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Structure and Strength Core


Matthew Silva
(314) 362-8585

Associate Director

Simon Tang
(314) 286-2664

Technical Staff

Imaging Lab Manager: Dan Leib
(314) 747-2769

Mechanical Testing: Michael Brodt
(314) 362-8588

Administrative Coordinator

Orthopaedic Surgery (Faxitron, pQCT, VivaCT, Mechanical Testing)
Stephanie Simpson
(314) 747-3772

Bone & Mineral Division, Internal Medicine (Piximus, MicroCT40)
Patricia Catherine Hagen
(314) 454-8577


The MRC is partnering with the Wash U Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI) to fund a Just-in-time/Microgrant program to support new imaging projects related to musculoskeletal research. Read more...

Structure and strength are perhaps the most relevant properties when assessing functional outcomes in animal models related to musculoskeletal biology and medicine. The objectives of the Musculoskeletal Structure and Strength Core are: 1) to increase access to existing resources for densitometry, imaging, and mechanical testing; 2) to enhance expert oversight and quality control; 3) to provide training and enrichment opportunities related to core services; and 4) to foster new interactions and enhance existing interactions between members of the Research Base of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at Washington University.

Consultation: Contact the Core Director or any of our Associate Directors or Technical Staff to discuss your project. We can advise you on outcomes you may consider for a musculoskeletal structure / biomechanics experiment, and what we can do to help you obtain these outcomes. If you are in the planning stages or submitting a proposal, we can help with study design a priori. If you are starting your experiment, we can provide training or do the work for you. If you have collected your data, we can help with data analysis and interpretation.

Imaging: We support the use of x-ray based imaging of musculoskeletal structures and tissues from animal models (mouse to canine) generated by Research Base investigators. Available techniques include plane radiography, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), and micro-computed tomography (microCT). Importantly, each of these techniques is available for in vivo as well as post mortem imaging.

Mechanical Testing: We perform mechanical testing to assess the functional properties of musculoskeletal tissues and structures from animal models (mouse to canine) generated by Research Base investigators. Available “standard” testing methods include long-bone bending, vertebral compression, tendon and tendon-bone tensile testing. For more “specialized” applications, we will work with investigators interested in muscle force testing, demineralized bone tension and trabecular indentation.


Radiography. Specimen Radiography System, Faxitron Model MX-20 (Location: BJCIH 11506; Contact: Dan Leib,

Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA): GE/Lunar PIXImus (Location: BJCIH 11506; Contact: Dan Leib,

Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT): Norland/Stratec, XCT Research M (Location: BJCIH 11506; Contact: Dan Leib,

MicroCT – post mortem: Scanco uCT40 (Location: BJCIH 11506; Contacts: Dan Leib,

MicroCT – in vivo: Scanco VivaCT40 (Location: BJCIH 11506; Contact: Dan Leib,

Mechanical Testing: Instron 8841 (200 lb, servohydraulic), Instron 5866 (2000 lb, electromechanical), Instron ElectroPuls E1000 (1000 N, electromechanical); Qualysis Oqus sytem for motion capture; Location: BJCIH 11518; Contact: Matt Silva,; Michael Brodt,

Muscle Physiology: For in vitro and in vivo testing of muscles in mice, please contact Dr. Gretchen Meyer ( 314-286-1425;

Musculoskeletal Structure and Strength Core


Citing the grant in publications:

“Washington University Musculoskeletal Research Center (NIH P30 AR057235)”