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The Graduate College > Biomechanics > About the Program
About Rush University
Program Description:
The biomechanics program at The Graduate College of Rush University is designed to educate bioengineers who can perform "bench to bedside and back again" research to improve orthopedic care. RU, located in Chicago, is quite close to various well known industries that design and manufacture a variety of orthopedic medical devices. It is our aim to expose the graduate students to the problems and intricacy of design first hand which will pave the way for improving the design and function of existing implants; design and study new cost-effective orthopedic medical devices; and interact with industry in further refining the design and manufacture of existing devices. Faculties from different divisions at Rush University, such as the divisions of Biomechanics, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology and Molecular Biophysics will train the graduate students. This program offers students a side-by-side teaching strategy with clinicians and biomechanical engineers;  a unique experience available in only a few universities in the world. The program includes basic and research core courses in biomechanics in addition to orthopedic related professional courses. Completion of a thesis project is required for an MS degree. In most cases, students will complete formal courses in four quarters for an MS degree.
The Graduate College of Rush University is planning to admit students for the MS in biomechanics program in the Fall of 2012.
The MS program in biomechanics will consist of core and professional track courses:
  • Biomechanics Core Courses (20 QH)
  • Research Core Courses (8 QH)
  • Professional Track Courses (15 QH)
  • Research:  Thesis Project (29 QH)
  • The minimum number of quarter hours required for the MS Degree in biomechanics is 72 QH.
Biomechanics: Curriculum
When the applicant enters the program, a research advisor is assigned, and the student begins directed research on an active project. In the first three quarters, there is minimal research as classroom studies are emphasized. During these quarters, master's Graduate College students take the Graduate Core Curriculum (GCC) classes, required pharmacology (PHR) course and required Biomechanics (BMC) courses. The summer quarter is devoted to MS Thesis research. Research and advanced Biomechanics courses provide the core of the second year studies. The master's students are involved in a directed research project.
A typical course sequence is described as follows:
Fall Quarter
Statics and Dynamics
Strength and Properties of Material
Winter Quarter
Functional Cell Biology
Functional Tissue Biology
Biomedical Ethics
Spring Quarter
Kinematics of Human Motion
Writing Practicum
Introduction to Research
Bioengineering Materials
Journal Club
Summer Quarter
MS Thesis
Fall Quarter
Principles of Biostatistics
Spine Biomechanics
MS Thesis
Winter Quarter
MS Thesis
GCC courses are Graduate College Courses taken by masters students from a variety of different Graduate College programs. These courses provide a basic understanding in the biomedical sciences and acquaint the students with the biomedical literature. PVM-prefixed courses are specific to the Division of Pharmacology. BMC-prefixed courses are specific to the Division of Biomechanics.
The Division of Biomechanics reserves the right to revise courses and the student may be required to take the replacement courses. Such a requirement would not apply to students who have already taken a course.
Minimal Credit Hours Required for MS Degree
The MS program in Biomechanics will require a minimum of 72 quarter hours of academic course work taken at the graduate level that consists of core courses in biomechanics, strength and properties of biomaterials and basic anatomy (20 quarter hours); research core courses in biostatistics, writing practicum, ethics and journal club (8 quarter hours); professional track course in cell and tissue biology, kinematics of human motion and spine biomechanics (15 quarter hours); and thesis work (29 quarter hours). The program may be completed in approximately 2 years of full time study.
 Research Requirements (Thesis):
All MS students must complete a thesis as a part of degree completion requirements. The thesis is completed through faculty-guided research. The thesis may be original or an important extension of an existing theory/principle and cannot have been used to meet the requirement of any other degree, either at Rush University or any other university. Each student will have a thesis committee whose role is to assure that the student's thesis is of high quality and meets the standards of the division, the College and the University. The thesis committee is chosen by the student in conjunction with the student's primary advisor and should consist of at least three total members to include the student’s primary advisor. The primary advisor must be a member of the Graduate College. Once the committee convenes, it will choose a chairperson who cannot be the student's primary advisor. The chairperson will oversee the scheduling and activities of the committee.
 Program Goals:
·     Train engineers/scientists in the area of application of biomechanics to clinically related musculoskeletal problems.
·     Develop individuals who can formulate appropriate questions, organize and test hypotheses, and apply research results to the practice of biomechanics in the area of orthopedics.
Orthopedics: Faculty Research Interests:
Dr. Alejandro Espinoza develops methods to analyze joint/spine motion and loading patterns in both normal populations as well as in those altered by degenerative conditions such as arthritis/disc degeneration or aging. His research focuses on analysis of structure-function relationships in bone and joints.
Dr. Kharma Foucher is interested in determining how gait biomechanics may be involved in the initiation and progression of hip osteoarthritis, and recovery from total hip arthroplasty. Her current projects include developing biomechanical biomarkers of hip osteoarthritis, establishing biomechanical predictors of clinical and functional recovery after total hip arthroplasty, and examining the relationship between hip morphology and gait in femoroacetabular impingement. Dr. Foucher is also the co-director of the Motion Analysis Lab.
Dr. Tibor Glant works on the mechanisms and genetics of a murine model of human rheumatoid arthritis. A number of genetically altered mouse strains mimicking/carrying the major genetic defect in human patients are established, genomic sequences are performed and genetic defects in disease-causing genes are being identified.
Deborah J. Hall studies retrieved implants and evaluates tissues from human retrievals and animal studies.
Dr. Nadim James Hallab is the Director of the Biomaterials Laboratory and is interested in the biocompatibility of orthopedic implants. He investigates 1) implant debris, both ions, particles and metal-protein complexes, 2) implant degradation from corrosion and wear of modular junctions, 3) immune reactivity to implant debris, 4) cell toxicity responses to implant debris, 5) potentiodynamic surface optimization for directing cell bioreactivity, and 6) novel implant fixation and surgical techniques using in vitro mechanical testing.
Dr. Nozomu Inoue works on spine biomechanics, specifically the biomechanics of spinal surgery and the effect of degenerative changes of discs and facet joints on segmental instability and motion. Currently, his major research areas are development of 3D medical image-based computer models for quantitative analyses of spinal alignment and facet kinematics.
Dr. Joshua J. Jacob's interest is in analyzing biocompatibility of permanent orthopaedic implants; corrosion and wear of metallic biomaterials; clinical performance of joint replacement devices.
Dr. Hannah Lundberg combines novel computational and experimental modalities to better represent joint (natural and implant) function in vivo and improve surgical outcomes. Current emphasis is on using computer modeling to predict total knee replacement forces and behavior during everyday life.
Dr. Katalin Mikecz examines extracellular cell migration in inflammation, including arthritis, and how these cells move to the joints, and then to regional lymph nodes. The extra-articular migration of labeled cell is followed/monitored by two-photon microscopy in live animals.
Dr. Raghu Natarajan's interest is in the development of finite element models of hip and knee joints as well as models of both lumbar and cervical spines. His current modeling activity includes development of models of lumbar spine with varying degree of degenerative disease and understanding how adjacent disc disease progresses in patients.
Dr. Tibor Rauch's  area of research includes the epigenomic alterations in periprosthetic fibroblasts (and other cells) which may affect/control and are involved in periprosthetic osteolysis and loosening of prosthetic devices.
Dr. Thomas M. Turner develops novel animal models to investigate current clinical problems in orthopedic surgery, including spine, adult reconstruction, foot and ankle, and sports medicine.
Robert M. Urban is the Director of the Biocompatibility and Implant Pathology Laboratory. His research is concerned with the host response to materials used in reconstruction of bone and soft tissues, including metal alloys, ceramics, synthetic polymers, and processed allografts and xenografts and with the performance of these implants.
Dr. Vincent Wang uses biomechanical, imaging, and extracellular matrix biologic approaches in animal models to study mechanisms of tendinopathy. Particular emphasis is placed on the roles of ADAMTS enzymes in aberrant matrix remodeling as well as the potential therapeutic benefit of mechanical loading in promoting tendon healing.
Dr. Markus Wimmer investigates the effects of load and motion in human joints. Using both, gait analysis and in vitro simulation, he studies wear and lubrication of natural and artificial joints. He is working on a better understanding of the degradation mechanisms in vivo, and trying to enhance pre-clinical wear testing methods.

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