Legacy Research Institute

Transforming medical care through science, technology, and innovation.

Michael Bottlang, PhD

Michael Bottlang, Ph.D.

Director, Legacy Biomechanics Laboratory 


Peer Reviewed Publications
Legacy Biomechanics Laboratory

Short Bio:

Dr. Bottlang received his PhD in Biomechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa. He came to Legacy in 1999 to start the Legacy Biomechanics Laboratory. He has established a cutting-edge program that conducts basic research, applied research and industry collaboration.

In basic research, his program has identified overly rigid fixation of bone fractures as a major cause of healing suppression. As a consequence, his team has initiated a line of research aimed at supporting natural bone healing by less rigid fixation hardware.

In applied research, as a collaboratiion with orthopedic surgeons, he developed a “pelvic sling” that stabilizes fractures of the pelvis to minimize internal bleeding and resulting mortality. Today, his patented device is the standard of care for pelvic fracture stabilization in over 40 countries.

For industry collaboration, his team has partnered with a leading implant manufacturer a novel plating system for severe chest wall injuries. Today, this “Matrix Rib” system is used in thousands of patients per year around the world, and reduces mortality and long-term morbidity associated with crushed chest walls.

In addition to advancing the treatment of orthopedic trauma, Dr. Bottlang’s team maintains a research program to improve prevention of traumatic brain injury. As part of this program, the Legacy Biomechanics Laboratory maintains a state-of-the-art Helmet Impact Testing (HIT) facility to measure the effectiveness of bicycle helmets.

Publication Highlights:

Dynamic Stabilization of Simple Fractures With Active Plates Delivers Stronger Healing Than Conventional Compression Plating.
Bottlang M, Tsai S, Bliven EK, von Rechenberg B, Kindt P, Augat P, Henschel J, Fitzpatrick DC, Madey SM. J Orthop Trauma. 2017 Feb;31(2):71-77.

Dynamic Stabilization with Active Locking Plates Delivers Faster, Stronger, and More Symmetric Fracture-Healing.
Bottlang M, Tsai S, Bliven EK, von Rechenberg B, Klein K, Augat P, Henschel J, Fitzpatrick DC, Madey SM.  J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016 Mar 16;98(6):466-74.

Angular Impact Mitigation system for bicycle helmets to reduce head acceleration and risk of traumatic brain injury.
Hansen K, Dau N, Feist F, Deck C, Willinger R, Madey SM, Bottlang M  Accident; analysis and prevention 2013;59:109-17.

Surgical stabilization of flail chest injuries with MatrixRIB implants: a prospective observational study.
Bottlang M, Long WB, Phelan D, Fielder D, Madey SM. Injury 2013;44:232-8.

Research Interests:

  • Bone fracture treatment
  • Prevention of traumatic brain injury
  • Mechano-active tissue engineering

Research Focus:

Bone Fracture Treatment: Dr. Bottlang has received the first NIH grant to investigate if overly stiff plates for bone fracture fixation can suppress the natural bone healing process. His findings that the high stiffness of modern fracture fixation plates can indeed suppress and delay healing has sparked international efforts to developed novel implants and treatment strategies that allow less rigid fixation of bone fractures in order to better support the natural fracture healing process.

Prevention of Traumatic Brain Injury: Helmets protect the rigid skull from fracture during an impact. However, brain tissue is soft, and is readily injured by rapid spinning, or “rotational acceleration”, even in absence of a direct hit to the head. Contemporary bicycle helmets are designed to protect the skull from breaking, but they have no mechanism to dampen rotational acceleration. Dr. Bottlang has received continued NIH funding to research, develop and bring to market a revolutionary helmet technology that protects the skull and the brain by providing a unique rotational suspension system. This novel helmet generation is likely to reduce the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury.

Mechano-active Tissue Engineering: Tissue engineering seeks to generate functional tissues under laboratory conditions that can be used to replace degenerated tissues in humans. Engineering of articular cartilage is of foremost interest, since this strategy could reduce the need for total joint replacements. The bottleneck in articular tissue engineering remains the requirement that tissue need to be exposed to controlled loading, or “exercising”, in order to develop a functional structure. Dr. Bottlang has developed the first bioreactor that allows culturing of tissues in an incubator under controlled loading conditions. His bioreactor is currently used by leading researchers specialized in tissues engineering at Columbia University and at the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to research activities, Dr. Bottlang's laboratory has a strong education mission as well, providing training to engineering students from US and European universities.