We use transgenic mouse models to identify the mechanical and molecular regulators of tendon, muscle, bone, and joint growth and maturation. 

Funded by: NIH R03 and R01, Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research and Education

Histological section of transgenic mouse arm that expresses both green and red fluorescent reporters

We are studying the effects of HIF1a gain and loss of function in tendon and enthesis development and healing. 

Funded by: NIH R01

Our overall objective is to study the physicochemical coupling between extracellular matrix stiffness and inflammatory signaling by developing a tendon specific microphysiological system (MPS) with tunable stiffness. 

Funded by: NIH R01 and CPOD Emerging Scholars

We are experts in the use of small animal models for studying musculoskeletal repair. We have developed several models for studying hip unloading and instability as well as rotator cuff injury and repair. Such models provide preclinical translation and mechanistic approaches for understanding tissue remodeling following injury.

Funded by: NIH R01 (Harley laboratory at UIUC)

We use biomechanical testing to understand the functional consequences of abnormal development and to compare healing outcomes following injury. For example, we use uniaxial tensile testing with digital image correlation (DIC) to measure both global- and local-scale changes in mechanical properties of tendon and enthesis.

Mechanical testing of tendon

We use micro-computed tomography (microCT) and other imaging tools to visualize the 3-dimensional structure of tendon attachments that connect muscle to bones and explore how muscle loading influences the shape of attachments, bones, and joints. At the University of Michigan, we use state-of-the-art microCT and nanoCT to visualize bone, soft tissue, and biomaterials with high-resolution.

Funded by: NSF CAREER and NIH R01

Cross-sectional X-ray image of a mouse humerus

We are working with bone biologists and muscle physiologists to identify factors that drive mechanical and biological crosstalk between muscle and bone.