Dr. Nadia Azar

Dr. Nadia Azar

Associate Professor

E-mail: azar5@uwindsor.caDr. Nadia Azar
Phone: (519) 253-3000 ext: 2473
Office: HK Building, Room 111

Ergonomics/Biomechanics lab 

PhD, Wayne State University, Biomedical Engineering
MS, Wayne State University, Biomedical Engineering
MHK, University of Windsor, Occupational Biomechanics
BHK, University of Windsor, Movement Science


My primary background and research training is in occupational biomechanics and biomedical engineering (with concentrations in biomechanics and neurophysiology).  The choice of which research area to specialize in was a difficult one for me, because I am interested in so many different subjects!  I love searching for the common threads between disciplines, and seeing how elements from one domain influence or mesh with those of another.  The research process is fascinating to me, regardless of the specific questions under investigation.  As a result, most of my projects have integrated theory from multiple disciplines within kinesiology, and often from biology and engineering.

My current research has me combining my roots in occupational biomechanics and neurophysiology with my love of music (especially rock music) to study drummers. The drum set is arguably the most physically intense instrument to play, which leads to lots of interesting questions about drummers' athleticism, performance, and injuries. My current projects examine drumming performance from the following perspectives:

  • Drummers as athletes
    • Examining the biomechanics and motor control of novice vs. skilled drummers
    • Documenting drummers’ energy expenditure during live performances
  • Drummers as workers
    • Documenting the prevalence and patterns of playing-related musculoskeletal pain & problems (PRMPs) in drummers
    • Determining the playing-related and lifestyle characteristics that put drummers at risk for, or protect them from, PRMPs

My overall goal is to do for drummers what sport science is doing for athletes: I want to help them play better, faster, and stronger while avoiding injuries. This work has been featured nationally on CBC Radio, and internationally on Drum Talk TV, David Aldridge’s Drumming Blog, and the University of Windsor YouTube Channel.

For the last several years, I have also been working with my colleagues Chad Sutherland and Sean Horton to deliver adapted physical exercise (APEX) programming for adults with autism spectrum disorder and an intellectual disability (ASD-ID), and for adults with multiple sclerosis.  Through our combined expertise, along with several highly-talented graduate and undergraduate students, we have been able to examine the impact of participation in APEX in these groups from multiple perspectives (e.g. physical fitness, motor control, quality of life, social inclusion/bystander effects), using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.  Adults with ASD-ID are an under-serviced and under-researched group, so it’s particularly exciting to be working at the forefront of a new research area and generating knowledge that may ultimately help shape policy and service delivery.  It’s also extremely rewarding to see the immediate impact our research has on our participants and our program staff alike.

Students interested in getting involved in these projects can email me for information about volunteer/internship opportunities and graduate supervision (azar5@uwindsor.ca).

Recent Research Funding

  • Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant with Community Living Essex County (2016-2019)
  • Southern Network of Specialized Care (2016)
  • Mitacs-Accelerate Graduate Research Internship (2015)
  • Developmental Disabilities Division, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (2014)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund – Funding for research infrastructure / Fonds des leaders John-R.-Evans – Financement de l'infrastructure de recherche (2013-2018)
  • University of Windsor Strategic Priorities Fund (2013-2014)
  • Kinesiology Research Seed Grant (2013-2014)

Recent Publications 

Underlined names indicate student co-authors

Bested S, Carr K, Sutherland CA, Horton S, Azar NR.  Improving motor control in adults with autism spectrum disorder and an intellectual disability: Preliminary results from an adapted physical exercise intervention.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, under review.

McAllister RJ, Carr K, Sutherland CA, Azar NR, Horton S. Community exercise program for adults with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability: Program bystander perceptions.  Journal on Developmental Disabilities, in press.

Azar NR, McKeen P, Carr K, Sutherland CA, Horton S, 2016.  Impact of motor skills training in adults with autism spectrum disorder and an intellectual disability. Journal on Developmental Disabilities 22(1), 28-38.

Carr K, McKeen P, Daabous J, Azar NR, Horton S, Sutherland CA, 2015.  Reliability of the Jebsen Test of Hand Function among adults with autism and an intellectual disability.  Journal on Developmental Disabilities 21(1), 52-60.

Azar NR, Iley T, Godin CA, Callaghan JP, Andrews DM, 2014. Three-dimensional peak and cumulative shoulder loads and postures during non-occupational tasks. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation 47(1), 73-86.