Nicole graduated in December 2012 with her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. Through Kettering’s co-operative education program, she worked as a research assistant in the Bone and Joint Center of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Her three years at Henry Fort culminated in an undergraduate thesis on the dynamic in-vivo joint motion of the cervical spine following fusion and arthroplasty.
Nicole joined the Puttlitz group at Colorado State University as a bioengineering doctoral student in 2013 to continue to pursue spinal biomechanics research. Her dissertation work is focused on characterizing the mechanical properties of the tissues that make up the spinal cord meningeal complex. This has included modeling the accumulation of sub-failure damage in the dura mater, determining the non-linear viscoelastic properties of the spinal cord with and without the pia mater, and relating ex-vivo and in-vivo spinal cord mechanics. The end goal of the research is to quantify the effects of geometric and constitutive model simplifications on finite element predictions of internal spinal cord stress and strain during traumatic loading scenarios.
When not conducting experimental work or performing computational analyses, Nicole enjoys watching college sports and going to any of the local Fort Collins breweries.