Optimising bone shape with renewable mechanical memory

Bone is a dynamic tissue that optimises its shape to the mechanical loads that it carries. However, what serves as a reference mechanical state (setpoint) in this shape optimisation remains largely unknown – a constant reference state is usually assumed. Instead of a set mechanical state, it has been proposed that a reference point that the mechanical reference state of bone is a mechanical memory of the cellular network living within bone tissue (osteocytes). Mechanical memory can be renewed when bone is replaced during bone resorption and formation.

This new theory of bone mechanobiology has not yet been generalised to a spatiotemporal setting. It is expected to resolve long-standing issues of traditional bone adaptation theories. This project will develop a new mathematical model of bone shape adaptation to mechanics by including a dynamic mechanical memory that can be set, removed, and reset by bone remodelling processes. The project will investigate how bone shape evolves under this new model of bone mechanobiology in which the mechanical reference state is a renewable mechanical memory.

Rebecca Milne

Queensland University of Technology

Rebecca Milne is a current Queensland University of Technology student studying a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Mathematics majoring in Physics and Applied and Computational Mathematics respectively. Rebecca wants to use mathematics to better human health and wellbeing and aspires to do postgraduate research in upon completion of her undergraduate degree.

In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys volunteering at her university as well as being creative with her art.

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