376-0121-00L  Multiscale Bone Biomechanics

SemesterAutumn Semester 2022
LecturersR. Müller, X.‑H. Qin
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 30

AbstractThe seminar provides state-of-the-art insight to the biomechanical function of bone from molecules, to cells, tissue and up to the organ. Multiscale imaging and simulation allows linking different levels of hierarchy, where systems biology helps understanding the mechanobiological response of bone to loading and injury in scenarios relevant for personalized health and translational medicine.
ObjectiveThe learning objectives include
1. advanced knowledge of the state-of-the-are in multiscale bone biomechanics;
2. basic understanding of the biological principles governing bone in health, disease and treatment from molecules, to cells, tissue and up to the organ;
3. good understanding of the prevalent biomechanical testing and imaging techniques on the various levels of bone hierarchy;
4. practical implementation of state-of-the-art multiscale simulation techniques;
5. improved programing skills through the use of python;
6. hands on experience in designing solutions for clinical and industrial problems;
7. encouragement of critical thinking and creating an environment for independent and self-directed studying.
ContentBone is one of the most investigated biological materials due to its primary function of providing skeletal stability. Bone is susceptible to different local stimuli including mechanical forces and has great capabilities in adapting its mechanical properties to the changes in its environment. Nevertheless, aging or hormonal changes can make bone lose its ability to remodel appropriately, with loss of strength and increased fracture risk as a result, leading to devastating diseases such as osteoporosis.
To better understand the biomechanical function of bone, one has to understand the hierarchical organization of this fascinating material down from the molecules, to the cells, tissue and up to the organ. Multiscale imaging and simulation allow to link these different levels of hierarchy. Incorporating systems biology approaches, not only biomechanical strength of the material can be assessed but also the mechanobiological response of the bone triggered by loading and injury in scenarios relevant for personalized health. Watching cells working together to build and repair bone in a coordinated fashion is a spectacle, which will need dynamic image content and deep discussions in the lecture room to probe the imagination of the individual student interested in the topic. Lastly, state-of-the-art developments in tissue engineering and regeneration, 3D bioprinting and bio-manufacturing and organoid technology will be highlighted towards personalized health.

For the seminar, concepts of video lectures will be used in a flipped classroom setup, where students can study the basic biology, engineering, and mathematical concepts in video tutorials online (TORQUES). All videos and animations will be incorporated in Moodle and PolyBook allowing studying and interactive course participation online. It is anticipated that the students need to prepare 2x45 minutes for the study of the actual lecture material. The course is structured as a seminar in three parts of 45 minutes with video lectures and a flipped classroom setup. In the first part (TORQUEs: Tiny, Open-with-Restrictions courses focused on QUality and Effectiveness), students study the basic concepts in short, interactive video lectures on the online learning platform Moodle. Students are able to post questions at the end of each video lecture or the Moodle forum that will be addressed in the second part of the lectures using a flipped classroom concept. For the flipped classroom, the lecturers may prepare additional teaching material to answer the posted questions (Q&A). Following the Q&A, the students will have to form small groups to try to solve such problems and to present their solutions for advanced multiscale investigation of bone ranging from basic science to clinical application. Towards the end of the semester, students will have to present self-selected publications associated with the different topics of the lecture identified through PubMed or the Web of Science.
Lecture notesMaterial will be provided on Moodle and eColab.
Prerequisites / NoticePrior experience with the programming language python is beneficial but not mandatory. ETH offers courses for practical programming with python.