Karen Troy
Gateway Park Room 4007
Affiliated Department or Office
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Clinical Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2003-2006
PhD Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, 2003
BS, Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 1999
BS, Systems Science and Mathematics, Washington University in St. Louis, 1999


The ability of our biological tissues to adapt to their mechanical environment, and the ways in which our tissues are well suited for their own mechanical role within the body, is a constant source of wonder to me. I am interested in understanding the mechanical signals that are experienced within the skeleton during different types of physical activity, understanding what features of these signals stimulate bone to adapt its structure, and in developing noninvasive methods to quantify bone strength. One ongoing project examines biomechanical risk factors for bone stress injury in runners. We use high resolution quantitative computed tomography (CT) to image bone microstructure, and use these images to create computational models that simulate bone mechanical behavior. Another project uses a combination of clinical CT images, mechanical cadaver testing, and computational modeling to measure changes in bone strength in individuals with spinal cord injury who are participating in a clinical trial that targets bone health.

When teaching, I especially enjoy working with groups of students on both physical and computational experiments that explore this link between whole body biomechanics and the physiologic response of our musculoskeletal system. Biomechanics is incredibly relevant to every person’s life, since it dictates how and why we are able to perform certain physical tasks, why we become injured, and how we recover from an injury. In the classroom I try to connect more theoretical concepts to everyday experiences of my students, myself, and my family. At the graduate level, I mentor master’s and doctoral students and enjoy helping them develop into scientists who can ask good questions, communicate clearly, and carry out excellent technical experiments.

Visit Digital WPI to view student projects and research advised by Professor Troy

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being

SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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Scholarly Work

Professor Troy’s work focuses on understanding how forces applied to the musculoskeletal system can influence bone and joint health, function, and injury in adult men and women in health and disease, using a combination of computational modeling, medical image analysis, cadaver mechanical testing, and living human subjects in a clinical research setting.


Troy, K. L., Davis, I. S., & Tenforde, A. S. (2021). A narrative review of metatarsal bone stress injury in athletic populations: etiology, biomechanics, and management. PM&R, 13(11), 1281-1290.

Troy, K. L., Mancuso, M. E., Johnson, J. E., Wu, Z., Schnitzer, T. J., & Butler, T. A. (2020). Bone Adaptation in Adult Women Is Related to Loading Dose: A 12‐Month Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 35(7), 1300-1312.

Mancuso, M. E., & Troy, K. L. (2020). Relating bone strain to local changes in radius microstructure following 12 months of axial forearm loading in women. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 142(11).

Morse, L. R., Biering-Soerensen, F., Carbone, L. D., Cervinka, T., Cirnigliaro, C. M., Johnston, T. E., ... & Craven, B. C. (2019). Bone mineral density testing in spinal cord injury: 2019 ISCD official position. Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 22(4), 554-566.

Johnson, J. E., & Troy, K. L. (2018). Simplified boundary conditions alter cortical-trabecular load sharing at the distal radius; A multiscale finite element analysis. Journal of Biomechanics, 66, 180-185.


“Systems and Methods for Early Detection of Fracture Healing”, PCT International Patent Application No. PCT/US2018/028251 Based in U.S. Provisional Patent Application No.: 62/487,190, filed: April 19, 2018 (issued)


Professional Highlights & Honors
Orthopaedic Research Society Adele Boskey Award, 2023

Sigma Xi Outstanding Senior Faculty Researcher (WPI), 2022

American Society of Biomechanics Founder’s Award, 2021

Biomedical Engineering Teacher of the Year (WPI), 2019

Orthopaedic Research Society New Investigator Recognition Award (NIRA), 2010

American Society of Biomechanics Clinical Biomechanics Award, 2002

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 1999 - 2002


Trail Runner Magazine
Camille Herron’s Advice For Ultra Athletes: Skip the Long Run

When ultramarathoner Camille Herron took to social media saying long runs are overrated, Trailblazer Magazine turned to WPI biomedical engineering professor Karen Troy to get a scientific understanding of how much stress bones can handle due to long distance running.