Federico Pozzi, an assistant research professor in the Department of Physical Therapy received an R21 Exploratory Grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. The grant is a two-year project with a budget of up to $275,000.
What is the name of the study and what motivated/inspired you to choose this topic?
The project’s title is “Magnetic resonance biomarkers of muscle degeneration in patients with rotator cuff tears.” The motivation stemmed from biopsy analyses, which have shown how the rotator cuff muscles change after tendon tears. Unfortunately, biopsies are invasive procedures, thus having limited use as a marker in research and clinical applications. In contrast, our project will use innovative non-invasive magnetic resonance methods to study muscle perfusion and energetics in patients with rotator cuff tears. These markers have been used successfully to study muscle changes associated with aging and pathology, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
What are you hoping to find?
The results of the proposed project have the potential to advance the field of quantitative imagining of the rotator cuff. We hope that these markers will help us better understand how rotator cuff muscles change following a tendon tear.
What are the healthcare implications of this study?
Non-invasive quantitative magnetic resonance-derived markers are optimal outcome measures for longitudinal studies. In the future, we hope to use these markers to study the effect of rotator cuff changes on healing potential and prognosis after treatment.
Are you collaborating with anyone?
I am collaborating with Dr. Sean Forbes, who is the other principal investigator with magnetic resonance expertise. Dr. Glenn Walters will be an advisor on the magnetic resonance acquisition protocol. Dr. Scott Banks from the Department of Aerospace Engineering will help us develop a magnetic-resonance compatible dynamometer to test muscle strength in the scanner. Dr. Kevin Farmer from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery will provide access to patients with rotator cuff tears and offer an advisory role in the clinical aspects of the projects.