Samantha Goodchild


Greenhouse Anatomy Demonstrator / PhD Scholarship
Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, Dundee

Trabecular and cortical bone architecture in the developing lumbar vertebral column

Qualitative and quantitative study of trabecular and cortical bone architecture in the developing lumbar vertebral column

The aim of this project is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the developmental changes in the internal structure of lumbar vertebrae using a standardised and repeatable methodology.

This project will utilise the Scheuer collection in order to study the developmental changes of internal bone architecture in lumbar centra/ bodies and neural arches. Macroradiography will be utilised in the preliminary stages, along with gradient mapping, to qualitatively assess the internal trabecular structure at each vertebral level. Microcomputed tomography will be used, in conjunction with the imaging software ImageJ and BoneJ, to assess a number of histomorphometric parameters including Bone Volume Fraction, trabecular thickness, trabecular separation, trabecular number, cortical thickness, Structural Model Index (SMI) and degree of Anisotropy (DA). A number of key milestones will be considered: aged 6 months, when the child can sit up unaided, at one year when the child beings to walk, and from 3 years of age when the child begins to develop a bipedal gait.

This increased understanding has clinical, archaeological and forensic applications. By understanding normal development, abnormal development can be identified and treated more efficiently. Findings may also allow inferences into the evolution of bipedalism and the age at which milestones are achieved in different populations, past and present. Finally, it may be possible to identify fragmentary remains should the internal lumbar structure be unique. It may also have applications in ageing of unknown specimens and finite element models to study bone biomechanics utilising non-destructive methods.

  Demonstrator in anatomy, medicine and dentistry.