Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 9 - 2018

Nidhi Bhutani, Orthopedic Surgery
Ovijit Chaudhuri, Mechanical Engineering

Osteoarthritis (OA) is an unmet medical need that affects 1 in 6 adults above 60 years of age in US and significantly impairs quality-of-life by impacting movement and function. Not a single disease-modifying drug is yet available for OA, therefore the fundamental molecular mechanisms underlying the disease need to be understood for new therapeutic strategies. Although it is generally understood that changes in the matrix surrounding cells and tissues can have profound effects on cellular function, the precise biophysical properties of the surrounding matrix in health and disease and their subsequent effects on cellular function are only beginning to be unraveled. This project entails collaboration between a mechanical engineering laboratory and a school of medicine laboratory to dissect out the cross-disciplinary question of how the changes in ECM (extra cellular matrix) viscoelasticity affect cartilage homeostasis in health and during disease initiation and pathogenesis in OA.