PCMD » Biomechanics Core

Biomechanics Core

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Director: Robert Mauck, Ph.D.

While musculoskeletal tissues have several biological roles, by far their primary function is to provide mechanical load support and motion to the body in response to the activities of daily living. These load and deformation requirements vary with tissue type and location, but include significant mechanical demands such as high stiffness and strength, anisotropy (direction dependence), nonlinearity (increased stiffness as deformation increases), and viscoelasticity (time dependence and energy dissipation).  With injury, aging, degeneration, or disease, musculoskeletal tissues may experience a decline in mechanical function.  With development, growth, and therapeutic treatment, the mechanical function can improve. 

In short, assessment of musculoskeletal tissue mechanics should often be primary criteria in both basic and translational studies of degradation and treatment.  Moreover, the innovation and sophistication of biomechanical quantification must continue at a pace on par with the ever-deepening knowledge of musculoskeletal tissue molecular biology, with advances in molecular and imaging technologies, and with new therapeutic developments in order to discern the functional outcomes in these studies.  The overall objective of this Biomechanics Core (BC) is to develop and utilize a wide range of biomechanical approaches to evaluate musculoskeletal tissue damage and repair, and to provide training and funding for new projects and collaborations utilizing these assays.  The Specific Aims are:

Aim 1:   To provide guidance and training on the capabilities, advantages, and disadvantages of the various methodologies to assess musculoskeletal tissue biomechanical function through formal educational enrichment programs and one-on-one interactions.

Aim 2:   To provide expertise and service for biomechanical assays of musculoskeletal tissues.

Aim 3:   To develop new biomechanical testing techniques that will be applicable to musculoskeletal research.

Aim 4:   To provide funding for development of new projects and collaborations and to develop preliminary and/or feasibility data for investigators.

Successful completion of these aims will significantly enhance the environment and the capabilities of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), leading to new approaches to address musculoskeletal disorders and new collaborations between Center faculty who may have not previously included biomechanical function approaches in their musculoskeletal research programs.

Click here to view Dr. Mauck's presentation at the October 2011 Symposium Retreat.

Click here to learn about a few testing techniques that the BC commonly uses.

Citing the grant in publications:

“The XYZ analysis was supported by the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders, Award Number P30AR050950 from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.”

For more information, please visit McKay ORL Facilities webpage.

Click here to download the Mechanical Testing Services Rate Sheet.

Click here to download a project request form. Please submit your request to Snehal Shetye.