Sandra Shefelbine

Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Professor,  Bioengineering


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  • 222 ISEC
  • 617.373.3199


  • 260 ISEC

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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

Honors & Awards

  • 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

College Research Initiatives

Selected Publications

  • R.B. Woodward, S.J. Shefelbine, R. Vaidyanathan, Pervasive Monitoring of Motion and Muscle Activation: Inertial and Mechanomyography Fusion, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 22(5), 2017, 2022-2033
  • R. DeSouza, B. Javaheri, R.S. Collinson, C. Chenu, S.J. Shefelbine, P.D. Lee, A.A. Pitsillides, Prolonging Disuse in Aged Mice Amplifies Cortical but not Trabecular Bones’ Response to Mechanical Loading, Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interactions, 17(3), 2017, 218-225
  • K.P. Chadwick, S.J. Shefelbine, Pitsillides, J.R. Hutchinson, Finite-Element Modelling of Mechanobiological Factors Influencing Sesamoid Tissue Morphology in the Patellar Tendon of an Ostrich, Royal Society Open Science, 4(6), 2017, 170133
  • P. Yadav, S.J. Shefelbine, E. Pontén, E.M. Gutierrez-Farewik, Influence of Muscle Groups’ Activation on Proximal Femoral Growth Tendency, Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 2017
  • A.E. Draghici, D. Potart, J.L. Hollmann,V. Pera, Q. Fang, C.A. DiMarzio, J.A.Taylor, M.J. Niedre, S.J. Shefelbine, Near Infrared Spectroscopy for Measuring Changes in Bone Hemoglobin Content after Exercise in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury, Journal of Orthopaedic Research: Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society, 36(1), 2017, 183-191
  • A.E. Draghici, G. Picard, J.A. Taylor S.J. Shefelbine, Assessing Kinematics and Kinetics of Functional Electrical Stimulation Rowing, Journal of Biomechanics, 53, 2017, 120-126
  • M. Nguyen, P. Singhal, J.W. Piet, S.J. Shefelbine, M. Maden, S.R. Voss, J. R. Monaghan, Retinoic Acid Receptor Regulation of Epimorphic and Homeostatic Regeneration in the Axolotl, Development (Cambridge, England), 144(4), 2017, 601-611


Sep 10, 2020

Faculty and Staff Awards 2020

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2019-2020 academic school year.

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May 20, 2020

Shefelbine Awarded Fulbright to Study Skeletal Mechanobiology

MIE/BioE Professor Sandra Shefelbine was awarded a Fulbright Futures Scholarship to the University of Melbourne to work on skeletal mechanobiology, particularly understanding how mechanical forces influence bone development.

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May 20, 2020

Optimizing Mechanical Loading in Bone Formation

MIE/BioE Professor Sandra Shefelbine and COS Associate Professor James Monaghan were awarded a $650K NSF grant for “Manipulating Fluid Flow in Mechanoadaptation of Bone.”

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Mar 26, 2020

Shefelbine Selected as AIMBE Fellow

MIE/BioE Professor Sandra Shefelbine was selected as an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow in recognition of “her distinguished and continuing achievements in medical and biological engineering”.


Nov 15, 2018

Dream Co-op to Full Time Job

“I’m using my undergrad experience and my graduate experience that I built upon for my professional experience,” said Vineel Kondiboyina, MS, Bioengineering 2018. For many students, it is a dream to co-op with a company, end up loving the experience, and later ending up working for that company full time. For Vineel Kondiboyina, that is […]

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Jul 27, 2017

Shefelbine Awarded $650K NSF Grant

MIE/BioE Associate Professor Sandra Shefelbine awarded $650K NSF "Mechanobiology of Joint Morphogenesis: Manipulating Salamander Limbs" grant to study joint development by examining the regenerating limbs of salamanders.


Feb 01, 2017

Ambika Bajpayee receives Department of Defense Discovery Award

BioE Assistant Professor Ambika Bajpayee (PI) and MIE/BioE Associate Professor Sandra Shefelbine (Collaborator) awarded a $310K DOD Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program Discovery Award

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Aug 16, 2016

Different Loads on Bones Can Cause them to Break

Using the injury of French gymnast Samir Ait Said during the Olympics, MIE associate professor Sandra Shefelbine explains how bones can break when different loads are placed on them.


Sep 24, 2015

Research Fair a Big Success

The COE Undergraduate Research Lab fair gathered hundreds of students eager to learn about the research opportunities available to them.

Aug 10, 2015

Understanding Toughness

MIE Associate Professor Sandra Shefelbine, Assistant Professor Randal Erb & Physics Professor Alain Karma received a $445K NSF grant to determine the toughness of a material and try to recreate it with synthetic components.

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