Research Activities and Focus Areas

The Musculoskeletal & Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory studies and collaborates on multiple areas of research interest. An important aspect of the labs’ research program is training young scientists. There’s close, day-to-day interactions between the students and the P.I. to provide guidance with research projects, manuscript and grant writing, data analysis, and presentations.

Research Projects

1. Spine Biomechanics: 

Vertebral fracture prediction: Osteoporosis is an age-related systemic skeletal disease characterized by low bone mass, decreased bone strength, architectural deterioration and a significant increase in fracture risk and bone fragility. Yet, despite the high prevalence of fractures, there is no clear prevention. Our lab implements experimental techniques, imaging, and computational modeling (QCT/FEA) to understand bone structure, properties and failure strength. The long-term goal of the lab is to develop fracture prediction methodologies to improve the quality of life of those suffering from fragility fractures as a result of osteoporosis or metastasis to the spine.

2. Shoulder Biomechanics: 

Rotator Cuff Tears: Rotator cuff (RC) tears are the most common cause of shoulder pain and shoulder-related disability with a prevalence of 50 and 80% in the middle-aged and elderly populations, respectively. There are more than 4.5 million RC-related physician visits and approximately 270,000 ambulatory surgical repairs, with a return-to-work time of 7-11 months. Our lab implements experimental techniques and imaging modalities to understand soft tissue integrity and performance. Part of our RC research is to implement novel imaging modalities, such as ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE) and quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) to a) develop  non-invasive techniques allowing for less invasive procedures if possible, or preparing for salvage procedures as necessary if repair is not possible or not likely to be successful; and b) allow for monitoring of the RC muscle throughout the rehabilitation process.

3. Lower leg Biomechanics:

Under development.