Student Spotlight: Michael Giordano, Ph.D. Candidate in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Author: Mary Hendriksen

Michael graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2007 and chose to continue his education here as a graduate student. He is currently investigating the wear properties of three-dimensionally woven fabrics for use as a novel orthopedic device.

Michael Giordano

He explains: “The current solution for joint pain from cartilage damage is to perform a total joint replacement, a very invasive surgery that requires significant recovery time. With the rise of extreme sports and a very active youth population, it is increasingly common for joint replacement hardware to fail within the lifetime of young patients. Revision joint replacement surgeries are much more demanding on the body; thus, a minimally invasive short-term solution for localized cartilage damage is desirable. One proposed solution is to replace the damaged cartilage with a three-dimensional fabric tailored to mimic the properties of cartilage.”

Michael’s dissertation focuses on determining the effectiveness of abrasion resistance screening methods that span all size levels, from the nano- to the macro-scale. Multiple methods are being investigated with hopes that one will be deemed efficient and accurate in judging the feasibility of potential cartilage replacements.

Michael works closely with a leader in the orthopedic industry, Zimmer, Inc. “This placement gives me access to cutting-edge facilities as well as vital experience and connections in the professional world.”

He has published a chapter titled “Application of Contact Mode AFM to Manufacturing Processes” in the “Scanning Probe Microscopy in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology” series published by Springer-Verlag and has presented his research at the Summer Bioengineering Conference and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrications Engineers’ annual meeting. He currently has two journal papers under peer-review for publication in Tribology Transactions.

Michael says: “Throughout my eight-year stay at Notre Dame, I have made lifelong friendships and bonds not only with friends but also with faculty members — professors who are truly dedicated to their students. The Notre Dame community is more than just a group of students, faculty, and staff; it is a family, of which I am blessed to be a member.”