Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health

2018 BESIP Project

Functional and Applied Biomechanics Section, Rehabilitation Medicine Department
Mentor Name: 
Frances T (Sheehan) Gavelli, Ph.D.
Jennifer Jackson, Ph.D.
Mentor Telephone: 

Laboratory and Project Description

This project will focus on musculoskeletal shape modeling either of the patellofemoral joint or of the shoulder joint as part of the Virtual Functional Anatomy Initiative. The overall goal of VFA is to improve the lives of people by developing engineering-based tools to improve our knowledge of basic musculoskeletal system capabilities and the mechanisms of injury, physical disabilities and the process of functional recovery.  The final decision for the project will be based upon the status of the databases, which are both being collected, at the start of the BESIP project.

The shoulder project focused on children with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy (OBPP). These children experience nerve injury at birth which affects the musculoskeletal integrity of the entire upper limb and especially the shoulder throughout their life span. OBPP leads to weakness of specific shoulder muscles in almost all children with muscle atrophy/contractures observed in half, and joint/bone deformities observed in third of the cases.

The knee project will focus on an adolescent population with PF pain. We are evaluating if bone shape may play a role in PF pain for this population and if the shape of the bone may change after the open growth plates close.

This project will require the student to work with the entire VFA team, composed of engineers, MR specialist, physicians and statisticians, to 1) learn the basics of MRI 2) develop a proficiency in acquiring static MR images 3) learn MR image analysis tools and create new ones that will enable the measurement of 2D and 3D shoulder/knee parameters. Besides learning the scientific process through hands on research, a goal for this work is for the student to develop the project to the point that an abstract can be submitted to either a national or international conference. If time or interest permits there is a possibility of exploring other assessment tools using in this study as 3D motion analysis and strength assessment or other pathologies in current studies.