Ph.D., UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, Bioengineering
B.S., UC Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering
As a bioengineer, Dr. Keyak applies the principles of engineering to improve the understanding and treatment of problems in bone. Her research currently focuses on:
• Development of radioactive bone cement for treatment of tumors in bone
• Bone strength assessment and treatment for osteoporosis and metastatic bone disease
Development of Radioactive Bone Cement for Treatment of Tumors in Bone
Dr. Keyak is developing a new method for treating metastatic tumors in the spine. This technique combines vertebroplasty with brachytherapy to provide a single procedure for alleviating pain and strengthening the bone while simultaneously delivering radiation the tumor. In addition to convenience for the patient, significant advantages are that the spinal cord would receive little or no radiation and that adverse side effects would be minimal. Dr. Keyak is actively performing research at UCI in preparation for FDA approval of clinical trials and has also co-founded a company, Bone-Rad Therapeutics, Inc. (http://www.bone-rad.com), to bring this treatment to market.
Bone Strength Assessment and Treatment for Osteoporosis and Metastatic Bone Disease
This research focuses on cutting-edge techniques for evaluating bone strength and hip fracture risk. Dr. Keyak pioneered a technique for rapidly creating patient-specific structural engineering models (finite element models) of the hip. This technique and variations of it are now used around the world to study bone. Research at UCI involves studies of:
• Treatments to strengthen the hip
• Bone loss due to long-duration spaceflight
• Causes of osteoporosis, e.g. radiation therapy and medications
Dr. Keyak is also involved with the UC Irvine Space Cycle, a proposed countermeasure for bone loss (http://spacecycle.hs.uci.edu).