Research

Current Investigations

Ongoing projects in the lab focus on four interrelated topics including: 1) the quantification of in vivo bone loading, 2) the influence this loading has on bone mechanobiology and mechanical fatigue, 3) the non-invasive, quantitative assessment of bone mechanical integrity, and 4) the development of treatments to improve bone quality and decrease fracture risk in aging and pathological populations.

Subject-specific computational modeling techniques are a central component of our research. We use these models to non-invasively assess the mechanical competence of bone and to quantify bone stress and strain during physical activity and rehabilitation.

Bone

The Influence of Intracortical Microarchitecture on the Mechanical Fatigue Behavior of Bone

Owing to the inherent variability found in bone tissue, two samples that appear identical in macrostructure will inevitably exhibit scatter in their fatigue behaviour. This scatter can vary as much as one or even two orders of magnitude. Our central hypothesis is that this inherent scatter can be attributed to intracortical microarchitecture, including cellular and vascular density and organization. This would be an important finding because these microarchitectural parameters are a function of bone remodeling dynamics, which may be heavily influenced by physical activity and pharmaceutical therapy. By combining mechanical testing and novel imaging techniques, this research will quantify the relationship between intracortical microarchitecture and the mechanical fatigue behavior of bone and further explore the mechanisms that govern the fatigue failure of bone using finite element modeling.

Lindsay Loundagin | Kinesiology Graduate Program: PhD

Email: lindsay.loundagin@ucalgary.ca

Tendon

Repetitive Loading and Cumulative Damage in the Human Patellar Tendon

Patellar tendinopathy is an overuse injury caused by excessive strain and is associated with the mechanical fatigue of the patellar tendon. This first study of my research combined whole body kinematics and kinetics during jumping in shoes with different midsole stiffness to estimate internal patellar tendon strains, while the second and third studies of my PhD aim to increase our understanding of how the patellar tendon behaves during fatigue loading both in terms of strain distribution and its stress-life relationship.

Colin Firminger | Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program: PhD

Email: cfirming@ucalgary.ca

Funding

Towards Real-World Monitoring of Tibial Strain and Cumulative Damage

Tibial stress fractures are a common overuse injury in runners. The accumulation of damage leading to the development of a stress fracture is believed to be influenced by the stress/strain the bone experiences and the number of loading cycles. Currently, estimation of tibial strain requires laboratory-based measurements, medical imaging, and computational models. The long-term goal of this work is to develop methods to estimate tibial strain and cumulative damage outside of the lab using wearable sensors. 

Olivia Bruce | Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program: PhD

Email: olivia.bruce@ucalgary.ca

FEA

Atypical femoral fractures – Etiology and Risk Factors

Atypical femoral fracture is a category of low-energy fracture of the femoral shaft or subtrochanteric region. Though some risk factors have been identified, such as an individual’s bone geometry or history of antiresorptive medication use, the pathomechanisms and etiology of this disease are not well understood. Using medical imaging and subject-specific finite element analysis, this research seeks to identify individuals who are at greatest risk of AFF, and to understand how various risk factors contribute mechanistically towards progression of this injury.

Ifaz Haider PhD | Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: ifaz.haider@ucalgary.ca

MoCap

Musculoskeletal Loading During Graded Running

Investigating how musculoskeletal tissue loading is altered by running grade in order to better understand the development of running injuries.

Michael Baggaley | Kinesiology Graduate Program: PhD

Email: michael.baggaley1@ucalgary.ca

Knee CT scan

Preventing Bone loss after Spinal Cord Injury

After spinal cord injury (SCI), most individuals experience rapid and profound bone loss at sublesional locations, such as the knee, and this bone loss is associated with a high risk of fracture. Using medical imaging and subject-specific finite element simulation, this study aims to develop and assess intervention programs to help patients improve or maintain bone, and reduce fractures after SCI. This work is being done in collaboration with researchers at Northwestern University.

Ifaz Haider PhD | Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: ifaz.haider@ucalgary.ca


WANTED: Healthy Adult Males (18-21 years)

Tibial Stress Fractures and Load Carriage Locomotion

Researchers are looking for participants for a study using 3D motion capture and advanced medical imaging to assess how tibial stress fracture risk is altered while walking and running with body-borne loads (up to 50 lb).

Who is eligible:

  • Healthy young adults, 18 – 21 years of age who are experienced treadmill runners and who participate in physical activity at least 3 times per week.

What to expect:

  • Participants will walk and run on a treadmill while carrying 0, 10, 25, and 50lb in a weighted vest. Each walking/running condition will last 1 min resulting in a total of 16 min of exercise. 
  • Participants will receive a CT scan of their lower limb.
  • Participants will be compensated $50 for their time.

Time Commitment:

  • Participants will be required to donate 3.5 hours of their time.

Contact:  Michael