René van Donkelaar is Associate Professor in Cartilage Mechanics at the department of Biomedical Engineering (research group Orthopaedic Biomechanics). In his research he approaches cartilage from a mechanical point of view. Using fundamental insights on the mechanical behavior of cartilage, he established a well-recognized computational model of cartilage mechanics. The main asset of this model is that it directly links biochemical contents (distributions of proteoglycans and collagen) and structural features (collagen fiber orientation), to mechanical properties. Van Donkelaar has now shifted his focus from fundamental to applied cartilage research in two main research areas. First, he aims to develop improved loading protocols for cartilage tissue engineering. Second, he aims to understand how adverse mechanical loading leads to progression of osteoarthritis, ultimately leading to the development of diagnostic tools. All topics are studied by means of experimental work using cell cultures and explant systems, in conjunction with numerical modeling using the aforementioned cartilage mechanics model. The latter is being adapted such that cartilage growth and developmental as well as cartilage degeneration can be computed and predicted.
To me, science is chasing the moment you finally understand how many findings fit together. I wish everybody a few of such Eureca-moments in their carreer.
René van Donkelaar studied Human Health Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) where he obtained his MSc in 1994. Subsequently, he was a PhD student at the Department of Movement Sciences of Maastricht University (UM, The Netherlands) under supervision of professors Maarten Drost (UM), Harm Kuipers (UM), and Jan Janssen (Eindhoven Unversity of Technology, TU/e, The Netherlands). He obtained his PhD in 1999 with his thesis 'Skeletal muscle mechanics, a numerical and experimental approach to spatial phenomena'. Since 1998, Van Donkelaar has been appointed at the TU/e Biomedical Engineering Department, where he was one of the first faculty members. He has worked at the groups of professors Frank Baaijens and Rik Huiskes, and since 2010 he was Associate Professor in Cartilage Mechanics at professor Keita Ito's group for Orthopaedic Biomechanics. Since July 2017 he is appointed Program Director of the Bachelor program and graduate school Biomedical Engineering. The latter includes Masters Biomedical Engineering and Medical Engineering. In this position, he is closely involved in the redesign of TU/e’s Bachelor College. Associated with that he runs the redesign of the departmental Bachelor program. The objective is to create a more coherent and enthusing program with more hands-on learning and CBL-oriented education, and significant attention to student personal and professional development, while keeping the theoretical content of the program at the highest level. He addresses this challenging and important task together with a motivated team of co-workers in the department.
Towards a load bearing hydrogel: A proof of principle in the use of osmotic pressure for biomimetic cartilage constructsJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials (2023)
Enzymatic Isolation of Articular ChondronsTissue Engineering. Part C: Methods (2023)
Characterization of intra-tissue strain fields in articular cartilage explants during post-loading recovery using high frequency ultrasoundJournal of Biomechanics (2022)
Surface texture analysis of different focal knee resurfacing implants after 6 and 12 months in vivo in a goat modelJournal of Orthopaedic Research (2022)
Creating a Functional Biomimetic Cartilage Implant Using Hydrogels Based on Methacrylated Chondroitin Sulfate and Hyaluronic AcidGels (2022)
Current Educational Activities
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