Mariana Kersh's directory photo.

Mariana Kersh


Associate Professor

Primary Affiliation

Computational Imaging


Status Full-time Faculty

Home Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering

Phone 300-0495


Address 4043 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Dr. Mariana Kersh is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. She also directs the Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory, which is housed in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. In February 2021, Kersh was named a Carle Illinois Health innovation professor by the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, under a university-wide McKenzie fellowship in which she was the sole recipient in the College of Engineering. 


    • B.A., English, University of Texas - Austin, 1999
    • B.A., mechanical engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005
    • M.S., mechanical engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008
    • Ph.D., materials science, University of Wisconsin, 2010
  • Honors
    • 2019: Arnold O. Beckman Award, UIUC Campus Research Board 
    • 2018: Investigator Award Finalist, Orthopedic Research Society 
    • 2017: Spotlight New Investigator, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 
    • 2017: Alice L. Jee Young Investigator Award, Sun Valley Musculoskeletal Biology Workshop
    • 2015: University of Illinois Undergraduate Symposium Finalist (faculty mentor) 
    • 2014: Plenary Poster, American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting 
    • 2013: Early Career Researcher Award, Australia-New Zealand Orthopedic Research Society 
    • 2012: Post-doctoral Research Competition, Australia-New Zealand Orthopedic Research Society (2nd prize co-author) 
  • Research

    Research interests:

    • Mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissues

    • joint movement

    • imaging

    • structure-function relationships

    Research areas:

    • Computation and Applied Math

    • Health and Bio

    • Solid Mechanics and Materials

    Dr. Kersh is characterizing the mechanical and structural properties of bone, ligament, and connective tissues. She aims to investigate how these properties change during growth, aging, and in the presence of disease. In addition to investigating the mechanics of musculoskeletal tissues, experimental data is used in finite element simulations under physiological loads to evaluate intervention techniques. 

    Her current research includes an investigation into the prevention and risk assessment of bone fatigue fractures in both human and equine athletes. Additionally, she is interested in understanding what causes significant variations in tendon and ligament mechanical properties and the implications they have on joint function. Her lab has developed synthetic fiber-based materials that can be tuned to mimic the biomechanical response of ligamentous tissues. Key to this process has been an understanding of the multi-scale interaction of architected synthetic fibers. 

  • 2021

    • Gleason, HE, Phillips, H, McCoy, AM, Gutierrez-Nibeyro, SD, McKiernan, BC, Duffy, DJ, Feign, IM, Kim, WJ & Kersh, ME 2021, 'Biomechanical properties of canine staphylectomies closed with barbed or smooth suture', Veterinary Surgery, 50(1), pp. 196-206. DOI: 10.1111/vsu.13544
    • Pineda Guzman RA, Kersh ME. 2021, ‘Replication of the tensile behavior of knee ligaments using architected acrylic yarn.’ Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 118, 104339. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2021.104339
    • Yan C, Song H, Pfister J, Andersen TL, Warden S, Bhargava R, Kersh ME. 2021, ‘Effect of fatigue loading and rest on impact strength of rat ulna’. Journal of Biomechanics, 123, 110449. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2021.110449


    • Ang, IC, Fox, M, Polk, JD & Kersh, ME 2020, 'An Algorithm for Automated Separation of Trabecular Bone from Variably Thick Cortices in High-Resolution Computed Tomography Data', IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 67, no. 3, 8743421, pp. 924-930. DOI: 10.1109/TBME.2019.2924398
    • Kersh, ME 2020, 'Resolving nanoscale strains in whole joints', Nature Biomedical Engineering, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 257-258. DOI: 10.1038/s41551-020-0531-z
    • Moshage, SG, McCoy, AM, Polk, JD & Kersh, ME 2020, 'Temporal and spatial changes in bone accrual, density, and strain energy density in growing foals', Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, vol. 103, 103568. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.103568
    • Yan, C, Moshage, SG & Kersh, ME 2020, 'Play During Growth: the Effect of Sports on Bone Adaptation', Current Osteoporosis Reports. DOI: 10.1007/s11914-020-00632-0


    • Song, H, Polk, JD & Kersh, ME 2019, 'Rat bone properties and their relationship to gait during growth', Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 222, no. 18, jeb203554. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.203554


    • Bakalova, LP, Andreasen, CM, Thomsen, JS, Brüel, A, Hauge, EM, Kiil, BJ, Delaisse, JM, Andersen, TL & Kersh, ME 2018, 'Intracortical Bone Mechanics Are Related to Pore Morphology and Remodeling in Human Bone', Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, vol. 33, no. 12, pp. 2177-2185. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3561
    • Kersh, ME, Martelli, S, Zebaze, R, Seeman, E & Pandy, MG 2018, 'Mechanical Loading of the Femoral Neck in Human Locomotion', Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, vol. 33, no. 11, pp. 1999-2006. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3529
    • Sartawi, M, Rahman, H, Kohlmann, J, Leighton, R & Kersh, ME 2018, 'A Retrospective Analysis of the Modified Intervastus Approach', American journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.), vol. 47, no. 12. DOI: 10.12788/ajo.2018.0106


    • Rahman, H, Currier, E, Johnson, M, Goding, R, Johnson, AW & Kersh, ME 2017, 'Primary and Secondary Consequences of Rotator Cuff Injury on Joint Stabilizing Tissues in the Shoulder', Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, vol. 139, no. 11, 110801. DOI: 10.1115/1.4037917


    • Fox, MC; Carlson, KJ; Ryan, T; Kersh, ME; Polk, JD; Reconstructing knee posture in humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas: subchondral and trabecular signals. Am J Physical Anthropology, 2016, 159, 146-146.
    • Polk, JD; Fox, MC; Kersh, ME; Which bone properties provide the best indicators of habitual posture? Am J Physical Anthropology, 2016, 159, 254-254.
    • Robinson, DL; Kersh, ME; Walsh, NC; Ackland, DC; de Steiger, RN; Mechanical properties of normal and osteoarthritic human articular cartilage. J of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 2016, 61, 96-109.


    • Kersh, ME; Ploeg, HL; Pandy, MG; The dependence of knee joint stability on the cruciate and collateral ligaments. Movement & Sport Sciences, 2015, 37-54.
    • Martelli, S; Kersh, ME; Pandy, MG; Sensitivity of femoral strain calculations to anatomical scaling errors in musculoskeletal models of movement. J Biomechanics, 2015, 48(13), 3606-3615.
    • Zendeli, A; Kersh, ME; Bala, Y; Ghasem-Zadeh, A; Seeman, E; Zebaze, R; The dominant role of small pores on estimated matrix stress. Osteoporosis International, 2015, 26, S285-S286.


    • . Warden, SJ; Roosa, SMM; Kersh, ME; Hurd, AL; Fleisig, GS; Pandy, MG; .. Physical activity when young provides lifelong benefits to cortical bone size and strength in men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014, 111(14), 5337-5342.
    • Larsson, D; Luisier, B; Kersh, ME; Dall’Ara, E; Zysset, PK; Pandy, MG; … Assessment of transverse isotropy in clinical-level CT images of trabecular bone using the gradient structure tensor. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 2014, 42(5), 950-959.
    • Martelli, S; Kersh, ME; Schache, AG; Pandy, MG; Strain energy in the femoral neck during exercise. J Biomechanics, 2014, 47(8), 1784-1791.
    • Zendeli, A; Bala, Y; Kersh, M; Ghasem-Zadeh, A; Seeman, E; Zebaze, R; Accurate quantification of bone fragility requires inclusion of pores of all sizes. J Bone and Mineral Research, 2014, 29, S56- S57.
    • Zendeli, A; Bala, Y; Kersh, M; Ghasem-Zadeh, A; Seeman, E; Zebaze, R; Quantification of the heterogeneity of cortical porosity and the effect on strength. Osteoporosis International, 2014, 25, 575-576.


    • Kersh, ME; Pandy, MG; Bui, QM; Jones, AC; Arns, MA; .. The heterogeneity in femoral neck structure and strength. J Bone and Mineral Research, 2013, 28 (5), 1022-1028.
    • Kersh, ME; Zysset, PK; Pahr, DH; Wolfram, U; Larsson, D; Pandy, MG; Measurement of structural anisotropy in femoral trabecular bone using clinical-resolution CT images. J Biomechanics, 2013, 46(15), 2659-2666.
    • Martelli, S.; Pivonka, P.; Kersh, M.; Ebeling, P.; Pandy, M., Atypical femoral fractures are associated with high cyclic tensile strain regions during walking. J Bone and Mineral Research, 2013, 28.