Maybe I just tied my shoes too tight: Imaging and computational modeling to understand skeletal injury and adaptation

Date(s) - 03/18/2024
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-11

Karen Troy, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Department Head, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Fractures are one of the most common and impactful musculoskeletal injuries, and often result from underlying conditions of poor bone health such as osteoporosis. Because bone is mechanosensitive, it is possible to use exercise and other targeted physical activity to improve bone strength and reduce fracture risk. However, without noninvasive measures of bone strength and estimations of physiologic loading, we cannot evaluate whether an exercise is likely to improve bone strength, or may even cause an overuse injury to bone. Our research bridges this gap through the use of patient-specific computational models to better understand in vivo bone loading and noninvasively measure changes to bone strength due to clinical interventions. I will discuss examples of how we can better understand, predict, and prevent injuries in various clinical populations by identifying modifiable factors that change bone loading biomechanics.



Dr. Karen Troy is Professor and Associate Department Head of Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA.  She directs the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory, which aims to understand how physical forces (such as those generated by the body during exercise and sports) interact with and change bone structure. Dr. Troy is an expert in orthopaedic and whole-body biomechanics, quantitative image analysis including computed tomography (QCT), and patient-specific finite element (FE) modeling.  She collaborates with physicians and other clinicians, with the goal of preventing fractures and other types of musculoskeletal injury in various populations such as growing children, athletes, older adults, and individuals with spinal cord injury. Dr. Troy teaches engineering at the graduate and undergraduate levels and particularly enjoys working individually with students in her lab and on projects. She has held multiple leadership roles within the American Society of Biomechanics and the Orthopaedic Research Society, most recently serving as Program Chair for ASB (2020) and chairing the Education Council for the ORS (2021-23). Throughout her career she has prioritized student-centered mentorship and has advocated for inclusion, diversity, support, and mentorship for scientists at all career levels.