Multi-Contrast MRI-Based Computational Modeling of the Human Knee

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering-Medicine

Project Description

This project aims to develop and apply magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based computational models of the human knee, with a focus on cartilage and patellar tendon. Multiple contrast mechanisms may be used, including anatomic scans (high-resolution morphology), displacement-encoded MRI (noninvasive measurement of tissue deformation), and quantitative MRI (correlates of macromolecular content). In addition to providing indicators of tissue structure, content, and biomechanics, multiple MRI methods also supply complementary information about musculoskeletal tissues that can be used to develop and refine finite element-based models of a human subject’s knee.

The ideal postdoctoral candidate will work with Drs. Carroll and Chan equally to advance this research. Dr. Carroll is a physiologist and biologist with a strong research program in tendon health and disease. His work focuses on factors that drive tendon disease and potential interventions, including the role of advanced glycation end products in tendon degeneration and impaired healing. Dr. Carroll utilizes MRI and ultrasound methodologies to quantify in vivo tendon biomechanical properties and morphology in humans. Dr. Chan is a biomedical engineer with expertise in musculoskeletal MRI and biomechanics. Her work includes displacement-encoded MRI for noninvasive measurement of cartilage deformation and T2-based material parameters for finite element analysis of cartilage mechanics.


Start Date

September 1, 2023


Postdoc Qualifications

The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate:
• A Ph.D. in Biomedical or Mechanical Engineering or a field related to musculoskeletal biology
• Expertise in experimental or computational biomechanics or orthopedic research
• Familiarity with magnetic resonance imaging or other biomedical imaging modalities
• Ability to independently design, conduct, and document experiments
• Critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity in multidisciplinary research
• Effective project and time management, mentorship, leadership, and interpersonal skills
• Strong oral and written communication

The successful candidate will also be responsible for preparing manuscripts for publication, traveling to and presenting research results at scientific meetings, and working with the PIs to manage research activities in the lab and train students. Postdocs are also expected to apply for external support and to develop additional independent projects in orthopedic research as part of their training to become independent investigators. 



Deva Chan,, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering & School of Mechanical Engineering (by Courtesy),
Chad Carroll,, Department of Health and Kinesiology,
Nathaniel Dyment, Penn,
Paul Niziolek, IUSM,

Short Bibliography

• Chan DD, Cai L, Butz KD, Trippel SB, Nauman EA, Neu CP. In vivo articular cartilage deformation: noninvasive quantification of intratissue strain during joint contact in the human knee. Sci Rep. 2016;6:19220. Epub 20160111. doi: 10.1038/srep19220. PubMed PMID: 26752228; PMCID: PMC4707486.
• Lampen N, Su H, Chan DD, Yan P. Finite element modeling with subject-specific mechanical properties to assess knee osteoarthritis initiation and progression. J Orthop Res. 2023;41(1):72-83. Epub 20220419. doi: 10.1002/jor.25338. PubMed PMID: 35438803.
• Carroll CC, Dickinson JM, Haus JM, Lee GA, Hollon CJ, Aagaard P, Magnusson SP, Trappe TA. Influence of aging on the in vivo properties of human patellar tendon. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008;105(6):1907-15. Epub 2008/10/18. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00059.2008. PubMed PMID: 18927271; PMCID: PMC2612460.
• Kijowski R, Wilson JJ, Liu F. Bicomponent ultrashort echo time T2* analysis for assessment of patients with patellar tendinopathy. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2017;46(5):1441-7. Epub 2017/03/07. doi: 10.1002/jmri.25689. PubMed PMID: 28263448; PMCID: PMC5587350.
• Juras V, Apprich S, Szomolanyi P, Bieri O, Deligianni X, Trattnig S. Bi-exponential T2 analysis of healthy and diseased Achilles tendons: an in vivo preliminary magnetic resonance study and correlation with clinical score. Eur Radiol. 2013;23(10):2814-22. Epub 2013/06/14. doi: 10.1007/s00330-013-2897-8. PubMed PMID: 23760303; PMCID: PMC3769589.