Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Maureen Lynch

Second Advisor

Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi

Third Advisor

Juan Jiménez

Fourth Advisor

Shelly Peyton

Subject Categories

Bioimaging and Biomedical Optics | Biomechanical Engineering | Biomechanics and Biotransport | Biotechnology | Molecular Biology | Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Engineering


Breast cancer most frequently metastasizes to the skeleton. Bone metastatic cancer is incurable and induces wide-spread bone osteolysis, resulting in significant patient morbidity and mortality. Mechanical stimuli in the skeleton are an important microenvironmental parameter that modulates tumor formation, osteolysis, and tumor cell-bone cell signaling, but which mechanical signals are the most beneficial and the corresponding molecular mechanisms are unknown. This work focused on bone matrix deformation and interstitial fluid flow based on their well-known roles in bone remodeling and in primary breast cancer. The goal of our research was to establish a platform that could define the relationship between applied dynamic mechanical forces and the resulting phenotype in bone metastatic breast cancer cells. To achieve this goal, we employed a high-throughput, multi-modal in vitro mechanical loading bioreactor to apply forces to 3D in vitro bone-mimetic scaffolds, thereby recapitulating the physiological skeletal mechanical environment. We combined this with multi-physics micro-CT-based computational simulation models to estimate the internal mechanical microenvironment during in vitro experimentation.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.