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College of Arts and Sciences

College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Profile

 Barak, Meir   Name:  Meir Barak 
Title:  Assistant Professor 
Ph.D., Bone Biomechanics, Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)
D.V.M., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
Teaching certificate in Biology (high-school) - Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)
B.Sc., Animal Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
Office:  112 Dalton Hall  
Phone:  803/323-2111 x6433 
Web:  The Bone Biomechanics Lab  
Bone Biology, Bone Biomechanics, Bone Tissue Adaptation in Response to Load, Effects of Aging on Bone Tissue, Finite Element Modeling and 3D Printing of Trabecular Bone Structures, Locomotion
I received my bachelor degree (B.Sc) in animal science and my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from The Hebrew University (Rehovot, Israel). I worked in several small animal clinics (my passion is orthopedics) and then switched to part time and returned to academia. I received my Ph.D. in bone biomechanics and my teaching certificate (biology teacher for high schools) from the Weizmann institute of Science. Next, I moved to the US and started a joint Postdoc position at Harvard University's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology (Cambridge MA) and The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). There I did research on extinct hominins bipedal locomotion (Australopithecines) and its manifestation in the structure of the trabecular bone in the ankle. In 2012, I became a teaching fellow at Harvard University and later I accepted a lecturer position. I taught the labs for “Life Science 2” (anatomy and physiology) and a “Bone Biology & Biomechanics” course. In 2013, I  accepted an Assistant Professor position at Winthrop University and started to teach during Fall semester 2013. At Winthrop I teach “Human Anatomy” (lectures and labs), “The Biology of Bone” (lectures and labs), “Principles of Biology", and "Evolution and Development” (graduate seminar).

I’m in the process of building up and equipping my lab (spring 2014) which will study the structure of bone, bone biomechanics, and bone adaptation to load. I plan to address these topics using several tools: (1) using a testing machine to test whole bones and bone samples in compression and tension, to measure their strength stiffness and toughness, (2) scanning bone samples with a micro-CT scanner (off campus) and creating 3D computer models which will then be tested using Finite element Analysis (FEA) software, and (3) using these 3D computer models to 3D print the samples numerous times, which will allow the testing of each unique structure multiple times from various orientations. These three approaches, combined together, can help us achieve new understanding of bone tissue structure-function relation which in turn can improve our ability to treat various bone injuries and pathologies (e.g. osteoporosis, bone-implant interphase, etc.).
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