capacity evaluations: Current practices of therapists in Australia.” Work 18 (1): 51-66.

2001

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Zandvliet, D. B., and L. M. Straker. 2001. “Physical and psychosocial aspects of the learning environment in information technology rich classrooms.” Ergonomics 44 (9): 838-857.

1998

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Gurr, K. K., L. M. Straker, and P. J. Moore. 1998. “Cultural hazards in the transfer of ergonomics technology.” Industrial Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 22 ((4-5)): 397-404.

Additional publication categories

2014

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

2012

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

2011

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

2010

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

2009

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

2003

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Tucker, B. M., S. T. Jones, L. M. Straker, and J. H. Cole. 2003. “Course evaluation on the web: Facilitating student and teacher reflection to improve learning.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning 96: 81-93.
  • Straker, L. M. 2003. “A review of research on techniques for lifting low lying objects: 2. Evidence for a correct technique.” Work 20 (2): 83-98.

1998

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Gurr, K. K., L. M. Straker, and P. J. Moore. 1998. “A history of seating in the Western world.” Ergonomics Australia 12 (3): 23-32.
Back to top