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Imaging, Simulation and Stimulation

The main goal of our group is to combine state-of-the-art quantitative imaging with numerical modelling to assess the biomechanical competence of musculoskeletal tissues under normal, pathological, and healing conditions and to utilize the elastic interaction of waves with matter to stimulate healing.

A fundamental aspect of our research is the development and application of novel diagnostic tools dedicated for assessment of functional properties of musculoskeletal tissues (bone, muscle, cartilage, cells). The increasing complexity of this research field requires an effective interaction between various traditional research disciplines. Therefore, the Q-BAM lab consists of physicists, engineers, physicians, but also biologists and computer engineers. Moreover, our lab has strong and tight collaborations with national and international experts in the field, e.g. within the French-German research network "Ultrasound assessment of bone strength from the tissue level to the organ level".

The Q-BAM group has received an international recognition in the field of quantitative acoustic microscopy of mineralized tissues. However, since no single technology provides a comprehensive view of the interplay between composition, structure and the resulting functional behavior of the organ (e.g. the resistance to fracture of bone), we usually combine acoustic methods with other innovative technologies (e.g. synchrotron radiation µCT, Raman spectroscopy, nanoindentation, in-vivo ultrasound, Finite Element Analysis). Der Focus of our work is now moving from the technological development towards the application fundamental and translational musculoskeletal research.

Some of the current research projects address the following questions:

  • Derivation of structure and tissue elasticity of mineralized tissues from the nanoscale to the macroscale
  • Relation between tissue mineralization and elasticity at several hierarchical levels of organization
  • Development and validation of novel ultrasound based in-vivo technologies dedicated for the noninvasive assessment of fracture relevant bone alterations at the peripheral skeleton during de- and regeneration (distal radius, proximal femur, finger phalanges)
  • Impact of structure and tissue elasticity on the resistance to fracture of a healing callus
  • "Elastic phenotyping" of bone in small animal models
  • Development of experimentally validated numerical homogenization models of cortical bone
  • Impact of osteoinductive biomaterials and growth factors on the kinetics of bone healing