Department: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Advisor’s name: Dr. Michele Marcolongo
Research title: Micromechanics of Healthy and Degenerated Annulus Fibrosus
Lab website: http://www.materials.drexel.edu/bio/
E-mail address: JLI25@drexel.edu
Undergraduate institution: Widener University, 2006, Mechanical Engineering
Research: The intervertebral disc (IVD) consists of a gelatinous nucleus pulposus (NP) surrounded by a tough, impermeable barrier, the annulus fibrosus (AF), allowing the disc to provide flexibility and compressive strength. IVDs are subject to injury, disease and degeneration with use over time. About two thirds of adults in the United States experience low back pain at some point in their lives, and low back pain continues to be the most common pain reported by adults, leading to numerous surgeries related to IVD degeneration. Disc herniation, one of the most surgically treated disc injuries results from the NP expulsing through a tear or weakness in the AF. In our lab, we are currently conducting studies to understand how these disruptions in the AF generate and propagate leading to herniation in order to develop therapeutic strategies. Detailed microstructural studies are performed on healthy and degenerated human cadaveric IVDs which could provide more insight into fundamental questions of the disc such as how the individual layers of a healthy AF distribute load. The objective of our work is to improve our scientific understanding of IVD structure and function, specifically the AF, as a means to develop new technology for treatments that will improve public health.
Resume: View resume