Dr. Verbruggen joined Dr. Niamh Nowlan’s research team in the Developmental Biomechanics Lab at Imperial College London. His research there was funded by Arthritis Research UK, and endeavoured to shed light on the biomechanics of the developing fetus during pregnancy.
Stefaan combined a range of computational modelling techniques with sophisticated MRI scans to investigate how the biomechanical environment of the womb affects the development of the skeleton, and of musculoskeletal diseases in later life. Interestingly, the strength of a fetal kick, and the resulting stress on the fetal skeleton, were found to increase with gestational time. Dr. Verbruggen’s research also demonstrated that this stress stimulation may be linked to developmental joint conditions, such as hip dysplasia.
For more details on the interesting research in the Nowlan Group, please visit the research pages at nowlangroup.org/.