The Bone Biomechanics Lab — originally called the Berkeley Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory — was established by Professor Tony Keaveny in 1993. Together with Professor Grace O’Connell, Professor Keaveny now co-directs the Berkeley BioMechanics Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Bone Lab, Professor Keaveny’s group within the Berkeley BioMechanics Lab, focuses on the mechanical behavior of bone at multiple physical scales from molecule to whole bone, osteoporosis and bone disease, and design/analysis of bone-implant systems. A key theme is clinical relevance and ultimately clinical translation — we want the work we do to matter and to have a realistic pathway to influence healthcare in some manner. Our laboratory uses experimental and computational methods. The latter include geometrically and materially non-linear finite element analyses of whole bones generated directly from micro-CT scans, resulting in models having hundreds of millions of degrees of freedom and requiring massively parallel computation to solve. These computational capabilities are at the forefront of numerical structural analysis.
Our main pedagogical philosophy in the lab is student independence. Unlike in the past, we no longer have any large federally (or other) funded projects, and instead we encourage students to develop their own projects at their own pace, and in that way take full intellectual ownership of and responsibility for their original work. This includes struggling to discover important research questions, and then figuring out the logistics of designing a research plan, within our limited resources, to pursue those questions. In doing so, students are encouraged to focus on projects of clinical relevance that have the potential to positively affect people’s lives via improved human health. One challenge in doing that is to “connect the dots” between any proposed research question and its eventual clinical manifestation. As part of all that, we place a great emphasis on developing the ability to write and think clearly and spend a lot of time ensuring that is reflected in our publications. Most of our students are funded either by student fellowships (e.g. NSF or NASA) or by serving as teaching assistants.
Outside of the laboratory, we also engage in various outreach activities within the community, including Girls in Engineering, Expanding Your Horizons, Bay Area Scientists in Schools, the Prison University Project, and the Society of Women Engineers.
Normally, we are located at 2162 Etcheverry Hall located on the North side of the UC Berkeley campus. As of March 2020, we are working remotely until further notice.