A bittersweet farewell to Kaushik who leaves the group to take up a faculty position at IIT Delhi. We will miss you Kaushik but look forward to continuing to collaborate and to all the great achievements that will your future will bring!
Cristian is leaving Imperial College to take up an exciting new position in industry with global healthcare company BTG. We are very sorry to lose him but wish him all the best with the next step of his career- good luck Cristian!!!
Saima and Niamh both gave presentations at the 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society in Austin Texas in early February. Saima presented her NIRA-shortlisted work on “Muscle loading determines distribution of collagens in the developing skeleton” while Niamh gave an invited talk to the ORS Tendon Section on “The biomechanics and mechanobiology of skeletogenesis”
A warm welcome to Nidal Khatib who joined the Developmental Biomechanics group in January. Nidal will be using our mechanostimulation bioreactor system to explore mechanotransductory pathways and mechanisms acting during prenatal skeletal development. His project is a collaboration with Prof David Hoey from Trinity College Dublin, and is funded by Niamh’s ERC Starting Grant.
Aurélie‘s paper (on which Yuming and Rebecca are also authors) entitled “Short-term foetal immobility temporally and progressively affects chick spinal curvature and anatomy and rib development” has been published in eCM (European Cells and Materials). The paper describes how a very short period of paralysis during prenatal development can have severe and lasting effects on development of the spine and ribs, as summarised in the graphical abstract. This work has consequences for understanding congenital scoliosis, for which a change or reduction in fetal movements could be an important factor. The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and was a collaboration with Prof James Iatridis in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. View the paper for free here.
The group celebrated an “eco-friendly” Secret Santa this year, with homemade or edible gifts being the rule. Some very tasty treats were shared, but the best gift was definitely the “mini Kaushik” that Yuming made, complete with computer and signature water bottle. Kudos Yuming! The secret santa fun was followed by a very nice Indian meal in South Kensington. Happy Christmas from all the Nowlan group!
The entire group (including alumnus Stefaan) traveled to Dublin for the 2018 World Congress of Biomechanics in July. Between us, we presented seven talks and one poster, as listed below. Aurélie and Kaushik also presented abstracts based on their PhD projects. Niamh was Co-Chair for the ‘Emerging Areas’ Track and a Session Chair for the “Biomechanics of Musculoskeletal Development” session. A particular highlight of the meeting was Stefaan giving a plenary lecture to mark the Perren Award.
Aurélie: Critical timings of fetal mobility for spine and rib development
Cristian: Frequency and duration of mechanical stimulation influence mineralisation of developing chick limbs cultured in vitro
Devi: Timing of movement is essential for cavitation and morphogenesis of the developing chick hip joint
Kaushik: Musculoskeletal forces and prenatal skeletogenesis: a murine model
Niamh: Directing cartilage growth in vitro: learning from developmental biology
Saima: Characterisation of collagen distribution in the prenatal forelimb using immunofluorescence and high-resolution microscopy
Stefaan: Biomechanical stimulation of the fetal skeleton linked to risk factors for developmental dysplasia of the hip
Vivien: Shoulder joint shape is rescued as development progresses when limb musculature is absent in the murine embryo
(Image credits: Cristian Parisi, Devi Bridglal, @WCB2018, Saima Ahmed, Aurélie Levillain)
Kaushik has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, to start in September 2018. Kaushik’s fellowship is entitled “Mechanobiology of Proprioceptive Regulation of Bone and Joint Morphogenesis” and will involve collaboration between the Developmental Biomechanics group at Imperial College London, and the Zelzer Lab at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Congratulations Kaushik!
Stefaan’s final and Perren Award winning paper from his postdoc in the Developmental Biomechanics has been published online in the Journal of Biomechanics. In the paper, the effects of different risk factors for hip dysplasia (such as fetal breech position, first born babies and oligohydramnios (reduced amniotic fluid)) on fetal kicks and the stresses and strains in their hip joints are quantified. Kick force, stress and strain were found to be significantly lower in cases of breech position and oligohydramnios. Similarly, firstborn fetuses were found to generate significantly lower kick forces than non-firstborns.