Research Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania
I received my BS from Central Washington University, my MS from Oregon State University, my PhD from Penn State University, and I trained as a Post-doc at Hospital for Special Surgery.
Who has been (have been) your mentor(s)?
My primary mentors have been Drs. Steve Piazza (Penn State), Tim Wright and Jonathan Deland (HSS), and Lou Soslowsky (UPenn). Drs. Suzanne Maher and Karin Silbernagel have also been incredible mentors.
Specific Area of Interest:
My research is focused on how mechanical loading impacts tendon health and skeletal muscle function. Specifically, we are focused on Achilles tendinopathy and Achilles tendon ruptures and how mechanically loading throughout rehabilitation impacts healing and outcomes. My long-term goal is to develop personalized rehabilitation protocols to promote tendon healing and preserve muscle structure so that patients can fully recover their ankle function.
What are you currently working on?
Our research is currently focused on Achilles tendinopathy and ruptures. We’ve developed some simple but effective methods for accurately quantifying Achilles tendon loading outside of the lab. What I find most exciting about this work is that we are reducing the burden placed on patients to participate in research. Instead of requiring lots of visits to a research lab, we can now make most of our measurements wherever the patients are using wearable sensors and low-cost video cameras.
What has been the biggest challenge/issue for you lately in your research?
COVID. But it has also been the biggest inspiration to change how we study musculoskeletal disorders and deliver patient care. By developing new measurement paradigms that leverage wearable sensors, we are beginning to bring the lab to the patient. We expect this shift will provide better and fairer access to participants in clinical research.
What project(s) are you looking forward to in the near future?
I’m most excited about collaborating with experts in diverse fields like machine learning and neuroengineering. We are in a really exciting time where collecting data in patients is becoming easier and cheaper. So now our focus needs to shift towards how to leverage large data sets to understand how rehabilitation loading drives healing and patient outcomes.
When not in the lab, what do you like to do for fun?
I like to make my kids breakfast, bake bread, make cocktails, and woodwork.