2019 Scholarship Winner Feature – Jamie Benson

STLE Section Awards Scholarship to University of Delaware Doctoral Student

L to R: Scholarship Committee Member Thomas O’Brien, Scholarship Awardee Jamie Benson, Professor David Burris, and Scholarship Committee Member Salvatore Rea

The Philadelphia Section of the STLE is pleased to award a scholarship to Jamie Benson, a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

Jamie’s doctoral research aims to understand cartilage tribology, in particular, how cartilage responds mechanically, tribologically, and biologically to contact and sliding. Cartilage, a porous hydrated tissue, exudes interstitial fluid, thins, and gets sticky during loading. In the last two years, Jamie’s team discovered that sliding, even under loaded conditions, pumps interstitial water back into the tissue to

reverse the exudation process, rehydrate cartilage, restore thickness, and virtually eliminate friction and wear; in other words, they discovered that joint motion is the engine that supplies nutrients to the cells and maintains its tribological functions. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that exercise is synonymous with joint wear and degradation, ‘tribological rehydration’, as they have termed it,

provides direct mechanistic insights that help explain how regular exercise guards against joint disease.

Given the known link between cartilage hydration and function, ‘tribological rehydration’ must be a critical element of its structure-function relationships. Jamie’s research elucidates these tissue-level relationships in native cartilage using a range of in-situ instrumentation designed to open a window into the unique fluid-solid coupling underlying tribological rehydration. Understanding these tribological mechanisms will not only provide a better understanding of cartilage but guide the development of treatment and prevention measures for joint disease.