Morgan Named 2012 Distinguished Faculty Fellow

in BME News
September 18th, 2012

By Mark Dwortzan

Associate Professor Elise Morgan (BME, ME)

Associate Professor Elise Morgan (BME, ME)

Since joining the College of Engineering faculty in 2003, Associate Professor Elise Morgan (BME, ME) has worked to advance our understanding of the role of the mechanical function of tissues and organs in skeletal health, repair and development, with the ultimate goal of pinpointing causes and treatments for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, poor bone healing, and other diseases and conditions. Based on her research achievements in biomechanics, Morgan was named the College’s 2012 Distinguished Faculty Fellow, an award recognizing mid-career faculty members for significant contributions to their field.

Morgan, who holds a joint appointment in the BME Department, will receive $20,000 per year for the next five years to support her research.

“I am excited and honored to be receiving this award, particularly considering the outstanding caliber of the current and former Fellows,” she said. “The funds provided by this award will allow my research group to make important headway in new areas of biomechanics and regenerative medicine.”

As director of the Orthopaedic and Developmental Biomechanics Laboratory, Morgan studies the interplay among the mechanical behavior, structure and biological function of tissues. Drawing on methods from engineering mechanics, materials science, and cell and molecular biology, and combining experimentation and computational modeling, Morgan’s lab investigates how mechanical factors contribute to the development, adaptation, failure and regeneration of bone and cartilage. Current projects include the use of mechanical stimulation to promote bone regeneration, the biomechanics of spine fractures and bone healing, and non-invasive diagnostics of bone healing.

A new CT scanning technique developed by Morgan allows researchers to see where and how much cartilage (shown in blue) has formed relative to the bone shaft (red). The new technique also identifies other soft tissue (yellow) that surrounds the bone fracture.

A new CT scanning technique developed by Morgan allows researchers to see where and how much cartilage (shown in blue) has formed relative to the bone shaft (red). The new technique also identifies other soft tissue (yellow) that surrounds the bone fracture.

Since earning her PhD in mechanical engineering in 2002 at the University of California, Berkeley, Morgan has received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Senior Fellows from the National Institutes of Health, a Young Investigator Research Award from the International Osteoporosis Foundation and Servier Research Group, and an Early Career Research Excellence Award from the College of Engineering.

A member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Orthopaedic Research Society, American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, and American Society of Engineering Education, she has published more than four dozen peer-reviewed articles in major biomedical journals and has delivered more than 30 seminars and invited talks—many at international scientific meetings. She is also the co-founder of a successful outreach program, Summer Pathways, which engages high school girls in a weeklong sequence of activities in science, engineering and math.

In receiving this year’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow award, Morgan joins past recipients Associate Professor Kamil Ekinci (ME), Professor Mark Grinstaff (BME, MSE), Associate Professor Joyce Wong (BME, MSE) and Professor Xin Zhang (ME, MSE).