Dr. Donnelly received her BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. In 2007 she received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, where she examined the role of mineral and collagen on the mechanical properties of bone tissue at multiple length scales. As a postdoctoral fellow she studied skeletal tissue biology and biophysical imaging in Biomedical Sciences at Cornell and material properties of osteoporotic bone in the Mineralized Tissues Laboratory at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Dr. Donnelly was awarded an NIH Ruth L Kirchstein National Research Service Award for her postdoctoral fellowship to study the effects of bone tissue mineral and matrix properties on fracture incidence. In 2010 she received the Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the Young Investigator Award from the International Conference on the Chemistry and Biology of Mineralized Tissues for her work on bisphosphonate-induced changes in material properties of osteoporotic bone. She received the New Investigator Recognition Award from the Orthopedic Research Society in 2009 and the Alice L. Jee Memorial Young Investigator Award from the Sun Valley Workshop on Skeletal Tissue Biology in 2007 for her work on imaging primary cilia in tendon.
The focus of the lab is characterization of microstructure and mechanical properties of skeletal tissues across multiple length scales, with a primary focus on bone and a secondary focus on tendon. Both tissues have complex collagen-based hierarchical microstructures, in which changes at the microstructural level affect properties at larger length scales. As a result, diseases that affect material properties, such as osteoporosis, may cause structural failure. Furthermore, the microstructures of these tissues are dynamic and adapt to the local mechanical environment. The long-term goals of this work are to identify the material factors that contribute to the integrity of healthy skeletal tissues and to improve prediction of structural failure and treatments that may restore function to diseased tissues.
Her research includes fundamental studies of microstructure-property relationships in bone and tendon as well translational studies of disease- and treatment-induced changes in the properties of bone mineral and collagen and their relationship to fracture incidence. Techniques include Fourier transform infrared imaging, x-ray diffraction, multiphoton microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and nanoindentation. Characterizing microstructure-mechanical property relationships in skeletal tissues is essential to understanding the material factors that contribute to tissue integrity and degradation. The clinical relevance of the translational work lies in its potential to improve pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis and minimize fracture risk.
- 2010. "Contribution of mineral to bone structural behavior and tissue mechanical properties." Calcified Tissue International 87 (5): 450-460. .
- 2010. "Effects of tissue age on bone tissue material composition and nanomechanical properties in the rat cortex." Journal of Biomedical Materials Research A 92 (3): 1048-1056. .
- 2016. "Altered distributions of bone tissue mineral and collagen properties in women with fragility fractures." Bone 84: 237-244. .
- 2015. "Examining the Relationships between Bone Tissue Composition, Compositional Heterogeneity and Fragility Fracture: A Matched Case Controlled FTIRI Study." Journal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research n/a-n/a. .
- 2015. "Multiscale Contribution of Bone Tissue Material Property Heterogeneity to Trabecular Bone Mechanical Behavior.." Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 137 (1). .
Selected Awards and Honors
- Dale R. Corson Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow (Cornell University) 2012
- John Haddad Young Investigator Award (American Society for Bone and Mineral Research-Advances in Mineral Metabolism) 2011
- ICCBMT Young Investigator Award (10th International Conference on the Chemistry and Biology of Mineralized Tissues) 2010
- Young Investigator Award (American Society for Bone and Mineral Research) 2010
- New Investigator Recognition Award (Orthopedic Research Society) 2009
- BS (Materials Science and Engineering), Stanford University, 2000
- MS (Materials Science and Engineering), Stanford University, 2001
- Ph D (Mechanical Engineering), Cornell University, 2007