Elizabeth A. Robbins
Currently, I am working on a research project in the use of magnetic resonance imaging to study the degradation of articular cartilage in osteoarthritic joints, under the supervision of professor of physics, Dr. Yang Xia. Dr. Xia's research is aimed at finding an early diagnostic marker for osteoarthritis, using MRI as a noninvasive tool. I am interested in the following aims: to determine the relationship between the T2 anisotropy from micro-MRI and the histological orientation of collage fibrils from polarized light microscopy, to demonstrate the heterogeneity of the T2 at different load-bearing areas in joint cartilage, and to determine the zone-specific characteristics in cartilage during static and dynamic loading. All micro-MRI experiments are performed on a Bruker AMS 300 NMR spectrometer equipped with a 7-Tesla/89-mm vertical-bore superconducting magnet and micro-imaging accessory. Resolution is 14 microns across the full depth of the cartilage layer. Dr. Xia's research has revealed new information about articular cartilage. In particular, he has discovered a previously unidentified layer of collagenous tissue, oriented to withstand shear stress during load bearing, in knee and shoulder joints. My project involves analysis of the retardance of light waves traveling through resonance pathways in the carbon orbitals of cartilage. After histological preparation I detect the degree of retardance using polarized light microscopy, digitize this data to calculate the orientation of individual collage fibers, and use the result to interpret TEM and MRI scans. I will also be responsible for graphical analysis of T2 decays constant data that will be sued to determine acceptable levels fo background noise. I would like to thank the American Physical Society for its support which allows me to continue this project.