University of Vermont
Dr. Michalek's research focuses on biomechanics of low back pain, with a particular focus on injury and repair of the intervertebral disc. This soft connective tissue structure is responsible for the dual roles of maintaining stability and connectivity of the spinal column while also allowing it to bend. The disc is composed of a complex, hierarchical fiber reinforced composite, which is extremely strong but slow to heal from injuries.
Current areas of investigation include growth and development of fibrous tissue structures, the mechanical consequences of tissue damage at a broad range of size scales, and evaluation of clinical therapeutic procedures with an eye towards minimizing invasiveness. This is accomplished through integration of mechanical testing, advanced digital imaging and analysis, and analytical modeling.
Crosslinked Fibrin Hydrogels for Intervertebral Disc Annulus Repair. (US Patent #8,968,725)
White-Tailed Deer as an Ex-Vivo Knee Model: Joint Morphometry and ACL Rupture Strength, Zaino NL, Hedgeland MJ, Ciani MJ, Clark AM, Kuxhaus L, Michalek AJ. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, In Press.
Role of Biomechanics on Intervertebral Disc Degeneration and Regenerative Therapies: What Needs Repairing in the IVD and What are Promising Biomaterials for its Repair?, Iatridis JC, Nicoll SB, Michalek AJ, Walter BA, Gupta MS.The Spine Journal, 2013, 13(3), pp243-262.
Large Residual Strains are Present in the Intervertebral Disc Annulus Fibrosus in the Unloaded State, Michalek AJ, Gardner-Morse MG, Iatridis JC. Journal of Biomechanics, 2012, 45(7), pp 1227-1231.
The Effects of Needle Puncture Injury on Microscale Shear Strain in the Intervertebral Disc Annulus Fibrosus, Michalek AJ, Buckley MR, Cohen I, Bonassar LJ, Iatridis JC. The Spine Journal, 2010, 10(12), pp 1098-1105.