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Prof. J. (Jaap) Harlaar PhD. Ir.


The mission of Jaap Harlaar translational research program is to design, explore and evaluate technical solutions for clinical problems in the area of musculoskeletal disorders. The laboratories for clinical human movement analysis he developed at VUmc were implemented in most clinical practices of of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Netherlands. Now this lab is globally recognized as leading in the diagnosis of paediatric walking problems. Jaap founded the Flemish/Netherlands scientific society for clinical movement analysis and was president of ESMAC for five years. When Jaap moved to Delft (dept biomechanical engineering) in 2017 he transferred his research line on the biomechanics of walking in knee osteoarthritis (KOA) to ErasmusMC, joining the staff of orthopaedics as professor in clinical biomechanics in 2020. Together with the dept. of Radiology and general Practice, a novel precision biomechanics lab (staff and equipment) is being build. Adjacent to experimental biomechanics, computational biomechanics are developed in the multiscale biomechanics in KOA project within Medical Delta, holding a honorary Medical Delta professorship. Jaap published over 170 international peer reviewed publications has a H-index (WoS) of 31. 

Field(s) of expertise 

Biomechanics, biomedical engineering, musculoskelatal modeling, translational research 

Education and career 

  • 1985 MSc in Electrical Engineering (UTwente, Enschede) 
  • 1985-2017 Head human movement laboratories, dept. Rehabilitation Medicine , VUmc Amsterdam 
  • 1998 PhD in medicine (VU Amsterdam) 
  • 2000-2017 Lecturer at the faculty of human movement science (VU Amsterdam) 
  • 2006 President and co-founder of SMALLL (Dutch/Flamish society for Clinical Movement Analysis) 
  • 2010-2015 President of ESMAC (European Society for Clinical Movement Analysis) 
  • 2012-2020 Professor in clinical movement analysis (VU Amsterdam) 
  • 2013 Visiting professor dept. orthopedics University of Minnesota / Gillette Children’s (Minneapolis/St Paul) 

Teaching activities 

Director of studies of Clinical Technology (bachelor) & Technical Medicine (master) Both studies are a joint degree of Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University and Leiden University 

Other positions 

  • Chair in clinical biomechatronics 
  • TUDelft, fac. 3mE, dept. Biomechanical Engineering 
  • Honorary Medical Delta professor 
  • LUMC, TUDelft & Erasmus MC