We focus on characterization and simulation of the musculoskeletal system.  Broadly, this includes elucidating structure-function relationships in orthopaedic tissues and studying the role of these tissues in human movement. Specific research projects are highlighted below:

Structure-Function Mechanisms in Orthopaedic Soft Tissues

When skeletal muscle is stretched, how do the cells and extracellular matrix deform and transmit force? How does fluid flow in the tissue? We seek to answer these questions with material testing and image analysis techniques to better understand the basic science of skeletal muscle function.

We study the mechanics of soft tissues such as skeletal muscle with techniques such as biaxial materials testing (top left), histological analysis (top right), scanning electron microscopy (bottom right), and finite element modeling (bottom left).

Modeling Lower Limb Rotational Morphology

How does femoral anteversion, a rotation of the femur that causes “toe-in” gait, affect whole body biomechanics? How could femoral anteversion lead to tissue degeneration and impairment, and how can we prevent this degeneration? This work is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Mark Seeley at Geisinger Health Systems.

Femoral anteversion is excessive rotation of the femur (top left). We use computational modeling tools such as musculoskeletal modeling (right) and finite element analysis (bottom left) to investigate femoral anteversion and tissue mechanics.

Bighorn Sheep Horn and Skull Impact Analysis

How do bighorn sheep horns and skull help dissipate energy during ramming and reduce brain cavity accelerations? By developing an understanding of how the horn structure and material properties protect the brain during impact, we can design better preventative tools for humans. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Seth Donahue at UMASS Amherst.

Bighorn sheep (left) will repeatedly ram in the wild without showing signs of significant damage to the brain. Finite element modeling (right) can be used to better understand how the horns and skull dissipate energy during impact.

Finite Element Modeling of Fiber-Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosures (FREEs)

This work, in collaboration with Dr. Keith Buffinton (also Bucknell Mechanical Engineering) and the University of Michigan aims to better understand how soft robotic actuators can be used as assistive devices.

Fiber-Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosures (FREEs) deform when pressurized, and finite element modeling can help predict buckling (top) and module behavior (bottom) to drive the design of assistive devices.

Previous Projects

  • Finite element modeling of intramuscular pressure
  • Design and modeling of the Jaipur Foot: a low cost lower-limb prosthesis
  • Computational modeling of healthy and degraded meniscus tissue

Model geometry of a rabbit hindlimb, with various muscles (red, yellow, cyan) and bone (gray).

Cross section and full view of The Jaipur Foot.