Lisa Pruitt

Professor of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering
Keywords: mechanics, materials
Research Areas: tissue biomechanics, biomaterial science, fatigue and fracture micromechanisms, orthopedic polymers for total joint replacement, cardiovascular biomaterials, synthetic cartilage, acrylic bone cements, tribology of diamond and DLCs

Research Description:

Research is focused on structure-property relationships in orthopedic tissues, biomaterials and medical polymers. Current projects include the assessment of fatigue fracture mechanisms and tribological performance of orthopedic biomaterials, as well as characterization of orthopedic tissues and associated devices. Surface modifications using plasma chemistry are used to optimize polymers for medical applications. Attention is focused on wear, fatigue and multiaxial loading. Retrievals of orthopedic implants are characterized to model in vivo degradation and physiological loading. Biomechanical characterization of structural tissues is performed to assess clinical treatments and to develop constitutive relationships. Laboratory techniques for structural characterization include SEM, TEM, FEM, SAXS, USAXS, XPS, DSC, GPC, FTIR, AFM, confocal microscopy, wear testing, fatigue testing, fracture mechanics analysis, and nanoindentation. Research has been supported by NIH, NSF, ONR, DARPA, OREF and industry. Pedagogical experience includes curriculum development in mechanical engineering and bioengineering. Teaching includes freshman seminars; undergraduate courses on Mechanical Behavior and Processing of Materials, Structural Aspects of Biomaterials, and Principles of Bioengineering; graduate courses on Fracture Mechanics, Mechanical Behavior of Materials, and Polymer Engineering.

Selected Publications:

  • A.P.D. Elfick, K. Healy, A.Unsworth, L. Pruitt, “The Importance of Protein Physisorption in BioMEMs/NEMs Applications: A Nanotribological Study” in “Life Cycle Tribology” (Eds Dowson D, Priest M, Dalmaz G, Lubrecht AA), p835-844, Tribology and Interface Engineering Series, No 48, Elsevier, Amsterdam, (2005).
  • C. Li, L.Pruitt, and K. King, “ Nanoindentation Differentiates Tissue-Scale Properties of Native Articular Cartilage,” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Sep 15;78(4):729-38 (2006).
  • D.M. Ebenstein and L. Pruitt, “Nanoindentation of Biological Materials,” Nano Today 1(3) 27-33 (2006).
  • K. Cheng, L. Pruitt, C. Zaloudek, and M. D. Ries, “Osteolysis is caused by Tibial Component Debonding in Total Knee Arthroplasty,” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 443 333-336 (2006).
  • K. Simis, A. Bistolfi, A. Bellare and L. Pruitt, “The Combined Effects of Crosslinking and Elevated Crystallinity on the Microstructural and Mechanical Properties of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene,” Biomaterials 27(9). 1688-1694 (2006).

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