Jessica Leitch

Jessica LeitchIt was the general nature of the Engineering Science degree at Oxford that first attracted me to the course, enabling me to specialise in the topics that interested me whilst still acquiring a fundamental knowledge of all aspects of engineering.  After my undergraduate degree, I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to read for a DPhil in Bioengineering, also at Oxford. The opportunity for me to use the skills I had acquired during my engineering degree in a medical application was extremely appealing.

My research focused on the biomechanics of anterior knee pain in distance runners. Working at the Oxford Gait Laboratory I used infrared motion analysis to compare the movements of runners with and without anterior knee pain. Being a Blues cross-country runner myself, I had never imagined that my engineering degree would enable me to combine my research with my passion for running!

After completing my DPhil, I received funding to set-up a running biomechanics service at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre hospital. I created Run3D, Europe’s only three-dimensional running biomechanics service for the assessment, treatment and prevention of running related injuries. Run3D was opened in December 2011 by Olympic athlete Jo Pavey, and has since received an extensive amount of national publicity.

I am currently working with the technology transfer division of the University of Oxford to spin-out Run3D as a private company. When I first started my engineering degree, had someone said to me ‘in less than ten years time you’ll be Director of your own Oxford University spin-out, which specialises in 3D motion analysis in sport’, I would not have believed them.  However, there is no doubt that the course provides you with the skills and expertise to succeed in whichever career path you choose to pursue.