Functional Assessment

The overall long term goal of the Functional Assessment Core is to bring together the animal and organ level phenotyping resources currently used within individual laboratories and departmental cores at the University of Michigan into a cohesive and easily accessible Core service that can be used by the entire musculoskeletal research community. This core will provide access to state of the art whole animal phenotyping, muscle function and mechanical testing from fibers to whole muscles in situ, tendon and ligament mechanical testing, whole bone mechanical testing, and tissue-level bone mechanical testing. This core will enable center investigators to establish the functional context of animal models to targeted genetic or pharmacological perturbations. Further, the broad technology base and solid communication plan and expert guidance will allow center investigators to expand on their tissue of interest to also include assays on adjacent tissues to test for effects across tissues.

Contact: Contact Dan Michele, PhD (whole animal testing, micro-surgery models), Ken Kozloff, PhD (bone testing, machining, fracture healing/surgical models), Ellen Arruda, PhD (tendon testing), or Susan Brooks, PhD (muscle mechanics) when beginning a project. Contact either Dr. Michele or Dr. Kozloff if you are uncertain about who to contact. They will provide guidance on experimental design and the appropriate Faculty and/or Core expert to contact next.

Existing Core Websites:

Physiology Phenotyping Core:

Core Leadership

Services Offered and Prices

The supported services will use the NIH P30 support to offset the staffing costs for the services below. The maximum amount of NIH P30 support available to each investigator may be capped, and therefore the number of recharged procedures that will be available at the discounted rate may be limited. Please contact the appropriate faculty expert for an estimate of the amount of P30 discount that you will be able to apply to your study. “Fees” include supplies and equipment maintenance and are charged either per sample, per experiment, or per hour as indicated. All rates are rounded to the nearest dollar.


Contact: Daniel Michele, PhD (


Contact: Daniel Michele, PhD (

**Additional animal phenotyping services are available through the Physiology Phenotyping Core but are not receiving support from the P30. Please see the PPC website for the list of available services and contact Dr. Michele if you have any questions (



Susan Brooks, PhD (

Dennis Claflin, PhD (


Contact: Ellen Arruda, PhD (

Support for the mechanical testing of soft tissues like tendon, ligament, and cartilage can be conducted by contacting Dr. Arruda directly.

Dr. Arruda’s laboratory includes a three split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) apparatus built in-house for high strain rate compression and tension testing of soft tissues including cartilage, ligament and tendon. Testing combined with digital image correlation has been used recently to examine the biomechanics of native anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), native patellar tendon (PT), and two types of ACL replacement grafts: patellar tendon grafts (PTG) and tissue engineered bone-ligament-bone (BLB) grafts. Dr.Arruda’s laboratory also designed and built a novel custom device for testing compliant materials consisting of a high-speed electric linear actuator (SMAC, Carlsbad, CA; positional accuracy: ± 0.001 mm, max speed: 1000 mm/s), a dynamic force sensor (Dytran Instruments, Chatsworth, CA), a high-speed video camera (Photron USA, San Diego, CA; max frame rate of 5,400 frames per second) for digital image correlation analysis, a transparent water bath, and a PC-based data acquisition system.


Contact: Ken Kozloff, PhD (

Support for the mechanical testing of bone tissues can be conducted by contacting Dr. Kozloff. Resources focus on rodent biomechanical testing and tests are typically performed in tandem with samples that have been imaged by microCT or nanoCT (Core 2) to provide a fully comprehensive functional phenotype. We encourage users to consider both CT imaging and biomechanical testing on the same samples.

Hourly support for staff is provided directly by the P30, and standard biomechanical testing services are provided free of charge. Standard fixturing for test protocols are available for routine testing, however if custom holders are required, users will be asked to contribute to fabrication or purchasing costs. Nanoindentation is permitted for trained users following discussion with the core directors.


Contact: Ken Kozloff, PhD (

In collaboration with the Structural and Compositional Assessment Core, we support in vivo microCT imaging on a Bruker/Skyscan 1176 system. In vivo imaging may be useful for longitudinal assessment of skeletal changes in the same animal to monitor growth, healing, or other adaptations. Cost structure for users is as follows:


Contact: Ken Kozloff, PhD (

A fully operational small animal surgical suite is housed within the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories and located within the BSRB animal housing unit. The role of this facility will be to provide services to P30 members seeking metabolic challenge to the skeleton, specifically in the form of bone repair. Surgical models include mouse tibial fracture, drill hole defects, and rat critical defect models. Please contact Dr. Kozloff for support of surgical models.


Contact: Ken Kozloff, PhD (

The P30 can help provide support for custom machining and fabrication on a limited basis. Please contact Dr. Kozloff with questions related to project needs you may have in this area.

Referencing Core services in manuscripts

When referencing the use of the MiMHC Core services in your manuscripts, please use the following text:

"Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P30 AR069620. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.”