SCSAM Fellow Spotlight: Claire Daugherty

For her SCSAM fellowship, Claire Daugherty, a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Mechanical Engineering, is characterizing the temporal evolution of immature porcine cortical bone microstructure. Daugherty is using immature porcine, or young pig bones, to better understand the properties of pediatric bones because traumatic bone fractures commonly occur in young children. Daugherty is using the Keyence VH-X 5000 optical microscope to classify the microstructure of the immature porcine bone samples. Light microscopy allows Daugherty to see the collagen fiber matrix orientation and note the presence of mechanically significant vascular structures. Details revealed by microscopy can then be used to draw conclusions between the evolution of the microstructure and mechanical properties such as elastic modulus and tensile strength. 

The optical microscopy study that Daugherty is completing through the SCSAM fellowship is part of a larger study by Dr. Clare Rimnac and her PhD student, Emily Szabo. Szabo is using the nanoindenter in SCSAM as well as performing tissue-level tension and whole-bone bending and torsion to understand the mechanics of maturing porcine bone. Daugherty is working to provide the microstructural data to correlate to the mechanical data because “bone structure is inherently linked with bone function.” SCSAM engineer Nichole Hoven noted that "working with Claire on the Keyence optical microscope has been a great experience. She is now able to quickly acquire high quality images that will help to support her research."