Sandra Shefelbine

Associate Dean for Space and Special Initiatives,  Office of the Dean
Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Professor,  Bioengineering


Social Media


  • 222 ISEC
  • 617.373.3199


  • 260 ISEC

Research Focus

Multi-scale bone biomechanics–how the structure and composition of bone influences its mechanical properties; mechano-adaptation of bone and joint– how tissue responds to mechanical signals


  • PhD (2002), Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
  • MPhil (1998) Engineering Design, Cambridge University
  • BSE (1997) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Honors & Awards

  • 2020 Fulbright Futures Scholarship, University of Melbourne
  • 2020 American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers Fellow
  • 2011 Imperial College London Rector’s Medal of Excellence in Teaching
  • 2010 Royal Academy of Engineering Exxon Mobil Teaching Award
  • 2010 Faculty of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award
  • 2010 Department of Bioengineering student selected ‘Best Teacher’ Award
  • 2005 RCUK Academic Fellowship
  • 2002 National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship

Teaching Interests

  • Solid mechanics
  • Dynamics
  • Musculoskeletal biomechanics

Research Overview

Multi-scale bone biomechanics–how the structure and composition of bone influences its mechanical properties; mechano-adaptation of bone and joint– how tissue responds to mechanical signals

Shefelbine Lab

Shefelbine Lab conducts the following research:

Musculoskeletal mechanoadaptation: Bones are responsive to load: with increased loading, bone formation occurs, with decreased loading bone resorption occurs. Our research explores the mechano- sensitivity of bone using clinical observations, experimental models, and computational simulations.

Advanced skeletal technologies: Investigation of bone sometimes requires development of new technologies. In collaborations, this lab has developed new technologies to measure or assess musculoskeletal biomechanics.

Multiscale mechanics of bone: Bone is a natural composite material consisting of protein (mainly collagen), mineral (hydroxyapatite), and water. Like many other natural composites bone exhibits a unique combination of mechanical properties, in particular high strength and toughness. This work explores how changes in the bone building blocks at the molecular level influence its hierarchical architecture and how structural features interact across a wide range of length scales.

Shefelbine Lab

Selected Research Projects

Research Centers and Institutes

Selected Publications

  • Meslier QA, Shefelbine SJ (2023) Using Finite Element Modeling in Bone Mechanoadaptation. Curr Osteoporos Rep 21:105–116.
  • Comellas E, Shefelbine SJ (2022) The role of computational models in mechanobiology of growing bone. Front Bioeng Biotechnol 10:973788.
  • Meslier QA, DiMauro N, Somanchi P, Nano S, Shefelbine SJ (2022) Manipulating load-induced fluid flow in vivo to promote bone adaptation. Bone 165:116547.
  • Piet J, Adamo S, Hu D, Baron R, Shefelbine SJ (2022) Marrow aspiration in aged mice: intramedullary osteogenesis, reduced mechano-adaptation, increased marrow fat. Connect Tissue Res 63:97–111.
  • Comellas E, Farkas JE, Kleinberg G, Lloyd K, Mueller T, Duerr TJ, Muñoz JJ, Monaghan JR, Shefelbine SJ (2022) Local mechanical stimuli correlate with tissue growth in axolotl salamander joint morphogenesis. Proc Biol Sci 289:20220621.
  • Kleinberg G, Wang S, Comellas E, Monaghan JR, Shefelbine SJ (2022) Usability of deep learning pipelines for 3D nuclei identification with Stardist and Cellpose. Cells Dev 172:203806.
  • Ben Tahar S, Garnier J, Eller K, DiMauro N, Piet J, Mehta S, Bajpayee AG, Shefelbine SJ (2023) Adolescent obesity incurs adult skeletal deficits in murine induced obesity model. J Orthop Res Off Publ Orthop Res Soc 41:386–395.
  • B.K. Connizzo, J.M. Piet, S.J. Shefelbine, A.J. Grodzinsky Age-Associated Changes in the Response of Tendon Explants to Stress Deprivation is Sex-Dependent, Connective Tissue Research, 61(1), 2020, 48-6
  • R.P. Main, S.J. Shefelbine, L.B. Meakin, M.J. Silva, M.C.H van der Meulen, B.M. Willie, Murine Axial Compression Tibial Loading Model to Study Bone Mechanobiology: Implementing the Model and Reporting Results, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 38, 2020, 233–252
  • B. Depalle, C.M. McGilvery, S. Nobakhti, N. Aldegaither, S.J. Shefelbine, A.E. Porter, Osteopontin Regulates Type I Collagen Fibril Formation In Bone Tissue, Acta Biomaterialia, 2020
  • S.M. Sadeghian, C.L. Lewis, S.J. Shefelbine Predicting Growth Plate Orientation with Altered Hip Loading: Potential Cause of Cam Morphology, Biomech Model Mechanobiol, 19(2), 2020, 701-712
  • V. Kondiboyina, L.B. Raine, A.F. Kramer, N.A. Khan, C.H. Hillman, S.J. Shefelbine, Skeletal Effects of Nine Months of Physical Activity in Obese and Healthy-Weight Children, Medicine and Sci- ence in Sports and Exercise, 52(2), 2020, 434-440
  • A.E. Draghici, J.A. Taylor, M.L. Bouxsein, S.J. Shefelbine Effects of FES-Rowing Exercise on the Time-Dependent Changes in Bone Microarchitecture After Spinal Cord Injury: A Cross-Sectional Inves-tigation, JBMR Plus, 3(9), 2019, e10200
  • J. Piet, D. Hu, Q. Meslier, R. Baron, S.J. Shefelbine Increased Cellular Presence After Sciatic Neurectomy Improves the Bone Mechano-adaptive Response in Aged Mice, Calcified Tissue International, 105(3), 2019, 316–330
Photo of Sandra Shefelbine


Aug 17, 2023

Studying Axolotls to Understand How Limbs Develop and Regrow

MIE/BioE Professor Sandra Shefelbine, in collaboration with Biology Professor James Monaghan, was awarded a $625K NSF grant for “In Vivo Mechanotransduction During Limb Growth” to understand the mechanical signaling involved in limb growth.


Aug 07, 2023

Young Scholars Program for Local High School Students Finishes Strong

High school seniors engage in diverse engineering research during Northeastern’s Young Scholars Program, mentored by COE faculty and students.


Jul 01, 2023

The Art and Science of Bones

Bioengineering Professor Sandra Shefelbine was featured in The Hometown Weekly newspaper in “The Art and Science of Bones.”


Mar 08, 2023

Goldwater Scholar Sets Sights on Medical and Doctoral Degrees

Giona Kleinberg, E’23, majoring in bioengineering and biochemistry with a minor in data science, is an experienced researcher with several publications and a prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship under his belt, all prior to earning his bachelor’s degree. His next goals: a medical degree and a PhD.


Nov 02, 2022

2022 Stanford University Annual Assessment of Author Citations

The following COE professors are among the top scientists worldwide selected by Stanford University representing the top 2 percent of the most-cited scientists with single-year impact in various disciplines. The selection is based on the top 100,000 by c-score (with and without self-citations) or a percentile rank of 2% or above. The list below includes […]

Spotlight Story

Oct 14, 2022

PhD Spotlight: Seyedeh Mahsa Sadeghian, PhD’22 – Mechanical Engineering

Mahsa Sadeghian completed her master’s degree and PhD in mechanical engineering conducting research in the Multiscale Mechanics and Musculoskeletal Mechanobiology Lab advised by Sandra Shefelbine, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, jointly appointed in bioengineering. Her master’s thesis used computational modeling to explore the mechanics of growing bone, focusing on stresses in the growth plate, […]


May 18, 2022

Announcing Summer 2022 PEAK Experiences Awardees

Several engineering students and science students mentored by COE faculty are recipients of Northeastern’s Summer 2022 PEAK Experiences Awards.

Giona Kleinberg


Apr 04, 2022

Kleinberg Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Giona Kleinberg, E’23, bioengineering and biochemistry, received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of the nation’s most prestigious, merit-based awards for undergraduate students who plan to pursue research careers in natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Giona Kleinberg

Spotlight Story

Mar 17, 2022

Pursuing Multiple Passions

When one chooses a career, it makes sense that career should match one’s individual interests. But what if a person has multiple interests and goals, is it possible for one path to include them all? For Giona Kleinberg, E’23, the answer is yes. He believes his combined bioengineering and biochemistry major gives him the freedom […]


Feb 04, 2022

2022 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees

Bioengineering students Amanda Dee, E’23, and Giona Kleinberg, E’23, were nominated for the 2022 Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

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