Biomechanics and Tissue Regeneration


for Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery

Defining the Mechanical and Biologic Properties of Pediatric Cranial Bone

Jonathan Black, Assist. Prof, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery (SOM),  Matt Panzer, Assist. Prof, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (SEAS), Patrick Cottler, Assist. Prof, Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery (SOM)

Traumatic injury and congenital birth defects in infancy and childhood affecting the skull and facial bones usually require surgical correction. While it is known that the properties of the pediatric skull are substantially different from adult tissue, the composition, rigidity and structure are poorly studied and treatment devices are simply smaller versions of adult hardware. Additionally, most congenital corrections require expansion of the skull in order to allow growth, and there are few good tools to guide these procedures. This team from Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery at the UVA School of Medicine and the Center for Applied Biomechanics will apply techniques and knowledge from the study of head and brain injury during automobile crashes and sports impacts to develop models based on pediatric cranial bone for surgical planning and simulation. This will lead to improved treatment and outcomes in pediatric craniofacial surgery.

for Muscle Atrophy

Engineering Approach to Rotator Cuff Atrophy

Brian Werner, Assist. Prof, Orthopaedic Surgery (SOM), George Christ, Professor, Biomedical Engineering (SEAS/SOM), Thomas Barker, Professor, Biomedical Engineering (SEAS/SOM)

Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in the shoulder, making the surgical repair of rotator cuff injuries a common procedure. While there is substantial research devoted to improving healing rates and clinical outcomes after surgery, muscle atrophy after surgery remains a common problem, and these changes in the muscle are generally irreversible. This multidisciplinary research team from Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering joins experts in shoulder injury and repair, wound healing, and muscle and tissue regeneration in order to optimize a tissue-engineering approach to address and treat chronic rotator cuff muscle atrophy.

for Wrist Arthritis 

Merging Core Shell Metal Organic Frameworks and Regenerative Microporous Annealed Particle Scaffolding: An Engineered Approach to Wrist Arthritis

Donald Griffin, Asst. Prof, Biomedical Engineering (SEAS), Guarav Giri, Asst. Prof, Chemical Engineering (SEAS), Brent DeGeorge, Asst. Prof, Surgery – Plastic & Maxillofacial (SOM), Patrick Cottler, Asst. Prof, Surgery – Plastic & Maxillofacial (SOM)

Wrist arthritis affects at least 2 million adults per year in the U.S. alone. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is characterized by irreparable loss of cartilage, which increases friction between joint surfaces and leads to pain and potentially loss of function. Because doctors cannot restore damaged cartilage, the only option for patients in severe pain is total joint replacement.

The research team comprised of experts from the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery aims to change the landscape for arthritis patients using an approach called regenerative medicine. They are designing new injectable materials that not only encourage the body’s cells to repopulate a treated region but also deliver the growth factors those cells need to thrive and produce new cartilage.

and Robotic Simulations for Feet and Ankles

Development, Implementation, and Demonstration of a Robotic Gait Simulator

Jason Kerrigan (SEAS‐MAE), Joseph Park (SoM‐Ortho), Truitt Cooper (SoM‐Ortho), Venkat Perumal (SoMOrtho), Richard Kent (SEAS‐MAE), Silvia Blemker (SEAS‐BME)

As the population ages, the incidence of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders is increasing, generating a need for new and better treatments to relieve pain and restore mobility. While joint replacements now successfully address many cases of arthritis in hips and knees, it has proven more challenging to develop successful replacements and other treatments for the ankles and feet.

In this project, mechanical engineers at the Center for Applied Biomechanics (CAB) and surgeons from UVA’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will collaborate to develop, implement, and demonstrate the use of a new research capability at UVA: a robotic gait simulator. A robotic gait simulator is a combination of software and hardware that allows researchers to simulate realistic physiological foot and ankle biomechanics while measuring forces, pressures, motions, and deformations of different structures that cannot be accurately measured in patients.

The CAB robotic system will provide a platform to study the complex structure/function relationships in the foot and ankle, allowing researchers to simulate surgical interventions and repairs, better understand mechanisms of injury and pathology of disease, and evaluate novel designs for engineered replacements. This collaborative project will place UVA at the forefront of experimental biomechanics as one of only a handful of institutions that can perform these realisitc robotic tests.