Measures of structure and strength are essential when assessing functional outcomes in animal models related to musculoskeletal biology and medicine. In 2008, evaluation of these outcomes at Washington University (WU) was limited to a handful of investigators because we lacked a formal support structure. Evaluating these outcomes requires specialized equipment and expertise, which is impractical and inefficient to recreate in multiple labs. In response to this unmet need, we established the Musculoskeletal Structure and Strength Core. This multifaceted resource supports our 75-member Research Base in understanding and implementing techniques to evaluate structure and mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissues (e.g., bone, tendon, muscle) derived from animal models. Since 2009, we have provided billable services to 59 investigators, who have reported structure or strength data in 68 manuscripts to date. We have presented seminars and developed online resources to advance understanding and promote best practices. We have invested in new approaches to enhance our capabilities. Finally, we moved and consolidated our major resources into a single floor of the new WU Musculoskeletal Research Center. To sustain and extend these accomplishments, we propose five objectives: 1) support cost-effective utilization of existing resources for densitometry, imaging, and mechanical testing;2) maintain expert oversight and quality control;3) provide training and enrichment opportunities (in concert with the T32 Washington University Metabolic Skeletal Disorders Training Program);4) enhance Core capabilities through development of new techniques;and 5) foster new interactions and enhance existing interactions between members of the Research Base of the Core Center for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine (CCMBM). In summary, Core B will provide critical support to members of the Research Base to enable cost-effective utilization of methods to quantify morphology and mechanical properties from musculoskeletal tissues. Through our efforts we will enhance research productivity and provide access to state-of-the-art and emerging techniques.
Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and muscular dystropy are a main cause of pain and suffering leading to diminished quality and lost time from work. Our research uses animal models to understand the biological factors underlying musculoskeletal disorders. We use imaging and mechanical testing techniques to assess the structure and strength of bone, tendon and muscle.
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