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Bone Mechanobiology

Professor: Christopher Hernandez

Christopher HernandezProject Description: Bone has the capacity to respond to mechanical stress and strain.  Bone density is increased in response to mechanical stimuli and reduced when physical activity is reduced. While these processes are well recognized at the scale of the whole bone, they have never been studied at the scale of individual bone cells, making it unclear what mechanical stimuli are most influential in controlling bone adaptation (strain, fluid shear, etc). In this project we use three different micron-scale imaging approaches to visualize the locations of bone formation within bone microstructure and relate the locations of bone formation to hypothesized stimuli (bone tissue strain, fluid flow in bone marrow, cell population). The participating student will use analyze images of bones collected after a live animal experiment. The student will write software to perform three-dimensional image registration to spatially associate bone formation with tissue and fluid mechanical stress and strain (achieved from high-resolution finite element models). Key skills for the student include introductory computer programming (as seen in most undergraduate engineering curricula). Experience with MATLAB, computer vision and/or with finite element modeling is helpful but not necessary.

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