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Biomedical Engineering

Musculoskeletal Biomechanics

The Department's Musculoskeletal Biomechanics research centers on bone tissue and orthopaedic biomechanics. Associated faculty in the NYCBE broaden the scope to the biomechanics of cells, of the musculoskeletal system and rehabilitation engineering. Our general objectives are to understand the mechanism of bone maintenance and adaptation, with focus on the adaptive response of bone to altered mechanical loading and bone's mechanosensory system. Our motivation is to improve ways of preventing and treating osteoporosis and osteopenia caused by immobilization, bed rest, or a microgravity environment, and to improve the design and functionality of orthopaedic implants, such as total joint replacements and fracture fixation devices, as well as biological bone tissue replacements.

Dr. Cardoso investigates bone quality, integrating musculoskeletal biomechanics, signal/image processing, bioinstrumentation and mechanotransduction in bone. His research in bone biomechanics includes studies of bone mineral density, microarchitecture and bone tissue quality at the microscopic and macroscopic levels

Dr. Cowin studies the mechanics of materials, particularly in the determination of the influence of microstructure on the gross mechanical behavior of granular, composite, and biological materials. He is known for his analysis of static bin pressure induced by granular materials, his development of a continuum theory for granular materials, the creation of the continuum theory of materials with small voids, the development of models of granular material slip zones, basic theorems in anisotropic elasticity and the development of bone remodeling theories and computational algorithms.

Dr. Weinbaum has worked with Dr. Cowin since 1991 on developing a theoretical framework for fluid flow induced excitation of osteocytes in bone. In 1994 they published a landmark paper on fluid shear stimulation of osteocyte cell processes and in 2001 introduced a new hypothesis for strain amplification in the actin cytoskeleton of cell processes due to fluid drag on the tethering elements in the pericellular matrix. Drs. Cowin, Fritton and Weinbaum initiated the first International Workshop on Bone Fluid Flow and have organized three of the meetings.

Dr. Fritton uses a combined experimental and computational approach to investigate interstitial fluid flow in bone, which is believed to play a role in the signal transduction mechanism by which bone cells detect external mechanical stimuli and initiate the production of new bone or resorption of existing bone. One ongoing project, performed in collaboration with Dr. Stephen Doty at the Hospital for Special Surgery, involves tracking in vivo interstitial fluid movement due to mechanical loading in both normal and osteoporotic bone. A related study involves quantifying the three-dimensional microstructure of both normal and osteoporotic bone to understand the possible differences in fluid flow.