Engineering/Clinical Medicine Project in NYC Available Starting Early June

Measurement of Intra-Operative Bone Quality in Patients Having Spinal Fusion Surgery 

Sponsors: Eve Donnelly PhD, Emily Stein MD (Hospital for Special Surgery, HSS)

Over 250,000 patients have spine fusion surgery every year in the United States. Patients undergo this complex procedure to correct scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and other spinal deformities. Complications occur in up to 30% of patients and can be devastating. We are conducting a group of studies to understand how the material properties of a patient’s bones affects their outcomes after surgery. Patients will undergo a comprehensive pre-operative evaluation of their bone with several imaging tests, blood analyses of bone metabolism as well as a novel hand-held indentation test to measure resistance to induction of microcracks.

The student’s role on this project will be to work closely with a team of metabolic bone specialists, orthopedic surgeons, and biomechanical engineers at HSS to design a device for measurement of intra-operative bone quality, specifically the insertional torque of pedicle screws (torqe range 0-5Nm). The device must be biocompatible and work with the standard pedicle screw instrumentation.  The device, once designed, would be manufactured and piloted in the clinical setting.

This project would provide a student with the experience of working on an important clinical problem, using computer-aided design (CAD) and finite element analysis (FEA), and interacting with both scientists and clinicians. Applicants should have a background in engineering and CAD.

We are looking for a student to work at HSS on this project for the summer of 2019, beginning either June 3 or June 10. A stipend of $3500 with additional funds for supplies will be provided.

Interested students should email Prof. Eve Donnelly at with subject line: Engineering/Clinical Medicine Summer Project; a cover letter in the body of the email; and two .pdf attachments: 1) resume (filename: FirstnameLastnameResume.pdf) and 2) transcript (filename: FirstnameLastnameTranscript.pdf).

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