Welcome to the Buckley Soft Tissue Biomechanics Lab
The goal of the Buckley lab is to exploit the principles of mechanics to improve treatments for diseases and injuries affecting soft biological tissues. Currently, we are primarily focused on musculoskeletal and ocular tissues including cartilage, tendon, intervertebral disc and cornea, and we study diseases ranging from osteoarthritis to keratoconus.
For example, we are investigating novel strategies to reduce damage to transplanted grafts during osteochondral (cartilage with bone) and corneal transplantation surgery. In these procedures, accidental graft damage increases risk of graft failure, but may be avoidable. We have begun to determine the types (e.g., shear or tensile) and magnitudes of mechanical stress experienced by sensitive regions of cartilage and cornea during transplantation procedures, as well as the types and magnitudes of mechanical stress that cause the greatest extent of damage to these tissues and their resident cells. Based on our findings, we are designing devices that either prevent imposition of stresses exceeding a critical level or alter graft properties to reduce vulnerability to mechanical stress.
We are also studying how cells in soft biological tissues (e.g., tendon) respond to external, multiaxial mechanical forces and deformations to alter tissue mechanical properties in vitro. Combining data from this study with our ultrasound-based characterization of in vivo tissue deformations during exercises and other activities, we can identify exercise interventions most likely to reverse pathology-associated mechanical changes.