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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Clare Fitzpatrick

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Clare Fitzpatrick

Computational Biosciences Laboratory

Dr. Clare Fitzpatrick and her “pure-bred rescue mutt” Luke enjoy a pleasant day by the Boise River

When Clare Fitzpatrick was a little girl in Ireland, she wasn’t interested in being a princess or a ballerina. Instead, she engaged in taking things apart – all kinds of things – and tried (not always successfully) to put them back together again. This desire to know how things worked clearly foretold her destiny as a mechanical engineer.

As an undergraduate, Fitzpatrick was passionate about her engineering studies, but it wasn’t until she got into her senior capstone project that she found her focus. Assigned to work with a veterinary college, she designed a contour plate for use with canine joints and was excited for the applicability of the work. It was then she realized that biomedical engineering was her future. Committed to the engineering aspect, she loved that she could mesh these skills in a way that had a direct benefit to a living creature. To see the results of her work enhance the quality of life of an animal or person “is better than developing a new aircraft carrier,” she says.

Since joining Boise State in 2016, Dr. Fitzpatrick has dedicated herself to developing an exciting research program. Establishing the Computational Biosciences Laboratory (CBL), she has maintained a team of eight graduate and undergraduate student researchers.

CBL’s current research focuses on two projects. The first looks into a great understanding of musculoskeletal changes in aging adults. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, Fitzpatrick’s team is working with Boise State’s Center for Orthopaedic & Biomechanics Research to install a harness to support gait studies.

In a collaboration with University of Denver, Fitzpatrick’s second project involves development of a neuromuscular model of the lower limbs to study effects of osteoarthritis and total knee replacement in adults.

Future projects include a study of the relationship between biological, structural and mechanical factors in joints and their influence on the initiation and progression of osteoarthritis.

“I love my work at Boise State,” she says. “I love the students I’ve had in my lab who have been producing papers, attending conferences, and providing truly high quality work.

“I also love the professional relationships I have developed here and the opportunity for innovation and creativity with good people who are truly enthusiastic about what they do.”

You can learn more about the CBL at their website:

http://coen.boisestate.edu/cbl/

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