Human tissue is one of the most interesting and complex materials that an engineer can study. Though much is not known about the human body and its organs and tissues, some things we know: every component in tissue, every architectural nuance in its geometry, every quirk in its mechanical or electrical behavior, all are integrated together to provide a systemic response that is perfectly suited for the development of life. As engineers, it is our treat to examine the body and its constituents, to learn about the system and its parts and why they respond as they do. Using this knowledge, we can develop artificial organs and tissues when the natural analogs break down; we can assist the medical profession in creating and optimizing treatments for pathologies that affect the body; and using our discoveries of the body, we can invent new machines and technology that we only dream about today.
The Soft Tissues Mechanics Laboratory (STML) at the University of Michigan is a conglomeration of laboratories that studies the soft tissues of the human body, such as skin and heart. It is our goal to build on the current understanding of the mechanics of these tissues through experimentation and modeling. At this time, we are particularly interested in measuring the constitutive behavior of soft tissues and in developing a better constitutive model that relates the complex structure of the tissue to its mechanical response.