I am a Graduate student in the University of Utah's Biomedical Engineering program, currently in my first year of the Master's portion of the BS/MS degree. I have been in the Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory since my junior year as an undergrad, where I have completed my senior thesis, published my research in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, and am currently working on my Master’s thesis.
In the MRL I currently work on the creation of Finite Element (FE) models of the cervical spine, specifically the Craniocervial juntion (CCJ). The focus of my work has been on making comparisons between healthy, age-matched normal CCJ’s and those of patients with diseases that may cause malformations in this area of the neck, such as those with Down syndrome or Chiari Malformation.
The overall interest for the research I have done is to advance the field of Finite Element Modeling in Biomechanics in a way that will help make this technology even more clinically relevant. Working with surgeons from the University of Utah’s Department of Neurosurgery, we determine whether the models I have created are physiologically accurate and if the differences we see between the normal and diseases spines may have some clinical significance. This kind of technology really fascinates me, and I hope that one day it can be used predict patient specific problems the might see in their anatomy so that physicians may be able to take preventative measures for these issues rather than having to fix them after injury has occurred.