Today, De Vita, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics at
The PECASE award will enhance her ongoing efforts of the five-year CAREER award.
The PECASE winners will receive their awards at a
Pelvic floor disorders include urinary and/or fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse that occurs when the pelvic organs protrude into, or out of, the vaginal canal.
De Vita is working with several collaborative research partners including the
Her strategy is to determine the elastic and viscoelastic properties of two major ligaments supporting the uterus and the vagina: the uterosacral and the cardinal ligaments. She and her colleagues are characterizing the roles these ligaments play as supportive structures of the uterus and the vagina. Using a specific type of X-ray diffraction imaging, they will then conduct further mechanical testing to learn new details about the microstructure of the ligaments.
"This project could potentially transform surgical reconstruction methods and post-operative rehabilitation procedures for female suffering from pelvic floor disorders," De Vita said. With the new knowledge about the ligaments, De Vita believes they will be able to: establish new guidelines in surgical reconstruction methods and protocols; design biocompatible surgical grafts; and develop safe stretching routines.
"The lack of standardized stretching routines and surgical methods, which are based on scientific rather than empirical evidence, continues to be one of the major problems in the treatment of pelvic floor disorders," De Vita added.
She also hopes to determine the structural and mechanical alterations that occur in human pelvic connective tissues during pregnancy, vaginal delivery, aging, and other pathological conditions including spinal cord injuries leading to pelvic floor disorders.
De Vita serves as the director of
TNS 30TagarumaMar-140108-4593393 30TagarumaMar
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