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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 7, 2005

Engineer Receives $290,250 NIH Grant To Model Human Bones, Joints

Nicole Grosland, assistant professor of biomechanical engineering and researcher at the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD) in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has been awarded a two-year, $290,250 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop image-based models of human bones and joints that may one day assist surgeons.

Grosland, who holds a joint appointment in orthopaedics and rehabilitation in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, will serve as project director on the grant, awarded through the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The objective of the research is to develop techniques to automatically generate models of human bones and joints directly from medical images, such as those generated by computerized tomography (CT).

She says: "The models can be used to study the mechanical behavior of these joints bringing new information to surgeons on a patient-specific basis. The current modeling techniques would take several days to generate this information. This grant aims to completely automate this procedure, thereby holding the potential for these tools to one day be used in a clinical setting."

Her colleagues on the project are: Vincent Magnotta, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology and psychiatry in the Carver College of Medicine and CCAD researcher; Brian Adams, M.D., professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation in the Carver College of Medicine; and engineering graduate students Kiran Shivanna and Esther Gassman.

A major goal of the research project is to develop a software package to automate the development of patient-specific models. "Such models will position us to provide information to clinicians about the load transfer characteristics of normal joints and in the future to demonstrate, for example, the effects of various surgical procedures," she says.

Grosland, who joined the UI faculty in 2001, earned her bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering in 1994 and her doctorate in spinal biomechanics in 1998, both from the University of Iowa. Her special fields of knowledge include orthopaedic biomechanics and finite element modeling.

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