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Mechanics of Biological Tissues

The structure-function relationships of biological materials are critical to understating tissue development, function, disease, and therapy. We use custom-built devices to simultaneously study structure and mechanics of biological tissues.

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Compliant regions in cartilage

Fluorescence movie of human knee cartilage under shear. The cartilage is stained green, then photobleached, to allow for calculation of strains and displacements, and in turn for calculations of local moduli. Notice that the upper region, close to the articular surface, is much more compliant than the bulk.

Quasi-Static Shear Mechanical Properties of Articular Cartilage

Articular cartilage, the soft connective tissue that coats bones in joints, is a highly complex and inhomogeneous material. It is made up of a fluid-saturated, cross-linked network of collagen fibrils whose orientation and porosity vary with depth from the articular surface. Interspersed among the network are cells and highly charged molecules called proteoglycans. Cell shape, cell density and proteoglycan density are all also spatially dependent.  

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