The Yao Lab of Tissue Biomechanics
The Clemson-MUSC Joint Bioengineering Program
The lab is part of the Clemson University and Medical University of South Carolina Joint Bioengineering Program, which cites its goal as to bridge the biomedical and allied disciplines to create and facilitate growth of fundamental understanding of engineering as applied to biological systems, enhance advances in health care through translational research, and educate and train a highly competent and resourceful future bioengineering workforce. More information about the program can be found on its website at http://www.musc.edu/bioengineering.
(Normal disc and degenerated disc)
The focus of the lab is on studying the biomechanics of cartilaginous tissues in order to further understand the causes of tissue degeneration in parts such as invertebral discs and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Mechanical forces at the tissue level affect the physical signals at the cellular level, and tissue growth or degeneration distort the physical signals with changes in the tissue material properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Although the physical signals are very complex, comprised of mechano-electrochemical events within the ECM, it can be quantified by appropriate, theoretical models with realistic material properties. Research steps toward an accurate prediction of physical signals under mechanical loading and tissue remodeling include characterizing electro-kinetic properties (e.g., fixed charge density), investigating inhomogeneous and anisotropic disc behavior, improving 3D finite element models, and developing mechno-electrochemical model of disc cells.
Last updated November 2011