Preventing bone deterioration is a critical aspect of combating osteoporosis, improving bone implants, and even making long-term space flight possible, such as voyages to Mars and beyond. On April 9, noted biomedical researcher Stephen C. Cowin will describe a promising model for studying nutrient transport from the vascular system to bone tissue, transport that has a direct bearing on the prevention of bone loss.Cowin’s presentation, “Interstitial Flow in the Hierarchical Pore Space Architecture of Bone Tissue,” is the 2014 Elsevier Distinguished Lecture sponsored by Elsevier and the NJIT Granular Science Laboratory. Professor Cowin will speak on April 9 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. in Room 1100 of the Guttenberg Information Technologies Center on the NJIT campus. The presentation is open to faculty, staff and students from all Newark-area colleges.
The model for poroelastic materials that Corwin will discuss is applicable to the problem of determining how cyclic mechanical loading and changes in blood pressure affect the exchange of pore fluid and nutrients between the vascular system and the lacunar-canalicular network that brings fluid to cells deep in bone tissue. Understanding this interstitial flow is, in turn, basic to understanding mechanotransduction in bone tissue, the process by which physical forces are converted into biochemical signals which then influence cellular responses. Mechanotransduction has a crucial role in bone repair and regeneration.
Since 1988, Cowin has held the position of distinguished professor at the City College of New York, Grove School of Engineering, part of the City University of New York. His principal research interest is the mechanics of materials, particularly in determining the influence of microstructure on the gross mechanical behavior of granular, composite and biological materials.
Cowin received his BES and MS in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1956 and 1958, respectively, and his PhD in engineering mechanics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1962. After a year on the faculty at Pennsylvania State, he began a 25-year association with Tulane University. He held appointments in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at both universities.
In 1985, Cowin received the Society of Tulane Engineers and Lee H. Johnson Award for Teaching Excellence. He also was the recipient of the Best Paper Award from the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 1992; of the Melville Medal from ASME in 1993, and of the European Society of Biomechanics Research Award in 1994. In 1999, he received the ASME’s H. R. Lissner medal for contributions to biomedical engineering. In 2004, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and received the Maurice A. Biot Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Cowin is the author of over 250 research papers and editor or co-editor of five books. He has published two textbooks: Tissue Mechanics (2007, with Stephen B. Doty) and Continuum Mechanics of Anisotropic Materials (2013). He is presently or has been a regional editor for Forma, associate editor of the Journal of Applied Mechanics and the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biomechanics, International Journal of Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanics Research Communications.