Engineering Professor Awarded NSF Grant for Osteoporosis Research

Engineering Professor Awarded NSF Grant

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Ani Ural, PhD, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the University’s Computational Biomechanics and Solid Mechanics Laboratory, has been awarded a three-year $324,259 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of osteoporosis treatments on bone quality.

Bisphosphonates—the most commonly used osteoporosis treatment—have been effective in preventing osteoporotic fractures by suppressing bone turnover. There is increasing evidence, however, of a possible link between bisphosphonate use and atypical femoral fractures. Recent reports have raised the possibility of adverse mechanical modifications in bone due to extensive suppression of bone turnover.

Dr. Ural is conducting research into the changes in material composition, organization, and fracture resistance of bone resulting from suppressed bone turnover. The goal is to provide timely information on a significant potential public health problem associated with the most commonly used drug therapy for osteoporosis. Advancing understanding of the effects of osteoporosis treatments on bone quality will help identify those patients who are at risk of atypical femoral fracture.

In addition to the impact of this research on osteoporosis treatment, Dr. Ural’s study is integrating an active educational and outreach component that will broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in engineering.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.