Throughout this fall, I worked in Dr. Spencer Lake’s Musculoskeletal Soft Tissue Laboratory to finish developing a protocol and design setup to enable us to study the effects of elastin on the mechanical properties of tendon. These mechanical properties can be determined using an enzyme called elastase, which degrades elastin to the point where it is non-functional. Once the elastin is degraded, the mechanical properties of the tendon without elastin will be tested using an Instron. More specifically, I worked to develop a repeatable and well-defined protocol for testing, surveyed the literature on elastase incubation times, and developed smaller-scale tests to find the ideal amount of an enzyme, elastase, that will be used in later experiments. Finally, I updated current guides to inform the rest of my laboratory of the protocols, and also developed a Matlab script for analyzing a region of interest in a tendon cross section. Through these various tasks, I was able to learn more about the mechanical properties of tendon from the preliminary experiments, which will inform research about elastase treated tendons in the Spring, 2019 semester.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission