Bone Cell and Tissue Mechanics

July 10, 2017 — July 14, 2017


  • Bert van Rietbergen (Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

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Bone is a remarkable material: it is strong yet lightweight, can adapt itself to changes in mechanical loading, lasts for a lifetime and can repair itself after a fracture. Although biology has revealed many secrets of how bone cells can form and remove bone tissue, the mechanisms that control these processes, and the role of mechanical loading in this, are still not well understood. The goal of this course is to provide state-of-the-art information on this topic. To do so, the course will review the entire area of bone cell and tissue mechanics at all three commonly distinguished levels of structural organization of bone: the bone organ level, the bone tissue level and the bone cell level. The course will be of a multi-disciplinary nature and include topics like bone biology, imaging and computational modeling.
At the bone organ level, the focus will be on the diagnosis of bone strength using imaging and computational techniques. Bone remodeling at this level is often considered as an optimization process that adapts bone density and shape to the mechanical loading conditions. Hypothetical models that are developed to describe such adaptations of bone are discussed.
At the bone tissue level, bone can form remarkable complex porous architectures. This capability provides bone with the possibility to form bone with mechanical properties in a wide range. Methods to visualize and model such structures in 3D have become available only over the last two decades. Hypothetical models describing how these structures evolve, how they can adapt to mechanical loading and how they can be affected by bone diseases are discussed.
At the level of the cell, promising candidates for the mechanosensory system will be discussed, as well as possible signaling pathways for the communication between bone cells. At this level, the porosity of the bone tissue itself also becomes an important factor since it is assumed that fluid flow plays an important role in the mechanosensory system. The visualization and modeling at this level still is a challenging field of research.
Besides being informative, it is hoped that the course will function as a forum for the exchange of data, philosophy, and ideas across disciplinary divides and so provide further stimulus for a comprehensive approach to the problems of bone mechanics. The target audience are graduate students, PhD candidates and young faculty members. We expect an audience as diverse in background as the lecturers, that is to say spanning across the professional spectrum from biomedical and structural engineers, to biologists, veterinarians and orthopaedic and dental surgeons.


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