A New Self-healing Mechanism and its Impact on Multiscale Biomechanics of Bone

  • Vashishth, Deepak (PI)
  • Picu, Catalin C.R. (CoPI)

Project Details


The research objective of this award is to investigate the mechanistic basis of the nanoscale self-repair in bone and evaluate how it impacts the fracture of bone. These studies will add significantly to the understanding of complex biophysical self-healing mechanisms that are increasingly being applied to develop advanced materials. Understanding self-healing will also have a major impact on human health, by elucidating the impact osteoporosis has on bone repair, and may lead to enhanced therapeutic treatments for osteoporotic patients. An understanding of the inter- and intra-species matrix protein content will provide direct evidence of biomechanical and mineral variation between species, providing inferences related to bone evolution on a scale that has previously been under explored. The educational plan supported by this award focuses on developing new and interactive course content in Mechanobiology and Continuum Mechanics, two courses taught by the PIs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The findings of this study will directly introduce interdisciplinary material to the courses mentioned above.

Studies conducted under this award will employ biochemical analyses and x-ray techniques to examine the association between non-collagenous bone proteins, osteocalcin and osteopontin, and the bone mineral phase within humans and across selected animal species. Nanomechanical testing and atomic force microscopy will be used to evaluate and monitor the roles of osteocalcin and osteopontin, and mineral in repairing nanoscale damage, under physiological conditions in vitro. Finally, multi-scale modeling approaches, incorporating macroscale fracture toughness and bone mineral data obtained from bones of multiple animals, will be used to develop a comprehensive understanding of how bone matrix self-healing at the nanoscale, impacts whole bone fracture resistance across various species.

Effective start/end date1/07/1430/06/18


  • National Science Foundation: $390,000.00


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