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The effect of paraspinal muscle quality on post-operative dynamic sagittal balance outcomes for adult spinal deformity patients

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) is an increasingly prevalent and costly problem. Surgical correction of ASD seeks to restore sagittal balance, the ability to maintain a mechanically effective center of pressure via postural control of the spine and lower extremities while upright. We hypothesize that multifidus muscle quality is predictive of post-operative biomechanical outcomes and risk for PJK in ASD patients. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeannie Bailey

Co-Investigator: Dr. Brian Feeley

Co-Investigator: Dr. Alekos Theologis

Trainee: Karim Khattab


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Reachable Workspace

The aims of this project are to quickly and accurately assess upper limb function, compare between subjects and interventions, standardized protocol, normalized measure, identify early signs of complication, collect a quantitative measure of shoulder function, and quantify repeatability of measure quantify changes in function over time and between groups. This will be collected as part of standard clinical workflow.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Lotz

Co-Investigator: Dr. Robert Matthew 
Co-Investigator: Dr. Gregorij Kurillo
Co-Investigator: Dr. Brian Feeley

Co-Investigator: Saul Elorza

Co-Investigator: Sandi Aung
Trainee: Francine Castillo


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Improving hand force estimates for turning exertions using a single-axis gauge

To mitigate biomechanical risk associated with pushing/pulling, ergonomists usually record push/pull forces and compare them to previously published guidelines using a single-axis force gauge. Our recent CDMI effort provided recommendations for straight-line pushing/pulling but was unable to provide recommendations for measuring turning forces.  Accurately measuring turning forces is vital because turning poses a higher risk for injury to the spine than straight-line pushing/pulling. 

The objective of this study is to build upon previous push/pull force measurement guidelines, by providing recommendations for force measurement during turning.

Principal Investigator: Dr. William Marras
Co-Investigator: Eric Weston

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Identify ergonomic intervention opportunities for Home Healthcare Workers (HHW) to reduce their risk when assisting patients with bathing, toileting, dressing, and movement

Individuals need in-home assistance with bathing, toileting, dressing, or other activities of daily living (ADLs) for many reasons.  These include increasing frailty as one ages, loss of abilities due to chronic/debilitating disease, or when recovering from hospitalization.


Assistance may be provided by professional or family caregivers, but all are at risk for injury when assisting with these activities. For example, caregivers may need to support some or all of the patient’s weight, ‘catch’ the patient if s/he starts to lose balance or fall, or work bent over to reach or see an area on the patient’s body.  


Thus, the goal of this project is to identify ergonomics intervention opportunities to reduce overexertion injury risk factor exposures in home healthcare workers.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Carolyn Sommerich

Principal Investigator: Dr. Steven Lavender 

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An evaluation of the effectiveness of IMUs at classifying shoulder injury risk in real occupational settings

Accurately assessing the motion of employees in a work setting is important to ergonomists who seek to identify job tasks that may pose a risk of injury or are in need of redesign.​  More recently, inertial measurement units (IMUs), also known as wearable sensors, have shown promise in quantifying these activities.  Although many studies have tested IMU accuracy in laboratory settings, fewer have
begun to leverage data collected from these sensors to classify injury risk in the workplace.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of IMU sensors at classifying shoulder injury risk in a real work context over an extended time duration. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. William Marras 


Co-Investigator: Jonathan S. Dufour 

Co-Investigator: Alexander M. Aurand 

Co-Investigator: Gregory G. Knapik

Co-Investigator: Gary Allread

Co-Investigator: Eric B. Weston

Biomechanics of cervical spine with artificial disc during pilot ejection

The objective of this project is to provide a biomechanical analysis of intact cervical, fused cervical and with total disc replacement (TDR) under simulated aircraft ejection.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel

Trainee: Muzammil Mumtaz

Trainee: Niloufar Shekouhi

Trainee: Amey Kelkar

Trainee: David Dick

Trainee: Manoj Kodigudla



Does PSO level affect stresses at the UIV, UIV + 1, and PJK?

Restoration of lumbopelvic harmony, pelvic tilt, and global sagittal balance are fundamental goals of sagittal spinal deformity correction. One powerful technique to achieve these goals is the pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO).

Principal Investigator: Dr. Joseph M. Zavatsky

Co-Investigator: Dr. Alekos Theologis

Co-Investigator: Dr. Robert McGuire

Co-Investigator: Dr. Hassan Serhan

Co-Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel

Trainee: Niloufar Shekouhi

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Satellite Rod Configuration (in-line v. lateral) and Screw Type (monoaxial v. polyaxial) Spanning a Lumbar Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy (PSO): A Biomechanical Evaluation

We propose to assess biomechanically the 3 following multi-rod techniques with varying screw types above and below a PSO: (1) in-line/recessed “satellite" rod connected to 2 poly-axial screws; (2) laterally-based “satellite” rods connected to 2 poly-axial screws via lateral connectors; (3) laterallybased “satellite” rods connected to 2 mono-axial screws via offset attachments. Our central hypothesis is that configuration #3 provides the most robust and rigid biomechancial environment.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alekos Theologis

Co-Investigator: Dr. Joseph Savatsky
Co-Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel
Trainee: Niloufar Shekouhi


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Bench Top Protocol to Evaluate Growth Rods in a Plastic Vertebra Model

Need and Industrial Relevance: Healthcare costs of spinal disorders, such as lower back pain and deformity correction in all age groups, are second only to cardiac expenses. Researchers and clinicians from multidisciplinary fields are working relentlessly to improve the clinical outcomes and thus reduce healthcare costs.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel

Co-Investigator: David Dick

Co-Investigator: Manoj Kodigula

Co-Investigator: Amey Kelkar

Trainee: Niloufar Shekouhi


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Biomechanics of pediatric scoliosis correction using various tethering devices

The objective of our study is to critically explore the use of a flexible tether in the scoliosis correction system.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vijay K. Goel

Co-Investigator: Manoj Kodigudla

Co-Investigator: Amey Kelkar

Trainee: Daksh Jayaswal


Effect of spinopelvic instrumentation on acetabulum orientation from standing to sitting positions

The objective of this project is to determine the exact relationship between spinal fusion levels and acetabular orientation.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel

Co-Investigator: Dr. Anthony S.Unger

Trainee: Muzammil Mumtaz

Investigating the effectiveness of DisCure treatment using a human disc organ culture under physiologically relevant mechanical loading condition

The objective of our study is to understand the degree of changes in pain markers, pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and disc height for degenerated ex-vivo porcine discs upon DisCure treatment.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Eda Yildirim-Ayan

Co-Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel

Trainee: Mohamad Kanan

Trainee: Amey Kelkar


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Comparative Biomechanical Analyses of Cervical Total Disc Replacements Design Concepts Using the Finite Element Approach

Our goal is to investigate the biomechanical behavior of several first generation and second-generation cervical TDR device designs using finite element methods. We will achieve our goals by evaluating these TDR device designs using our validated representative gender specific cervical spine finite element models.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Vijay Goel

Trainee: TBA



Developing bioactive-nanograined metals with bacterial biofilm inhibition properties for orthopedic devices

This project will develop technologies based on collaborative research with Rosies Base, Inc. (parent company: Komatsuseiki Kosakusho). The target field of the technologies include the medical device field (i.e., surgical and endoscopic tools, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty needles, orthopedic implants, etc.) 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Thomas Webster

Trainee: Shaunak Kelkar