"Our work has the ultimate goal of improving treatments and quality of life for individuals suffering from muscle-related clinical problems."
Silvia Salinas Blemker, Commonwealth Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Blemker is from Lawrence, Kansas. She did her undergraduate and Master’s work in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She is broadly interested in muscle mechanics & physiology, multi-scale modeling, mentoring students, and teaching.
The Multiscale Muscle Mechanophysiology (“M3”) lab is collectively fascinated by skeletal muscles, which are the motors for all the wide range of voluntary movements in the human body. Each muscle’s properties are beautifully tuned for a specific function in the body, which can be easily disrupted by diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or in aging populations. We seek to gain new insights into the form, function, biology, and diseases of muscles. Our work has the ultimate goal of improving treatments and quality of life for individuals suffering from muscle-related clinical problems. We integrate a variety of computational and experimental approaches to achieve this goal.
Commonwealth Endowed Associate Professorship in Engineering2013
The Hartwell Foundation Individual Biomedical Research Award2012
Journal of Biomechanics Award (w/ B. Sharafi), American Society of Biomechanics2010
UVA University Teaching Fellowship2009
Medical and Molecular Imaging
Biomechanics/Injury Biomechanics or Biomechanics and Mechanobiology
As fans around the world have marveled at the athletic feats performed in the 2016 Summer Olympics, University of Virginia biomedical engineer Silvia Blemker and her research team are investigating how differences in musculature can help lead to Olympic gold.
University of Virginia engineer Silvia Salinas Blemker and biologist Christopher Deppmann have been named recipients of 2011 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards, which provide $100,000 in annual research support for three years to each awardee.
"Of all the muscles that work together when we run quickly, the muscles in the hamstring group are most subject to injury," said Silvia Salinas Blemker, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science. "And one particular hamstrings muscle, the biceps femoris long head, is most commonly injured."
In silico and in vivo experiments reveal M-CSF injections accelerate regeneration following muscle laceration, Annals of biomedical engineering 45 (3), 747-760 ABSKS Martin, CD Kegelman, KM Virgilio, JA Passipieri, GJ Christ
Heterogeneity of muscle sizes in the lower limbs of children with cerebral palsy, Mhuscle & nerve 53 (6), 933-945 ABSGG Handsfield, CH Meyer, MF Abel, SS Blemker
Computational modeling of muscle regeneration and adaptation to advance muscle tissue regeneration strategies, Cells Tissues Organs 202 (3-4), 250-266 ABSKS Martin, KM Virgilio, SM Peirce, SS Blemker
A computational model quantifies the effect of anatomical variability on velopharyngeal function, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 58 (4), 1119-1133 ABSJM Inouye, JL Perry, KY Lin, SS Blemker
Musculoskeletal simulation can help explain selective muscle degeneration in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Muscle & nerve 52 (2), 174-182 ABS X Hu, SS Blemker
Agent-based computational model investigates muscle-specific responses to disuse-induced atrophy, Journal of Applied Physiology 118 (10), 1299-1309 KS Martin, SS Blemker, SM Peirce
A computational model of velopharyngeal closure for simulating cleft palate repair, Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 26 (3), 658-662 ABSJM Inouye, CM Pelland, KY Lin, KC Borowitz, SS Blemker
Multiscale models of skeletal muscle reveal the complex effects of muscular dystrophy on tissue mechanics and damage susceptibility, Interface focus 5 (2), 20140080 ABSKM Virgilio, KS Martin, SM Peirce, SS Blemker
Relationships of 35 lower limb muscles to height and body mass quantified using MRI, Journal of biomechanics 47 (3), 631-638 ABSGG Handsfield, CH Meyer, JM Hart, MF Abel, SS Blemker
The effects of aponeurosis geometry on strain injury susceptibility explored with a 3D muscle model, Journal of biomechanics 43 (13), 2574-2581 ABSMR Rehorn, SS Blemker
A 3D model of muscle reveals the causes of nonuniform strains in the biceps brachii, Journal of biomechanics 38 (4), 657-665 ABSSS Blemker, PM Pinsky, SL Delp
Three-dimensional representation of complex muscle architectures and geometries, Annals of biomedical engineering 33 (5), 661-673 ABSSS Blemker, SL Delp
Skeletal muscles are the motors for all of the wide range of voluntary movements. Each muscle's properties are beautifully tuned or "designed" for a specific function in the body. This tuning is achieved through variations in several structural components of muscle and can be easily disrupted by misuse or disease. The goal of our research is to identify the principles of muscle design by characterizing the relationships between muscle structure, mechanical properties, biology, and function. We are applying these findings to understanding and improving the treatments for musculoskeletal impairments associated with movement disorders, such as cerebral palsy.
We are integrating a variety of computational and experimental approaches to achieve this goal. We create computational models of the musculoskeletal system that describe the complex three-dimensional architecture and geometry of muscles. We also develop nonlinear constitutive relationships for muscle that represent the properties of muscle cells and extra-cellular connective tissues. We use dynamic magnetic resonance imaging techniques to study the deformation and motion of muscles during joint movement. We perform anatomical measurements and tissue testing to characterize the arrangements of proteins in muscle and to determine the material properties of muscle tissue.