Associate Professor Sarah Calve will begin her position with CU Boulder's Department of Mechanical Engineering in January 2020.
Mechanics of soft biological materials, musculoskeletal development and regeneration, extracellular matrix
The primary focus of Associate Professor Sarah Calve's research is to develop techniques to visualize extracellular matrix (ECM) architecture and quantify the combined effect of changes in local stiffness and cyclic loading on the material properties of soft tissues in the developing of the musculoskeletal system. Information gathered from the characterization of the mechanics and composition of assembling tissues will guide the design of more successful regenerative therapies than those based on the tissues of the homeostatic adult. She and her research group are using bio-orthogonal labeling based strategies to identify newly synthesized ECM proteins in the developing musculoskeletal system. To determine the organization of these matrix components, they are using confocal microscopy and novel decellularization and clearing protocols to visualize the 3D architecture of the ECM in the developing mouse. In addition, they established a new atomic force microscopy based method to measure how these changes in composition influence the mechanical properties of cells and ECM in the developing limb.
The long term goal of my laboratory is to fully characterize the composition, organization and mechanics of the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage) to guide the design of therapies that can restore functionality to damaged tissues.