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BME MS student presents research in Japan

De Vecchi presents her research to a peer attending the International Society of Biomechanics conference

Francesca De Vecchi, a Richard and Loan Hill Department of Biomedical Engineering graduate student in the University of Illinois Chicago’s dual master’s degree program with the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, presented her osteoarthritis research at the International Society of Biomechanics conference in Fukuoka, Japan, this summer.

De Vecchi is working at Rush University under Markus Wimmer, a UIC affiliate faculty member of the BME department, and professor in the Orthopedic Surgery department at Rush Medical College, associate chairman of the Rush Department of Orthopedics, and director of Human Motion Analysis and Tribology.

De Vecchi’s poster she presented at the ISB conference was about the work that she is doing for the paper, related to her thesis at UIC, that she’s writing with Wimmer. Her research aims to examine how the depth of bovine cartilage tissue influences its mechanical properties. This research is relevant to understanding osteoarthritis.

“Cartilage and its properties should be studied through depth if you want to see particular components,” De Vecchi said. “For example, I focused on the collagen fibers since they have a different organization of the fibers depending on the depth and how this influences the mechanical properties.”

She added that the behavior of the collagen fibers at the different depths then reveals if or where there’s malfunctioning or different behavior of the cells. She is interested in bringing this work to the disease research field, such as osteoarthritis.

While presenting her poster, De Vecchi received suggestions for future research ideas and heard about others’ similar research topics. She added that the conference was a good exchange of ideas.

She graduated from UIC in May of 2022 and successfully defended her thesis in December of 2022.

De Vecchi received funding from the Andriacchi Endowment Fund to help with her travel expenses. This fund, established by Thomas P. Andriacchi, a former faculty member of the UIC BME department and Rush University (formerly Rush-Prebyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center) Department of Orthopedics, provides financial support to BME students engaged in research focused on biomechanics. Andriacchi was Wimmer’s mentor early in his career.