Joanna Veres

A Novel Computational Model For Bovine Intervertebral Disc Joint Level Mechanics

Being able to understand and predict the behavior of bovine intervertebral discs under different mechanical stresses is important because bovine discs are often used as a stand-in for human discs in disc biomechanics studies. Current computational methods of modeling stress and strain mechanics in the disc are very inconsistent because they are unable to reliably and accurately depict fiber mechanics, due to the fact that they treat a non-homogenous, fibrous part of the disc (the annulus fibrosis) as a homogenous structure. This newly developed computational model is better able to predict the behavior of the disc as it more accurately models the annulus fibrosis as a structure made up of separate fiber bundles. With this improved model, the scientific community will be able to more accurately predict the mechanical stability of a disc with simulated repair or degeneration. However, this model has yet to be experimentally validated. My project is designed to evaluate the compression and torsional mechanics of the bovine disc in order to verify the validity of this new computation model.

Message to Sponsor

Being able to spend the summer working in the lab on a cutting-edge project that has the potential to have a tangible, positive impact on the scientific and medical community is incredibly exciting. Not only have SURF and the Rose Hills Foundation given me the opportunity to work on a meaningful project, but they have also given me the chance to expand my lab skills and explore my passion for bioengineering in an unparalleled, hands-on manner. I am so grateful for the unique privilege SURF has provided me by letting me further entrench myself in the world of research.
  • Major: Bioengineering
  • Sponsor: Rose Hill Foundation
  • Mentor: Grace O’Connell