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The Bone Mender

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In the US alone, there are close to eight million bone fractures annually, equaling an estimated $70 billion in medical bills. Of these fractures, 5-10 percent do not heal properly.

The stresses we put on our bones as we sit, walk and jump are sensed by our tissues and have an effect on how they behave and ultimately heal. Understanding this process is critical in understanding why some bone injuries heal, and some don’t.

Fortunately, Associate Professor Elise Morgan is working to learn more about distraction osteogenesis, a process in which a bone is surgically broken and slowly drawn apart by just millimeters a day until new bone grows to fill in the gap, ultimately making it stronger.

Finding out exactly how the regeneration process works can help Morgan and other researchers create noninvasive ways to examine fractures, less invasive ways to treat them, and help orthopedic surgeons select patient-specific treatment plans, all so bones can heal faster and with fewer complications.

Materials Science & Engineering

Degrees Offered

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate & Post-Graduate
    • Master of Engineering
    • Master of Science
    • Doctor of Philosophy
    • More Info

A Growing Need

Engineers with backgrounds in materials science understand the properties of various materials—from metals and semiconductors to biopolymers—and how to manipulate those materials to make useful products. Applications for new materials, and modifications of existing ones, are expected to keep the global demand for trained materials scientists growing in the twenty-first century. Engineers trained in the discipline readily find work in a number of fields, including:

  • Energy
  • Health care
  • Information technologies
  • Homeland security

An Interdisciplinary Focus

Our materials faculty members are internationally recognized, attract significant research funding and are developing revolutionary materials, processes and devices that impact everyday life. Materials science & engineering is a truly interdisciplinary field at BU—strong affiliations and collaborations exist between faculty from the College of Engineering, the College of Arts & Sciences and the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. We boast impressive research activities in biomaterials, electronic and photonic materials, materials for energy and the environment, and nanomaterials.

Where Do Our Alumni Work?

  • Large corporations (IBM, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Xerox, Corning, etc.)
  • Start-up companies
  • Universities
  • Consulting firms

Degree Options

Graduate students may pursue the industry-focused Master of Engineering degree, or research-based Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy programs. Materials Science & Engineering is also available to undergraduates as a minor.

Visit the Division of Materials Science & Engineering website for more information.