Faculty Profile

Mariana Elizabeth Kersh

Mechanical Science and Engineering
Mariana Elizabeth Kersh
Mariana Elizabeth Kersh
Assistant Professor
126 Mechanical Engineering Bldg
1206 W. Green
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 300-0495


  • PhD Materials Science, University of Wisconsin, 2010
  • MS Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008
  • BA Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005
  • BA English, University of Texas - Austin, 1999


Dr. Mariana Kersh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is Director of the Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory. Previously, she was a post-doctoral 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. Her research focuses on the use of experimental methods to evaluate macro-level mechanical and structural properties of bone, cartilage, and connective tissues, such as ligaments, in order to include them into finite element simulations of these tissues under physiological loads. She first received a Bachelor of Arts in English at The University of Texas-Austin, then went on to receive a Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering, and PhD in Materials Science Engineering at The University of Wisconsin ￿ Madison as a National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow.

Academic Positions

  • Affiliate Faculty, University of Illinois, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, 2014 - present (0%)
  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, 2014 - present (100%)
  • Postdoctoral McKenzie Fellow, University of Melbourne, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2010-2014

For more information

Research Interests

  • Mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissues, joint movement, imaging, structure-function relationships Bone and joint diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis significantly impact the quality of life of those afflicted, and impose a personal and societal financial burden. Relating the structural and mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissues to their function can help increase our understanding and therefore the treatment of bone and joint diseases. We explore the structure and organization of biological materials using clinical-level medical images. By doing so, we can link architecture to functional outcomes ￿ such as survivability and strength derived from novel experimental techniques. We also use the finite-element method to answer those questions that are difficult to do so experimentally.

Research Areas

  • Computation and Applied Math
  • Health and Bio
  • Solid Mechanics

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Rahman, H. and M.E. Kersh, "The effect of cross-sectional area variation on ligament apparent properties," Orthopedic Research Society, 2017.
  • Lee, W., H. Rahman, M.E. Kersh, and K. Toussaint, "Crimp characterization of porcine posterior cruciate ligament by second harmonic generation," Orthopedic Research Society, 2017.
  • Warden, S., J. Carballido-Gamio, J. Keyak, A. Weatherholt, D. Shah, T. Lang, and M.E. Kersh, "Influence of Physical Activity on Proximal Femoral Bone Density Distribution," Structural Patterns and Estimated Strength: A Within-Subject Controlled Study. American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, 2016.
  • Jesper, J.S., C.M. Andreasen, L.P. Bakalova, A-M Br￿.M. Hauge, G.E. Toft Eschen, B.J. Kill, J-M Delaisse, M.E. Kersh, and T.L. Andersen, "The radial distribution of the intracortical porosity within the fibula diaphysis," American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, 2016.
  • Polk, J.D., M.C. Fox, and M.E. Kersh, "Which bone properties provide the best indicators of habitual posture?" American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 159: 254, 2016.

Professional Societies

  • 2014 - present: American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, member
  • 2015 - present: American Society of Biomechanics, member
  • 2015 - present: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, member

Research Honors

  • Alice L. Jee Young Investigator Award, Orthopedic Research Society (2017)
  • Plenary Poster, American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting (2014)
  • Early Career Researcher Award, Australia-New Zealand Orthopedic Research Society (2013)
  • Post-doctoral Research Competition, Australia-New Zealand Orthopedic Research Society (2nd prize co-author) (2012)
  • University of Melbourne McKenzie Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship (3 year fellowship, 1 of 12 university/discipline wide, single recipient in engineering, 6% success rate) (2010)
  • National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Graduate Research Fellowship (3 year fellowship) (2007)
  • University of Wisconsin Graduate Engineering Research Scholar Fellowship (2 year fellowship) (2005 )