"The Knee Is More Than Just A Hinge: A Look At The Complex Nature Of Our Soft Tissues"

The knee joint is one of the many marvels of the human body in terms of structure and functionality. Multiple tissues work together to maintain daily function, yet many lack the ability to heal when damaged, leaving them susceptible to degradation. In this talk I will discuss a number of soft tissues but will focus on the knee meniscus and articular cartilage. Although each tissue has an individual role within the knee, healthy knee function is dependent on the collective cooperation of these tissues. I will highlight some of the mechanical, structural, and histological features of the native healthy tissue as well as how those properties change after injury or overuse and will discuss a number of projects I have worked on in an effort to mitigate damage or potentially replace damaged tissue. Lastly, I’ll present on how some of these same engineering techniques can be used to evaluate other tissues such as the pediatric growth plate.