Measures of structure and strength are essential when assessing functional outcomes in animal models related to musculoskeletal biology and medicine. In 2008, evaluation of these outcomes at Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSTL) was limited to few investigators because we lacked centralized resources and organization. Evaluating these outcomes requires specialized equipment and expertise, which is impractical and inefficient to recreate in multiple labs. In response to this unmet need, we established the Musculoskeletal Structure and Strength Core. This multifaceted resource supports our Research Community in understanding and implementing techniques to evaluate structure and mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissues (bone, cartilage, disc, muscle, tendon) derived from animal models. The Structure and Strength core has five objectives: A) support access and cost-effective utilization of existing resources for imaging and mechanical testing; B) support rigorous approaches leading to publication quality data with broad impact; C) provide training and enrichment opportunities (in concert with the T32 Skeletal Disorders Training Program); D) enhance and extend Core capabilities through development of new techniques; and E) foster new interactions and enhance existing interactions between members of the musculoskeletal Research Community at WUSTL.
Aim 1 – Maintain protocols, equipment, and enable the imaging/mechanical testing of musculoskeletal structures and tissues from studies driven by the Research Community investigators
Aim 2 – Provide training, engage users, and assist with data compliance to optimize quality, efficiency, and impact
Aim 3 – Enhance state-of-the-art infrastructure and drive innovation
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