Visualization of Transport Phenomena in a Bedside to Benchtop and Back Orthopedic Engineering Laboratory

Date(s) - 02/28/2017
9:00 am

Morgan Giers, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

In this seminar I will discuss visualization of transport phenomena for several applications in orthopaedic surgery.

First, infections following orthopedic surgery often require removal of the implant and weeks of treatment with antimicrobial loaded bone cement. This fails to cure the infection ~10-20% of the time, requiring multiple surgeries. Antimicrobial loaded bone cement is one of the oldest clinically used controlled release formulations; however, most research characterizing its release occurs in vitro because the spatial and temporal distribution of drug delivery is difficult to measure in vivo.

In this work, in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of local drug delivery was performed to visualize and quantify the time resolved distribution of MRI contrast agents, used as a surrogate for antimicrobials, in orthopaedic wounds. Concentration maps and 3D reconstruction of the contrast were made from the MRI images. The practical usefulness of this method was assessed using comparisons between devices located in different locations, wounds, and depot formulations.

Second, the intervertebral disc (IVD) is the largest avascular structure in the human body, so changes in disc structure and subsequent small changes in nutrient supply can threaten the survival of endogenous IVD cells as well as transplanted cells. As the cells die, the ability of the disc to remodel its extracellular matrix (ECM) declines and the disc degenerates. One of the major barriers to IVD regeneration strategies is creating an environment conducive to cell survival in a low-transport structure.

In this seminar I will show a multi-tiered approach to developing treatments for the intervertebral disc based on the stage of disc degeneration.  Each approach studies potential molecular and biomechanical targets for IVD regeneration in the context of the nutrient deprived human IVD.  


Morgan Giers received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla) in 2010 and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2013.  She then started a postdoctoral fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Giers is the recipient of an IRA A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Dean’s Fellowship, the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Award, and the Jeannette Wilkins Award for Best Basic Science Paper at the Musculoskeletal Infection Society Annual Meeting. Dr. Giers has also authored grants awarded a Russian Science Foundation Research Grant, a Barrow Neurological Foundation Grant, and private donations totaling $700,000 for her teams work. Her interdisciplinary work in drug delivery, transport phenomena, orthopedic surgery, and MRI imaging has been presented at over two dozen scientific meetings and in 8 peer reviewed journal articles.