About our lab

This page is intended to provide a brief overview of our lab mission, philosophy and general goals.  If you are interested in joining our team, please contact Prof. Kersh with your CV and a brief statement of your research interests and how they intersect with the work of the TBL.


Lab Mission

Our over-arching goal is to characterize the relationship between musculoskeletal tissue structure and function to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying their healthy development and how this changes with injury and disease.  We focus on stabilizing tissues including bone, ligament, and cartilage and use both experimental and computational techniques.

The purpose of our research is to identify diagnostic targets that indicate when tissue might be mechanically compromised and prevent further injury.


Lab Philosophy 

I am invested in your success. I define success as meeting our mission above: to contribute to the general understanding of musculoskeletal disease.  The scope of your contribution will be determined by your role in the lab: masters vs PhDs vs post-docs all will have different expectations. I believe that meeting this goal will lead to you having more choice in your next position.  Why?  Because by performing research that results in this contribution to knowledge, you will obtain and refine technical, interpersonal, organization and management skills that will be useful to you in whatever your chosen career path – in or outside of academia.

I want you to work hard while you are in the lab, but to most importantly to work efficiently. Try to hit the goals that we establish for your career without working more than 40 hours a week (more may be necessary if we are running an intense experiment). Have a life outside the lab, exercise, work on your happiness.

I want us to be a team.  A team that works hard together, and then plays hard.  Research is not easy and often frustrating.  It is also exhilarating and exciting.  I think riding this roller coaster together is much more fun.  My goal is to have  a group that grows and benefits from a diverse, equitable, and inclusive setting where each member can contribute and learn about musculoskeletal biomechanics.  I believe that exchanging ideas, asking questions, and being open to another way of looking at a problem will enhance our contributions.

Mentorship goals

In general, I try to meet with everyone individually each week for 30 mins to an hour to catch up on scientific progress.  Other ways to get feedback from me are during lab group meeting and via email, which I am generally good responding to (unless the issue is not super critical, and I am under the gun getting something else finished).

I will help you edit and prepare grants, posters, and talks. I generally return drafts of papers within 3-7 days (longer if I am in the midst of a grant deadline). Unless I specifically say so, I will want to see everything before it is submitted, no matter how minor (conference abstract, poster, paper, grant, etc) — this helps me maintain quality and helps ensure our success rate.

With regards to feedback: I will be direct with you when I find areas that need improvement. I tend to be pretty clear with my expectations. If you don’t hear from me, it is because I think you are making progress. If I determine that there are performance issues, I will develop a performance improvement plan, and expect weekly and monthly improvements following this rather specific feedback. This is relatively uncommon however. On the other hand, I will tell you when you have done a good job on the big things — for example, we celebrate when a paper or grant is submitted or accepted, someone gets a job, or graduates, etc.