A course on Bone Cell and Tissue Mechanics will be given this year in the week of July 19-23, 2019 in Udine, Italy at the CISM - International Centre for Mechanical Sciences-in the Palazzo del Torso. This course was last given in 2007 (and before that in 2003, 1999, 1995 and 1987). A description of the course and the names of the lecturers are given below. In the past the audience has been as diverse in background as the lecturers, that is to say spanning the spectrum from biologists and veterinarians to structural and biomedical engineers. Contact the CISM for further information, http://www.cism.it/


Bone mechanics is considered here to include the mechanical behavior of whole bones as structural elements, the mechanical behavior of bone tissue as a material, the response of bone cells to mechanical and electrokinetic stimuli and the physiological significance of the mechanical behavior. Specialists in anatomy, orthopaedics, dentistry, biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology as well as biomechanics are involved in the bone cell and tissue mechanics. This topic has only formalized into a distinct discipline in the last thirty years. During this period the salient mechanical properties of bone have been determined, but the salient mechanical properties of bone cells are only now being studied.

Bone remodeling is the primary research area in bone mechanics. Bone remodeling is a term used to describe the renewal and redevelopment of bone tissue as it adapts to altered load bearing. That is to say, in the course of time bone changes its shape, its apparent density, and its stiffness to adapt to the environmental load it experiences. Bone is sometimes viewed as an optimum composite and the skeletal system is an optimal structure. The cellular mechanisms that constitute the mechanosensory system in bone tissue and drive the adaptive remodeling are unknown at the present time, but there are several promising candidates for the mechanosensory system.

The subject of bone mechanics is basic to the understanding of musculoskeletal disease, the principles underlying orthopaedic and dental surgery and the design of orthopaedic implanted prostheses such as artificial hips, knees, finger joints, etc. The engineering design of these orthopaedic appliances is about fifty years old and is still in a state of evolution, particularly in the area of orthobiologics. It is a major manufacturing industry.

The goal of this course will be to review the entire area of bone cell and tissue mechanics, with an emphasis on bone remodeling. Besides being informative, it is hoped that the course will function as a forum for the exchange of data, philosophy, and ideas across disciplinary divides and so provide further stimulus for a comprehensive approach to the problems of bone mechanics. We expect an audience as diverse in background as the lecturers, that is to say spanning the across the professional spectrum from material scientists to biologists, to orthopaedic and dental surgeons, to veterinarians and to structural and biomedical engineers.


S.C. COWIN —City University of New York, USA

1. Bone structure and microstructure

2. Introduction of participants & lecturers

3. The mechanosensory system in bone

4. Russian doll poroelasticity

5. Diagnostic bone ultrasound

6. Friday Q&A

J.D. CURREY—University of York, ENGLAND

1. Form-mechanical property relationships in whole bones.

2. Composition-mechanical property relationships in bone tissue.

3. Histology-mechanical property relationships in bone tissue.

4. The role of microdamage in bone mechanics.

5. Recent developments in testing bone tissue and whole bone mechanical behaviour

6. Monday Q&A

M. DOBLARÉ—University of Zaragosa, SPAIN

1. Introduction to the macroscopic mechanical behavior of bone tissue; computational models for the prediction of bone fracture

2. Damage-based phenomenological models of bone remodeling

3. Mechanistic models of bone remodeling

4. Computational simulation of bone fracture healing

5. Computational simulation of bone osseointegration

6. Thursday, Q&A

A. J. El Haj — Keele University, ENGLAND

1. Bone cell biology

2. Differentiation of bone cells and the bone cell lineage

3. Bone development and remodelling

4. Mechanotransduction and bone cell signalling

5. Controlling bone cells by physical forces/Applied cell biomechanics

6. Bone cell apoptosis and cell turnover

7. Tuesday Q&A

A. GOODSHIP - Royal Veterinary College and Institute of Orthopaedics,

University College, London, ENGLAND

1. Bone modeling and remodeling

2. Functional adaptation in bone - part one

3. Functional adaptation in bone - part two

4. Fracture repair in bone

5. Mechanically related modulation of bone repair

6. Mechanogenetics of bone – potential implications for mechanical competence, repair and replacement of the skeleton.

7. Wednesday Q&A


1. Quantitative data on bone formation rate throughout the skeletal system

2. The structure of bone tissues

3. The mechanism of transduction of mechanical strains into biological signals at the bone cellular level

Suggested reading:

Cowin, S. C. (editor), Bone Mechanics Handbook, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2001

Cowin, S. C. and Doty, S. B., Tissue Mechanics, Springer, 2007

Currey, J. D., Bones, Princeton University Press, 2002.

Stephen C. Cowin

Departments of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering

The City College of the City University of New York

New York, NY, 10031