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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 4, 2006

Engineer Receives $1.98 Million NIH Grant To Develop Biomechanics Toolkit

A researcher in the University of Iowa College of Engineering has been awarded a four-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a software toolkit to help physicians better understand the behavior of human bones and joints.

Nicole Grosland, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and researcher at the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD), says that the objective of the study is to develop a musculoskeletal-related software toolkit. Grosland, who holds a joint appointment in orthopaedics and rehabilitation in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, adds that automated, patient-specific 3-D models will have important applications in biomechanics.

"Among these applications are a better understanding of the stress distributions in response to functional external loads and an investigation of both the prevention of joint injury and the pathological degeneration of articular joints. Such models may one day be used to estimate the consequences of surgical treatments for the purpose of pre-operative surgical planning," she says.

In 2005, Grosland and her colleagues received a $290,000 NIBIB grant for related research in developing techniques to automatically generate models of human bones and joints directly from medical images, such as those generated by computerized tomography (CT). The automated models would provide immediate information on joints, compared to current modeling techniques that take several days.

"Ultimately," she says, "a software package to automate the development of patient-specific models will help us 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."

The software toolkit will, in turn, be integrated into the toolkit of the National Alliance of Medical Imaging Computing (NA-MIC).  NA-MIC, directed by Ron Kinkinis of Bringham and Women's Hospital, is an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists, software engineers, and medical investigators from institutions across the country that develop computational tools for the analysis and visualization of medical image data. The NA-MIC software package is available to the greater medical research community.

Grosland's 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; Kiran Shivanna, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar of CCAD; and Nicole Kallemeyn and Nicole DeVries, research assistants in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Collaborators from the NA-MIC consortium include Steve Pieper, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's/Isomics, and Simon Warfield, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's/Harvard.

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.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,