Director, Biomechanics Laboratory
Michael Bottlang, PhD, is the Director of the Biomechanics Laboratory at the Legacy Research Institute. Its mission is to design, test and evaluate new treatment modalities that will advance the quality of patient care and outcomes. Biomechanical engineering provides a key link between the knowledge base of expert scientists and clinicians, and the development of new products by industry.
Dr. Bottlang received his PhD in Biomechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa and came to Legacy in 1999 to develop the Biomechanics Lab. He has established a cutting-edge program with three major areas of operational focus: basic research, applied research and industry collaboration.
One aspect of Dr. Bottlang's research focus has been to establish a close collaboration with Legacy orthopedic and trauma surgeons to develop a device to stabilize pelvic fractures following traumatic crushing injuries. Currently, there is no effective and reliable means to treat pelvic fractures in the field or during transportation to a hospital. Dr. Bottlang, orthopedic surgeon Steven Madey, MD, and their team of researchers investigated optimal parameters and designed a device for emergent pelvic fractures. Their patented Pelvic Sling can be applied quickly and effectively to a patient's hips to stabilize the pelvis and decrease blood loss. After two years of development and testing in the Biomechanics Lab funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the device was successfully tested in prospective clinical trials on trauma patients at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Oregon Health Sciences University. In May 2003, the Pelvic Sling was licensed to the Seaburg Company of Newport, Oregon, who are manufacturing and marketing the device.
Another major area of research is developing and testing a new in vitro model of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Bottlang has received a grant from the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to fully develop the prototype model. Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability, with injury to the central nervous system occuring from complex cascades of events that are triggered at the moment of injury and lead to progressive brain cell death. However, there is a distinct lack of understanding of the dynamics between the mechanical aspects of the injury and the subsequent biological events.
This study is a collaborative effort between biomechanical engineers and neurobiologists, utilizing the specialized knowledge and expertise of both sciences to solve this confounding problem. Dr. Zhigang Xiong of the Dow Neurobiology Lab is a collaborating scientist on the study, which will last for three years. Using three-dimensional brain cell matrices, engineers will provide the expertise to establish a highly controlled and reproducible experimental environment to simulate the shear forces exerted during trauma events, and neurobiologists will study the cell death process and develop strategies for intervention.
The Biomechanics Laboratory is also active in collaborative research and testing with leading medical device manufacturers in the US and Europe. Dr. Bottlang's industry collaboration has yielded several patents and focuses on the systematic improvement of orthopedic implants for fracture stabilization and joint replacement.
In addition to research activities, Dr. Bottlang's lab has a strong education mission as well, providing training to engineering students from Portland State University and select European universities. As Assistant Professor at OHSU, Dr. Bottlang provides training for orthopedic surgery residents in an interdisciplinary research environment.