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Finding links between knee injuries and cartilage degeneration

45 months
Approved budget:
Dr Vickie Shim
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
The aim of this project is to characterise the influence of daily activities on cellular and genetic function of cartilage cells in order to identify the genes that are related to the onset of osteoarthritis. First, we will develop a multiscale finite element (FE) model of the knee joint that can simulate the micromechanical environment of cartilage cells and predict the mechanical stimuli that cells experience during walking. This will then be applied directly to actual cartilage cells and measure cellular and genetic behaviours using a novel cell mechanical device. Finally the gene expression levels in stimulated cells will be measured to identify genes that are most sensitive to changes in joint loading. Since knee injuries are known to lead to early osteoarthritis, which is still incurable and lacking effective treatment, the identification of cellular and genetic links will be invaluable in devising a new therapy and better patient management.