Callan is a mechanical engineer with expertise in polymer mechanics. During her PhD at the University of Michigan, she combined displacement imaging with computational inverse methods to develop better models of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) material behavior, with the goal of using computational models to assess injury risk and develop injury prevention strategies.
As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Callan is pivoting into extracellular matrix biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Soft orthopedic tissues have limited capacity to heal, so when the extracellular matrix is stretched to the point of damage, it can lead to tissue injury and chronic pain. However, the relationship between mechanical strain and matrix damage is not well understood.
Callan hopes that her work could lead to ways to non-invasively detect microdamage in tissues well before a significant injury to help keep people healthy and able to exercise without significant joint pain.