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Room: 3047
Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

Ph: (608) 262-2690
Fax: (608) 265-2316
ploeg@engr.wisc.edu

Profile Summary

The research goal of my Bone and Joint Research Laboratory is to understand the human musculo-skeletal system better, in order to aid the development of biomechanical and safe solutions for the prevention, care and treatment of diseased or injured systems. My research applies both experimental and computational methods to investigate the human subject over a wide range of scales from musculoskeletal biomechanics down to bone microstructures. The creation of advanced prevention and treatment strategies requires an understanding of their effects on the tissue structures of the body. Biomechanical models that replicate the physical and physiological behavior of tissue structures are an enabling technology for assessing this interaction. The aim of my research is to evolve the sophistication of biomechanical models, in the form of physical surrogates and computer simulations, in order to refine novel prevention and treatment strategies. Multidisciplinary, industrial and clinical collaborations are required, and therefore, are a natural product of research in this field.

The combination of computational and experimental methods provides a powerful synergy towards the understanding of human biomechanics in the development of innovative strategies for the prevention and treatment of diseases of or injuries to the musculoskeletal system. In view of the time and resource requirements of running biomechanical experiments, there are several advantages to computational modeling of human bones and joints, including: repeatability, reproducibility, adaptability, accessibility and transferability. That is not to say computational modeling replaces experimental methods; but, they are powerful compliments. In vitro and in vivo experiments are required to generate and validate accurate computer models; and, computational models can be applied to design and analyze efficient experiments. The development of an accurate human joint model requires anthropometric and material data of the bone and surrounding tissues, definition of the boundary conditions, and validation. Using numerical algorithms of bone-remodeling, an accurate finite element model may also be used to predict bone adaptation due to changes in its loading environment, for example due to rehabilitation therapy or a surgical procedure.

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