Principal Investigator

Dr. Mary Bouxsein

Mary L Bouxsein, PhD
Director, Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Associate Biologist, Endocrine Division, Massachusetts General Hospital
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University
Faculty Member, Bioastronautics Program, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology

330 Brookline Ave, RN 115
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-667-2940, fax: 617-667-7175

Dr. Bouxsein received her BS degree in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, studying the effects of exercise on the skeleton with Dennis Carter, PhD and Robert Marcus, MD. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Wilson C. Hayes, PhD. She currently holds joint appointments as an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, adjunct Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Boston University, and is also a faculty member in the MIT-Bioastronautics Program. Her research focuses on understanding skeletal fragility from a biomechanics viewpoint, and includes studies using animal models and human cadaveric tissue, as well as clinical investigations. She also has a strong interest in the use of novel non-invasive imaging techniques to predict fracture risk and monitor response to osteoporosis therapies. Dr. Bouxsein serves on the committee of scientific advisors for the International Osteoporosis Foundation and is a board member of the International Bone and Mineral Society. Dr. Bouxsein has published over 145 peer-reviewed articles and 25 book chapters and invited reviews.

See Dr. Bouxsein’s CV.


Dennis E. Anderson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
330 Brookline Avenue, RN 115
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-667-5380, Fax: 617-667-7175

Dr. Anderson received his PhD in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 2010, studying musculoskeletal biomechanics with a focus on aging and gait under the direction of Michael Madigan, PhD. He then joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow to work in the Biomechanics of Vertebral Fracture project, using qCT scans and musculoskeletal modeling to examine the risk of vertebral fractures in older adults. In 2015, Dr. Anderson was promoted to Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, and currently his research seeks to understand thoracolumbar biomechanics in several inter-related areas: examining how in vivo measurements of trunk musculature from CT scans are associated with age, sex and physical function; in vitro mechanical testing of cadaveric specimens to characterize the mechanical properties of costal cartilage and understand how the rib cage and rib cage stiffness affect loading of the thoracic vertebrae; development and validation of improved musculoskeletal models of the thoracolumbar spine; and examination of biomechanical factors that affect vertebral loading.

See Dr. Anderson’s CV.



Fjola Johannesdottir, PhD
Instructor of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
330 Brookline Avenue, RN 120
Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Johannesdottir received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Iceland in 2012, where she used 3D musculoskeletal imaging to study the determinants of osteoporotic fragility among elderly people, especially hip fractures, and to assess age related changes by examining bone structure and shape. During her postdoc at University of Cambridge (UK), she expanded her imaging skills by using novel parametric mapping of femoral bone in patients with and without hip fractures and by using MRI images to assess bone health among Gaucher patients. She then joined the Bouxsein lab in July 2016. Currently, her research seeks to understand better the mechanisms of vertebral fracture by determining the association of incident vertebral fracture with trunk muscle morphology, intravertebral heterogeneity in bone density and disc degeneration.

Postdoctoral Fellows


Seyed Javad Mousavi, PT, PhD
Research Fellow
330 Brookline Avenue, RN 119
Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Mousavi received his PhD in Physical Therapy from Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) in 2008, studying trunk neuromuscular performance during multidirectional tracking tasks with Prof. Mohamad Parnianpour, PhD. Upon graduation he also received “the national award for the distinguished student researcher” for his works on development and implementation of patient-reported outcome measures and evidence-based practice for musculoskeletal disorders. After working as assistant professor of physical therapy at TUMS for three years, in 2012 he was awarded “University of Sydney International Postdoctoral Research Fellowship” to work on trunk control during simple and complex motion tracking tasks. In 2016, he joined the Bouxsein lab as a research fellow to work with Dr. Dennis Anderson on thoracic motion, osteoporotic vertebral fracture and trunk neuromuscular performance with a clinical point of view.

See Dr. Mousavi’s CV.

Frank Ko, PhD
Research Fellow
330 Brookline Avenue, RN 122
Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Ko received his BS degree in Bioengineering from Rice University and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University under the mentorship of Marjolein van der Meulen, PhD.  He then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular biology at the Endocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital under the mentorship of Marie Demay, MD and subsequently with Mary Bouxsein, PhD at the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Dr. Ko is interested in defining the molecular basis of musculoskeletal changes from mechanical loading/unloading and nutrition using preclinical models and in vitro systems.  He is currently investigating how partial weight bearing alters muscle and bone and determining the effects of caloric restriction on mTOR signaling in bone.

Stefan Schmid, PT, PhD
Research Fellow
330 Brookline Avenue, RN 119
Boston, MA 02215

Following his studies in Physical Therapy (2001-2005), Dr. Schmid graduated with an MA in Pathokinesiology from New York University (2009) and a PhD in Biomechanics from ETH Zurich (2016), studying spinal kinematics during gait in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis and hemiplegic cerebral palsy. During the course of his studies, Dr. Schmid worked for about 3 years as a Physical Therapist in clinical settings in Switzerland as well as the US. In early 2017, he was appointed lecturer at the Department of Health Professions at Bern University of Applied Sciences, which included teaching and research in the field of movement biomechanics. Dr. Schmid joined the Bouxsein lab as a research fellow in summer 2018 to work with Dr. Dennis Anderson on subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling of the spine in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis performing functional activities.

Full CV and Bibliography

Graduate Students


Katelyn Burkhart
Ph.D. Candidate – Medical Engineering and Medical Physics
Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Bioastronautics Training Program

Katelyn received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Connecticut. She is currently a PhD student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Bioastronautics program, and joined the Bouxsein lab group in 2014. Her research involves developing a subject-specific musculoskeletal model of the thoracolumbar spine using OpenSim software. This musculoskeletal model can be used to predict in vivo spinal loading and help identify high risk activities that might place someone at risk for vertebral fracture. Currently, she is investigating the effect of spaceflight on the risk of vertebral fracture for astronauts.

Chaofei Zhang
Ph.D. Student – Automotive Engineering
Tsinghua University

Chaofei graduated from Tsinghua University with a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering in July 2014. He got a PhD recommendation from Tsinghua University in August 2014. He is currently a PhD student in Tsinghua University, and joined the Bouxsein lab group as a visiting graduate student working with Dr. Dennis Anderson in October 2017. His research interests include: (1) Detection and prediction of driver’s mental fatigue based on physiological signals (EEG and EOG) and driving performance; (2) Measuring dynamic comfort during driving  and combining this evaluation with musculoskeletal modeling using OpenSim software. His current project is thoracic and cervical spine modeling using force dependent kinematics (FDK).

Research Associates


Daniel Brooks
Laboratory Manager, Bouxsein Lab and Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies


Daniel Brooks joined the Bouxsein Lab as a Research Associate in 2012. Prior to coming to BIDMC, he worked for five years at Cornell University managing two research labs. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Engineering from The University of Maine in 2004 and a Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the Joint Program of North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill in 2007. His previous research has looked at cementless hip implant stability, the effect of osteoporosis drugs on the mechanical properties of bone, and the growth of tumors in the bone microenvironment. Currently, Daniel helps with mechanical testing, µCT imaging, in vivo studies, and numerous other aspects of the projects in the Bouxsein lab.


Brett Allaire

Brett Allaire graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 2009. As an undergrad, Brett did work in the BU Biomicroscopy Lab. He joined the Bouxsein lab in March 2011 and is part of the Biomechanics of Vertebral Fracture team performing image analysis of QCT scans. His research interests include imaging techniques, image processing, and biomechanics.

Research Assistants


Julia Moulton

Julia Moulton graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Biomechanics in May 2015. She conducted co-ops with ABIOMED, Pioneer Surgical Technology, and Arthrex. From these jobs, she has industrial experience in cardiovascular biomechanics, designing hydroxyapatite based biologic devices for the spine, and testing medical devices used in sports medicine (sutures, suture anchors, total knee/hip replacement kits, buttons, etc.). In the past she has worked on projects that (1) researched possible mechanisms to diminish the chances of bone fracture in individuals with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and (2) tried to deepen the understanding of how loading at different intensities can contribute to osteoarthritis. Julia joined the Bouxsein lab in March 2016. Her research interests are broad, but she generally has an affinity for anything having to do with joints, bone or cartilage.

Daniel Grindle

Daniel recently received his Master of Engineering degree from the University of Delaware with a focus in biomechanics. Daniel will be working on subject testing and data processing for the thoracic spine motion study, as well as upcoming projects in the motion lab, and will help with the OpenSim spine modeling efforts. He is excited to be here and hopes to learn a lot about different areas of biomechanics as he is considering starting a PhD program in a year or two.