EventKirk McGilvray

Stress (σ), It Does the Body Good: The importance of the mechanical environment during healing

I believe that in vivo and in vitro experimental mechanics and computational analyses are essential pathways for addressing necessary science and clinically driven bioengineering problems. Using comparative animal, cadaveric, computational, and clinical models it has been possible for me to address pertinent biomedical engineering problems in an ethical and effective manner. Using advanced biomechanical investigative tools, I have endeavored to address the underlying causes, and thereafter the remedies, to many of the health issues currently affecting the worldwide population.
Much of my research has been focused on the implementation of an implantable biocompatible micro-electric-mechanical system (bioMEMS) sensor that allows for the telemetric in vivo prediction of whether bone fractures in a large animal model will go on to a full union before it can be detected radiographically. This work has been supported by a competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health (PI: McGilvray, 1R01AR069734-01, 07/2016 to 06/2021, $2.5M direct costs). Specifically, using a flexible bioMEMS technology platform, we proposed to utilize a multi-sensor configuration on a single implant to measure the temporal and spatial implant strain profiles during bony healing, providing a measure of the unique in vivo variations with respect to the transient mechanical environment (i.e., implant strain profile) that are associated with specific implant designs and fracture type/severity combinations. The objective of the proposed work is to utilize multiple flexible sensor–implant constructs to predict the ultimate outcome of the healing process during the acute time period when applied to clinically challenging tibial and femoral fractures.
Additionally, we have recently designed a novel technique for printing the bioMEMs circuitry directly on bone (boneMEMs) and have leveraged our existing technology to produce a new class of sensors which we postulate can be used to directly monitor bone graft loading and incorporation in vivo. This work has been supported by a competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health (PI: McGilvray, 1R21AR072371-01, 07/2017 to 06/2019, $275k direct costs). It is our overreaching goal to develop an enabling technology that will allow clinicians to determine if bone allografts will be able to properly heal following implantation. This is of great clinical value since massive bone allografts are used for reconstruction after large segmental bone loss due to trauma or tumor resections but monitoring the degree of their incorporation with host bone using currently available diagnostic techniques is intractable.
The overarching goal of my career is to use basic science information to effect a positive change in patient care.

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About The Speaker

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Since attaining Principal Investigator status at CSU in 2015, Dr. McGilvray has been competitively awarded $5,314,688 in extramural funding from large federal agencies (most notably, from the NIH) and industry collaborators. He is a recognized leader in the fields of orthopaedic fracture management and comparative orthopaedic model development. Researchers from across campus, the country and the globe regularly seek Dr. McGilvray out for collaboration. Many of the efforts that Dr. McGilvray has pioneered as a researcher have utilized comparative animal models as a method to examine and improve both human and animal clinical treatments. One of Dr. McGilvray’s primary research areas is to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the bone fracture healing cascade in order to affect a significant clinical impact and potentially improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. There is a very high clinical demand for diagnosing early and aberrant fracture healing. The inability to detect these events is a major limiting step for implementing new and relatively non-invasive revision strategies. Therefore, there is a critical need to develop technologies that provide the clinical community insight as to whether difficult fractures will progress towards a successful outcome in the immediate post-operative period. Accordingly, Dr. McGilvray’s research has been focused on developing an innovative technology that seeks to overcome this challenge by reporting the transient load transfer profile between bone and implanted hardware. In collaboration with our colleagues at Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey) and Nanyang Technical University (Singapore), they have developed and implemented an implantable sensor that allows researchers to predict if bone fractures in a large animal model will go on to a full union before one can determine this radiographically.

Additionally, Dr. McGilvray has collaborated with over 20 faculty and staff from the Colorado State University on a wide-variety of projects. These studies include examining the biomechanical stability of equine maxillofacial reconstructions, different casting techniques on dogs, determining the localized biomechanical effects of sacro-iliac junction fusion, examining the biomechanical strength of different suture patterns used for wound closure in small animals, determining the architectural bone changes due to iron deficiencies as well as following knee surgery in small animals, and developing a cautery tool that can be used to measure ligation and surrounding soft tissue temperatures during ovariectomies. These are only a small sample of the projects that Dr. McGilvray has is involved with over the last year that demonstrates his strong commitment to state-of-the art interdisciplinary research.