11th Annual Suzanne Bernier Memorial Lecture

We are pleased to invite all members of the University community to the 11th Annual Suzanne M. Bernier Memorial Lecture in Skeletal Biology, delivered this year by:

Morgan-140.jpgElise F. Morgan, ME, MSE, PhD   (POSTER) (ABSTRACT)
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science, Orthopaedic Surgery
Associate Chair for Graduate Research Programs
Mechanical Engineering Director, Micro-Computed Tomography Imaging Core Facility, Boston University

'The Search for Better Predictors of Fracture Risk in the Spine’   


“The Search for Better Predictors of Fracture Risk in the Spine”. Fractures of the bony vertebrae in the spine are the most common complication of osteoporosis. Estimates place the number of vertebral fractures occurring worldwide at between 1.4 and 4.2 million annually. Vertebral fractures are associated with pain, loss of mobility, poor mental health, increased risk for additional fractures, and increased risk of death.

Despite the common occurrence and serious consequences of vertebral fractures, the methods currently available in the clinic to evaluate an individual’s risk of fracture are widely recognized as inadequate. These methods rely on average measures of bone density in the spine and thus ignore the structural complexity of each vertebra.

This talk will present evidence that the search for better methods of predicting fracture risk requires first a better understanding of how this complex structure—the vertebra—fails and what factors control the failure process. Through a combination of laboratory experiments, computer modeling, and population studies, we are able to elucidate the failure process, evaluate methods for accurately simulating this process, and develop new predictors of the likelihood of fracture. These tools, and the knowledge gained from them, help to chart a clear path towards obtaining accurate, patient-specific predictions of fracture risk in the spine.

3:00-4:30 pm - Labatt Health Sciences Building - HSB 40 [Reception to follow - FIMS Atrium]

Dr. Morgan’s research is focused on the interplay between the mechanical behavior, structure, and biological function of tissues. Methods from engineering mechanics, materials science, and cell and molecular biology are used to investigate how mechanical “signals” (forces and displacements) contribute to the development, adaptation, degeneration, and regeneration of bone and cartilage.

The lecture series and graduate student award was established to highlight outstanding contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research in honour of Dr. Suzanne Bernier, a wonderful colleague, collaborator and mentor, who passed away in 2007. Expanding on Suzanne’s legacy in training, this year the lecture is being held in conjunction with the Canadian Bone and Joint Young Investigator Forum that will bring trainees from across Canada together to focus on transdisciplinary musculoskeletal research