Jason has defended last week and (of course) passed, making him Dr. Jason Cox! He already has a job lined up with Align Technology, the company behind Invisalign, and will be starting almost right away. He will very much be missed in the lab, but we wish him the best of luck in his new job and in everything else.
We recently continued our annual OML tradition of getting together to carve pumpkins! The weather was not on our side, but luckily we found some space inside and made sure to clean up after ourselves.
This semester we have a whopping SIX Abrams Scholar in the lab!
Brooke, Josh, Katie, Claire, and Brian will all be helping with the BPBI project. Brooke, Josh, and Katie will be looking at the effect of BPBI on bone metabolism and muscle composition. Claire will be looking at BPBI’s effect on bone microstructure, and Brian will be looking at its effect on rotator cuff muscle architecture specifically.
Carter will be working with Sandra on the bone-on-chip project. His project is titled ‘Development of a bone-on-chip platform to examine effects of post-stroke inflammation on bone-vascular interactions’
We’re so proud of all of you!
OML was again well-represented at the summer OUR symposium with five posters!! We had Brian, Carter, Josh, Katie, Nic and all present the projects that they’ve been working on over the summer, and all did a phenomenal job.
(click photo to enlarge)
This summer, OML participated in NC State’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program. This was our first time having teachers in our lab, and we loved it! We had two science teachers — a high school science teacher and a teacher in training — join our lab for 5 weeks. They helped out with data analysis for both our BPBI project and our Bone on Chip project.
Their work culminated in a poster session on campus, and ultimately they will each write a lesson plan that will be shared on RTNN’s RET Program page.
This year we started up a new partnership, leading a session at a camp focused on spinal muscle atrophy (SMA) being held for incoming freshmen at Athens Drive High School. We designed an activity that connected our lab’s biomechanics focus to SMA by looking at scoliosis, and how variations in spinal muscle strength can affect curvature. We used a pool noodle as a model of the spine and inserted dowel rods that students could connect exercise bands (‘muscles’) to. We loved coming up with a new activity, and we hope the kids had fun too!
To start, we asked them what ‘biomechanics’ is and generated a word cloud from their responses. We love how many of them used the word ‘help’ in their explanation!
Our undergraduates have been very busy. Several of them travelled to Wisconsin for NCUR, presented at the NC State Undergraduate Research Symposium, and presented a talk at our year-end Abrams seminar, all in less than 2 weeks!
At the Undergraduate Research Symposium, we had:
- Kathryn: Characterization of Porous, Mineralized Collagen-Chitosan Scaffolds for use in a Bone-On Chip Platform (working with Sandra)
- Brooke: Effects of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury on Composition of Biceps, Supraspinatus, & Subscapularis Muscles (working with Kyla)
- Rose: Verifying Quality of Joint Reaction Forces Obtained from Musculoskeletal Models for Contact Finite Element Analysis of the Rat Shoulder Following BPBI (working with Jason)
- Amanda: Characterizing Architecture of a Biomimetic Bone Scaffold (working with Sandra)
- Katie: Gait Impairment in a Rat Model of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (working with Kyla)
- Steven: Understanding Paw Preference Associated with Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (working with Kyla)
Amanda, Kathryn, Katie, and Brooke also presented their research at the Abrams Scholars Final Presentations.
In addition to the four above, Carter and Deeqa also presented at the Abrams final presentations:
- Carter: Characterization of a 3D biomimetic bone scaffold for in vitro examination of bone microenvironments (working with Sandra)
- Deeqa: Finite Element Analysis of Trabecular Bone Microstructure with Passive Joint Loads Following Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (working with Jason)
We’re also very proud to share that Jacque won the Michael Dickey Outstanding Research Mentor Award, which is presented annually at the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium. This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring and supporting undergraduate researchers. Winners of this award show a commitment to serving as a guide for undergraduate students as they move from directed to more independent work, creating opportunities for them to develop advanced technical and soft skills, encouraging then to share their research publicly, supporting underrepresented students, and offering academic and career advice for their mentees. Jacque was nominated by our lab’s undergrads for everything that she does for them and for the lab.
This year, rather than hosting our own event, we were asked by the organizers of the NC Math and Science Education Network (MSEN) to do an expo event as part of their annual MSEN Day. This event brought over 300 students from 6th through 12th grade from across the state to NC State’s campus for a day of competition, fun, and science! About half of these students rotated through our expo, having time to browse through our wide array of biomechanics-focused activities. Due to pre-planned travel, pending exams, and the event date having to be rescheduled, much of our group was unavailable to help. But Jacque, Jason, Katie, and Kyla were awesome enough to help out and did a great job engaging the students with some biomechanics.
Breaking Bones: we used a hand-crank 3 point bending system to show how different materials might have different properties, and how we can measure things like failure.
Kyla demonstrates how we can use a laser doppler flowmeter to measure blood flow.
A student tries to lift a pole with a 5lb bag of flower taped to it at different distances from the fulcrum to demonstrate the idea of muscle moment arm, and how that distance affects strength (force).
There were also plenty of non-OML-led activities for everyone to check out
These 3D stacking puzzles help students think about how we can make a 3D model from 2D images
A student checks out an interactive arm model to learn how muscles work together to move the arm
Demonstrating a powered exoskeleton that can be controlled with an app
Group photo with Jacque!
In 2023, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) was held in Wisconsin at UW-Eau Claire. OML usually is well-represented at this event, but this year we practically took over! Brooke, Deeqa, Katie, Kathryn, Amanda, and Steven all represented OML and NC State this year. They had talks and posters and pretty much knocked it out of the park. We’re so proud!
From our group to yours, happy holidays!