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Glen L Niebur

Glen Niebur

Contact Info

Email: gniebur@nd.edu
Phone: 574-631-3327
Office: 147 Multidisciplinary Engineering Research
Website: http://bones.ame.nd.edu

Summary of Activities/Interests

Bone Biomechanics

We are studying the biomechanics of bone as it relates to aging and osteoporosis. Our focus over the past five years has been the effects of damage accumulation on bone. Using microscopy and micro-Computed Tomography, we have measured microstructural damage in bone, including small cracks and cross-hatching patterns, that occur during overloading or fatigue loading of bone. In collaboration with Colorado State University, we have investigated the effects of simulated osteoporosis on damage mechanics in old female sheep.

Bone marrow biomechanics

We are studying the interaction of bone and bone marrow to better understand the mechanical influences on the many cells that are resident in the bone marrow. Bone marrow composition changes with aging, with the primary alteration being an increase in the proportion of fat cells. The increase in the number of fat cells may decrease the number of available adult stem cells that can form new bone cells. As such, there could be a causal link between aging of the bone marrow and the surrounding bone.

Education

Ph.D. - University of California at Berkeley, 2000

M.S.M.E. - University of Minnesota, 1995

B.M.E. - University of Minnesota, 1986

Biography

Glen Niebur is associate professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, and the Ph.D. from the University of California. Research is focused on orthopaedics, including bone quality, damage mechanics of trabecular bone, lumbar spinal fusion, hard and soft tissue constitutive modeling, computational mechanics, of tissues, and genetic factors affecting bone quality.

Current projects are investigating the interactions between microdamage formation in bone and the changes in bone porosity and structure that accompany osteoporosis. Osteoporosis results in changes at multiple levels of the hierarchical structure of bone, and these can either compensate for or enhance fracture risk. Medical imaging methods, especially computed tomography (CT) are used to image and quantify bone structures in bone samples and in live animals. A current project is using medical imaging to longitudinally monitor and understand fracture healing. Most recently, work has begun in the area of bone marrow mechanics, affects of aging and disease on bone marrow morphology, and interactions between bone and bone marrow.

For more details see: http://tml.ame.nd.edu

Publications