Ligament injuries cause joint instability and can lead to chronic joint disorders. The underlying cause of
these functional deficits is the poor structural quality of the repaired matrix. Improvements to clinical
outcomes require a mechanistic understanding of the physical mechanisms that instruct the restoration of
matrix structure and function. The development and validation of mechanistic models would support the
application and design of targeted interventions, such as soft-tissue mobilization, that apply mechanical
stimuli directly to the remodeling matrix. The primary objective of this research proposal is to characterize
physical mechanisms for matrix remodeling during ligament wound healing. The central hypothesis is that
mechanical stimulation during wound healing can improve ligament repair by enhancing matrix composition
and organization. To test this hypothesis, an experimental and computational methodology will be employed
to measure and predict the structural and functional effect of mechanical stimulation on ligament reparative
tissue. In Aims 1 and 2, a computational framework will be developed to predict matrix remodeling from
mechanical stimulation using tissue-equivalent materials. In Aim 3, an in-vivo experiment will validate the
predictive ability of this new model in a three-dimensional finite element simulation. Two potential projects
stemming from this work include the design of soft tissue mobilization methods for use in human subjects
(clinical trial); and the formulation of a new hypothesis on mechanotransduction mechanisms during repair.
This may improve our ability to instruct signaling pathways during tissue repair, and help further our longterm
goal of developing therapies for fast and full restoration of soft-tissue function after injury. As a Junior
Investigator in the COBRE in Matrix Biology, I will work with my scientific mentor to complete the scientific
aims and to develop a grant proposal for future R01 funding.
For more information about Dr. Trevor Lujan please click here.