Dawn Elliott Department Chair

Dawn Elliott, Professor and Department Chair

Dawn M. Elliott Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering

161 Colburn Lab
150 Academy Street
Newark, DE 19716
P: 302-831-1295
E: delliott@udel.edu

Lab Website

EDUCATION

  • Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, 1999, Duke University
  • M.S. Engineering Mechanics, 1995, University of Cincinnati
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 1988, University of Michigan

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Biomechanics of collagenous soft tissues
  • Intervertebral disc function, degeneration, restoration

AREAS OF SPECIAL INTEREST

Dr. Elliott studies the biomechanical function of orthopaedic soft tissues in health, aging, degeneration, injury and healing. Her primary focus is the intervertebral disc, which supports and distributes loads and permits motions of the spine. She also studies other tissues including tendon, ligament, meniscus, and articular cartilage.

With age, the intervertebral disc undergoes progressive and irreversible degenerative changes that often lead to low back pain. Surgical treatment options are extremely limited and do not restore disc function. To describe the complex material behaviors of these tissues, including anisotropy, nonlinearity, inhomogeneity, and viscoelasticity, Dr. Elliott primarily uses mathematical models and mechanical tests. The mathematical models are applied to the study of human tissue as well as animal models which mimic human conditions. Mathematical models and mechanical tests, in combination with biochemical composition and microstructural measurements, lead to a better understanding of tissue function as well as the mechanisms for degeneration, injury and healing. In addition, the detailed knowledge of material behaviors gained through these methods is valuable in the development and evaluation of new treatments, such as surgical repair and tissue engineering.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  1. Szczesny SE, Elliott DM, Incorporating plasticity of the interfibrillar matrix in shear lag models is necessary to replicate the multiscale mechanics of tendon fascicles, J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 40:325-38, 2014
  2. Yoder JH, Peloquin JM, Song G, Tustison NJ, Moon SM, Wright AC, Vresilovic EJ, Gee JC, Elliott DM, Internal three-dimensional strains in human intervertebral discs under axial compression quantified noninvasively by magnetic resonance imaging and image registration, J Biomech Eng 136(11), 2014
  3. Jacobs NT, Cortes DH, Peloquin JP, Vresilovic EJ, Elliott DM, Validation and application of an intervertebral disc finite element model utilizing independently constructed tissue-level constitutive formulations that are nonlinear, anisotropic, and time-dependent, J Biomechanics 47(11):2540-6, 2014
  4. Showalter BL, Malhotra NR, Vresilovic EJ, Elliott DM, Nucleotomy increases hypermobility and reduces the hydration effects of cyclic compressive loading with unloaded recovery on human intervertebral discs, J Biomechanics 47(11):2633-40, 2014
  5. Cortes DH, Elliott DM, Accurate prediction of stress in fibers with distributed orientations using generalized high-order structure tensors, Mechanics of Materials 75:73-83, 2014
  6. Han WM, Heo SJ, Driscoll TP, Boggs ME, Duncan RL, Mauck RL, Elliott DM, Impact of cellular microenvironment and mechanical perturbation on calcium signalling in meniscus fibrochondrocytes. Eur Cell Mater 27:321-31, 2014
  7. Peloquin JM, Yoder JH, Jacobs NT, Moon SM, Wright AC, Vresilovic EJ, Elliott DM, Human L3-L4 intervertebral disc mean 3D shape, modes of variation, and their relationship to degeneration, J Biomechanics, 2014
  8. Martin JT, Milby AH, Chiaro JA, Kim DH, Hebela NM, Smith LJ, Elliott DM, Mauck RL, Translation of an engineered nanofibrous disc-like angle ply structure for intervertebral disc replacement in a small animal model, Acta Biomater 10(6):2473-81, 2014
  9. Szczesny SE, Elliott DM, Interfibrillar shear stress is the loading mechanism of collagen fibrils in tendon, Acta Biomater 10(6):2582-90, 2014
  10. Cortes DH, Jacobs NT, Delucca JF, Elliott DM, Elastic, permeability and swelling properties of human intervertebral disc tissues: a benchmark for tissue engineering, J Biomechanics 47(9):2088-94, 2014