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Role of Meniscus Micromechanics in Joint Function and Osteoarthritis

Monday, April 24, 2017

2:00 PM-4:00 PM

BIOMED PhD Research Proposal

Role of Meniscus Micromechanics in Joint Function and Osteoarthritis

Qing Li, PhD Candidate, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Lin Han, Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Meniscus, a crescent-shaped fibrocartilage located between the femur and tibia ends of the knee, is an essential component of the knee joint, responsible for stability, load transmission and lubrication. The unique biomechanical function of the meniscus is endowed by its hierarchicallly structured extracellular matrix (ECM). Injuries in the meniscus often lead to the development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis, a prevalent form of osteoarthritis among the younger population. Knee meniscus has very limited self-healing capabilities, especially in the inner avascular, proteoglycan-rich zone. These facts motivate us to elucidate the structure and mechanical properties of meniscus at the nano-to-micrometer scale, which will provide a basic understanding of the native knee joint function, as well as osteoarthritis (OA).

First, we propose to study how collagen structure determines the heterogeneity and anisotropy of meniscus, as well as maturation dependence. With such knowledge, the repair and regeneration strategies can be developed and evaluated with respect to the specialized structural and functional complexity of the native meniscus.

Second, we propose to define the biomechanical properties of murine meniscus. Murine models offer a unique platform to study synovial joint development and OA pathology. Understanding the biomechanics of murine meniscus will provide a necessary foundation for studying the pathomechanics of meniscus in murine models.

Last, we propose to determine the role of decorin in the mechanical changes of meniscus during the progression of destabilization of medial meniscus (DMM) induced OA. Understanding the whole knee joint pathogenesis during DMM induced OA can provide a basis for new strategies to slow down OA progression.

Contact Information

Ken Barbee

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Bossone Research Center, Room 303, located at 32nd and Market Streets.


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