Sanaz moved to the Netherlands to study “Clinical Human Movement Sciences” at the Radboud university medical center in Nijmegen, after completion of her bachelor degree in biomechanical engineering in Iran. Based on her merit she received two scholarships from the Radboud University and Radboud umc to follow her master degree. Her master project was focused on the finite element (FE) modeling of an uncemented knee implant under supervision of Prof. Nico Verdonschot and Dr. Dennis Janssen at the Orthopaedic Research Lab, which led to her PhD project to develop a validated patient-specific FE model to assess different fixation aspects of uncemented knee implants. In her PhD trajectory, she has been implementing both biomechanical tests using cadaveric material and numerical tools using FE modeling.
Planned research project
The ESB mobility award provides the opportunity to visit the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia to take the next step after developing the patient-specific FE model. It is extremely difficult to cover all sources of variation by standard patient-specific FE modeling. Most recently, Statistical Shape and Intensity Model (SSIM) techniques and surrogate modeling have been developed to account for the different sources of variation by generating thousands of models from a small dataset. During her six-months stay at Flinders University, under supervision of Prof. Mark Taylor, Sanaz will develop a SSIM of the implanted distal femur based on the current patient-specific FE model, which she has been developing from the start of her PhD. This approach will lead to a better understanding of variation of performance of press-fit femoral knee implants over a population, which aides to further improve current implant designs, thereby improving patient outcome and satisfaction.
I earned by Bachelor’s degree at the University of Guelph where I worked as a research assistant under the tutelage of Dr. Lori Vallis with a focus on developing a clinical assessment protocol to identify sarcopenia in older adults. I then joined Dr. Daniel Benoit’s Neuromuscular Rehabilitation & Research Unit at the University of Ottawa as a Master’s student. After one year, I fast-tracked into the Doctoral program at the University of Ottawa, still under the supervision of Dr. Benoit.
I am currently in the second year of my doctoral degree with the primary focus of my thesis being the quantification of individual muscle and tibiofemoral contact forces in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) deficient and ACL reconstructed patients.
Planned Research Project
With the aid of the ESB mobility award, I will travel to the University of Copenhagen in Denmark to work under the supervision of Drs. Tine Alkjaer and Erik Simonsen. The primary goal of my stay is to collect the ACL reconstructed cohort of our participant pool. These participants will undergo the same test protocol as they completed prior to their operation, which includes functional questionnaires, a quasi- static target matching task, dynamic tasks, and strength measurements. From these data, I will work with my Danish colleagues to develop a musculoskeletal model capable of estimating the individual muscle and contact forces. With these results, we will be able to identify any changes to the muscle force profiles after ACL reconstruction. Furthermore, upon my return to Canada, I will apply these force profiles to an in vitro knee simulator in an effort to understand how individual muscle forces contribute to knee joint loading and stability. This collaboration will advance the research progress of both lab groups and will allow for the meshing of in vivo, in silico, and in vitro approaches to circumvent the invasiveness of directly measuring forces in vivo.