Bone Hydration to Reduce Microcracking and Fracture Risk

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering-Medicine

Project Description

Enhanced bone hydration is a promising pathway to reduce bone fragility. This approach biochemically modifies tissue properties that are independent of bone mass or density. This research focusses on the biomechanisms through which hydration alters local and tissue-level deformation and fragility. This research addresses the following key research questions: (1) How can in-depth understanding of bone fracture toughness guide deployment of hydration as a therapeutic approach to increase bone fracture resilience? (2) What are the differences in biomechanical properties of water-hydrated bone vs bone hydrated under pharmacologically modulated conditions? (3) How can current clinical prediction models for bone fracture analysis become predictive under consideration of hydration conditions? Research will be conducted on bone tissue specimens (cortical and trabecular bone) that will be subjected to ex vivo pharmacologically treatment to modulate hydration. Bone microstructure, mineralization and degree and type of tissue hydration will be measured and correlated to the deformation and fracture behavior bone as well as the microcrack evolution in the control and modulated state. Ex vivo finding will be extended to whole bone and in vivo conditions.

Start Date


Postdoctoral Qualifications

The ideal candidate has a PhD with a focus on areas such as biomechanics, applied mechanics (fracture, image based finite element analysis), x-ray methods for microstructures.


Thomas Siegmund,, School of Mechanical Engineering,
John Howarter,, School of Materials Engineering,
Laura Pyrak-Nolte,, Department of Physics,

Outside Collaborators

Matthew Allen, Indiana University, School of Medicine,
Joseph Wallace, IUPUI,


Siegmund, T., Allen, M.R. and Burr, D.B., 2008. Failure of mineralized collagen fibrils: modeling the role of collagen cross-linking. Journal of biomechanics, 41(7), pp.1427-1435.

Hammond, M.A., Wallace, J.M., Allen, M.R. and Siegmund, T., 2019. Mechanics of linear microcracking in trabecular bone. Journal of biomechanics, 83, pp.34-42.

Allen, M.R., Territo, P.R., Lin, C., Persohn, S., Jiang, L., Riley, A.A., McCarthy, B.P., Newman, C.L., Burr, D.B. and Hutchins, G.D., 2015. In Vivo UTE‐MRI Reveals Positive Effects of Raloxifene on Skeletal‐Bound Water in Skeletally Mature Beagle Dogs. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(8), pp.1441-1444.

Berman, A.G., Wallace, J.M., Bart, Z.R. and Allen, M.R., 2016. Raloxifene reduces skeletal fractures in an animal model of osteogenesis imperfecta. Matrix Biology, 52, pp.19-28.