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Trauma Mechanics

Biology and Mechanics of Neurons


 The main goal of the Biology and Mechanics of Neurons research group is to develop an in-vitro platform for the simulation of a broad range of conditions that affect brain tissue when subjected to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The first stage of the project is to evaluate the cells' response to different levels of injury defined by strain and strain rate and to test the temporal evolution of the damage on a cellular level.


Raman Spectroscopy

Raman Spectroscopy allows us to analyze the neuron, the main structural and functional component of the brain, to help us understand its biochemical, electrical, and mechanical behaviors under different mechanical loadings. If we define the neuron injury level by these behaviors, we can determine its relationship to the loading level. With this information, we can identify upper and lower damage thresholds as a function of strain and strain rate - important parameters for the designing of helmet effective at preventing bTBI.

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Raman Machine

RENISHAW Raman Microscopy

Research Goal
Understand the dynamic changes of neuron cell during mechanically induced injury by:
  • Explore the upper and lower threshold for neuron injury.
  • Quantify the thresholds using state of the art testing methods.

Cell Stretching

The first step in analyzing the neurons' damage thresholds is to perform a controlled deformation on the cells. Within this line of research, deformation has been achieved in two ways, the most recent of which is through use of the CAI (Cultured Axonal Injury) System. It introduces compressed air into an airtight chamber to deform the transparent membrane, thus stretching the cell. The Flexcell system has also been used and more can be read about it here.

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