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Computational Mechanobiology

Tissues in the musculoskeletal system are exquisitely designed with superb mechanical properties. The tissues are also able to adapt to withstand changing mechanical conditions. The Computational Mechanobiology Group is focused on understanding these two exciting features. Using computer modeling techniques, we seek to understand the mechanical behavior of tissues and their adaptive and regenerative response to mechanical stimuli at the different time and length scales.

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Influence of biological stimuli on bone healing

Which influence has biological factors on the mechanical regulation of tissue differentiation during bone defect healing?

Mechanical stability is known to influence bone healing processes; such as intra-membranous and endo-chondral ossification. Although, their mechano-regulation has been extensively investigated during normal healing conditions, little is known about the mechano-regulation during impaired bone healing. Moreover, recent findings show that biological factors such as BMPs are modulated in their efficacy by mechanical constrains. It remains unclear how mechano-regulation is modified by biological stimuli.

The aim of this project is to investigate how biological stimuli alter the mechanical regulation of bone healing. We aim to unravel to what degree the local mechanical conditions (strain distributions) are related to bone tissue patterning within the callus region in normal, defect healing and defect healing situations stimulated with specific growth factors. We have selected two distinct biological stimuli, BMP-2 and GDF-5, to investigate specific mechanism taking place. The mechanical conditions will be characterized using finite element techniques combined with thorough material characterization of the callus tissues. The knowledge gained in this study will provide a basic understanding of the interplay between biological and mechanical stimuli and their level of relevance in bone formation. Towards the clinical setting, the findings will help to understand the relevance of mechanical fixation in critical clinical cases such as large bone defects and could later support the efficient use of biological stimuli.