Published: July 13, 2016
Chelsea Heveran

Focus Area: Biomaterials and Biomimetrics - Ferguson Group

Chelsea is a third-year PhD student working in the Biomaterials & Biomimetics lab for Dr. Virginia Ferguson. Chelsea came to CU Boulder with a Master's Degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Boston University. She loves applying materials science concepts to the study of bone, and finds bone, as a dynamic, self-healing, heterogeneous, and hierarchical composite, to be a fascinating material system.

Chelsea's Dissertation Research involves investigating why Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which is very common among the elderly, leads to a devastating increase in bone fragility.

To study how CKD may change bone material and overall bone quality, Chelsea assesses bone at multiple length-scales. Typical assessments range from whole-bone bending tests to microscale techniques including nanoindentation, Raman Spectroscopy, and quantitative Backscattered Scanning Electron Microscopy.

These microscale assessments are site matched, which allows the development of multiple linear regression models to explain how changes in bone chemistry and composition are related to changes in mechanical properties.

The goal of her work is to help inform diagnostics and treatments for the vulnerable patient population with CKD. Following her PhD, Chelsea hopes to continue teaching and researching.