Joan Sanders

Phone: (206)221-5872
Office: Foege N430J


Lab Website
How I am inventing the future of medicine
My research is focused on creating novel measurement tools so that adaptable prosthetic limbs can be achieved, which ultimately will improve the quality of life of people with limb loss.
Research Interests
Innovative measurement techniques
Research Description
A main area of on-going research is in the tissue engineering of vessel substitutes, heart valves, and vascular plexus. Using novel fiber-based polymer scaffolds, we are able to tissue engineer constructs with well-aligned cellular architectures that show morphologies and mechanical strengths strongly resembling natural tissue. Much focus in on creating elastic fiber architectures within our engineered tissue.

Another area of focus is in the design of fiber-based scaffolds for biomaterial applications. We have created a custom apparatus that allows the manufacture of well-controlled small diameter fibro-porous meshes. In vivo implant studies have shown that fibers below a certain threshold diameter do not become encapsulated. Current efforts are directed towards better understand on a cell biology level why these fibers are not rejected by host tissue.

Applied research on skin adaptation to mechanical stress is a third area of focus. This research has strong application in Rehabilitation Medicine where it is of interest to encourage adaptation so as to avoid skin breakdown or ulceration (wheelchair users, prosthesis users, bedridden patients). We are using a custom explant model system to investigate the bioprocess changes that occur in skin as it is adapting to repetitive mechanical load.

A long-standing area of research for our group is external prosthetics for amputees. Currently, we are pursuing the development of a control system strategy to maintain consistent interface stress distributions despite changes in residual limb shape and volume over time.

PhD Bioengineering – University of Washington 1991
MS Mechanical Engineering – Northwestern University 1985
BS Mechanical Engineering – Stanford University 1983
Postdoc Information
Awards and Honors
From the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists – Thrandhardt Lecture Award (three times), and Academy Research Award
UW Bioengineering Courses Taught
BIOEN 440 – Introduction to Biomechanics
Selected Publications
Sanders JE, Severance MR, and Allyn KJ: Computer-socket manufacturing error: How much before it is clinically apparent? Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, vol. 49(4): 567-582, 2012

Sanders JE, Harrison DS, Allyn KJ, Myers TR, Ciol MA, Tsai EC: How do sock ply changes affect residual limb fluid volume in people with trans-tibial amputation? Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, vol. 49(2):241-256, 2012

Sanders JE and Fatone S: Residual limb volume change: Systematic review of measurement and management. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, vol. 48(8): 949-986, 2011

Karchin A, Simonovsky FI, Ratner BD, and Sanders JE: Melt electrospinning of biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds. Acta Biomaterialia, vol. 7(9), pp. 3277-3284, 2011

Sanders JE, Rogers EL, Sorenson EA, Lee GS, and Abrahamson DC: CAD/CAM transtibial prosthetic sockets from central fabrication facilities: How accurate are they? Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, vol. 44(3), pp. 395-406, 2007

Zachariah SG, Sorenson E, and Sanders JE: A method for aligning trans-tibial residual limb shapes so as to identify regions of shape change. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering vol. 13(4), pp. 551-557, 2005


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