February Featured Author

Frances T. Sheehan, MD
Rehabilitation Medicine Department in the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health

From the February issue: Patellofemoral Pain in Adolescents: Understanding Patellofemoral Morphology and Its Relationship to Maltracking

Podcast: Listen to Dr. Sheehan discuss her article in the February issue.


My research focus and leadership in the field of biomechanics and orthopeadics has been developed through my unique set of skills in mechanical engineering, orthopedics, computational mathematics, anatomy/physiology, and imaging technologies. The overall goal of my work is to improve the long term-effectiveness of clinical interventions through an advanced understanding of musculoskeletal function, dysfunction and development. The foundations for my research began with my PhD work where I developed, validated, and implemented the first and only tool for the non-invasive 3D evaluation of in vivo musculoskeletal kinematics, cine-phase contrast MRI (or dynamic MRI). Throughout my career I have has continuously broadened the scope of my research interests through the development and validation of additional tools (e.g., automatic segmentation for the generation of bone models), mentorship, and collaboration. I have applied these various tools to expand our knowledge of both normative and altered musculoskeletal function, with a concentration on the ankle, knee and hip; focusing on patellofemoral pain syndrome, ACL-injury, cerebral palsy, and obstetrical brachial plexus palsy. Key to my success is that I envision research as a team sport, focusing much of my energy on mentorship and collaboraton. The success of my team, our publication record, our awards, and our extensive collaboration network clearly demonstrates that this vision has enabled us to advance the field of biomechanics/orthopaedics, specifically in the area of joint dynamics.

Selected Other Published Work

Fick CN, Grant C, Sheehan FT (2020) Adolescent Patellofemoral Pain: An Envelope of Pathology. American Journal of Sports Medicine

Carlson VR, Sheehan FT, Shen A, Yao L, Jackson JN, Boden BP (2017). The Relationship of Static Tibial Tubercle-Trochlear Groove Measurement and Dynamic Patellar Tracking. Am J Sports Med 45(8):1856-1863.  doi: 10.1177/0363546517700119. Awarded AOSSM Excellence in Research Award

Carlson VR, Boden BP, Sheehan FT (2017). Patellofemoral Kinematics and Tibial Tuberosity-Trochlear Groove Distances in Female Adolescents With Patellofemoral Pain. Am J Sports Med 45: 1102-1109. doi: 10.1177/2325967116686774

Carlson VR, Boden BP, Shen A, Jackson JN, Alter KE, Sheehan FT (2017). Patellar Maltracking Persists in Adolescent Females With Patellofemoral Pain: A Longitudinal Study. Orthop J Sports Med 5:1102-1109. doi: 10.1177/0363546516679139

Carlson VR, Boden BP, Shen A, Jackson JN, Yao L, Sheehan FT (2017). The Tibial Tubercle-Trochlear Groove Distance Is Greater in Patients With Patellofemoral Pain: Implications for the Origin of Pain and Clinical Interventions. Am J Sports Med 45: 1110-1116. doi: 10.1177/0363546516681002

Sheehan FT, Sipprell WH, 3rd, Boden BP (2012). Dynamic sagittal plane trunk control during anterior cruciate ligament injury. Am J Sports Med 40: 1068-1074. doi: 10.1177/0363546512437850

Cheng R, Alexandridi NA, Smith RM, Shen A, Gandler W,   McCreedy ES,McAuliff MJ, Sheehan FT (2020) Fully Automated Patellofemoral MRI Segmentation using Holistically Nested Networks: Implications for Evaluating Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis, Pain, Injury, Pathology, and Adolescent Development. Magn Reson Med 83 (1), 139-153

Carlson VR, Boden BP, Shen A, Jackson JN, Yao L, Sheehan FT (2017). The Tibial Tubercle-Trochlear Groove Distance Is Greater in Patients With Patellofemoral Pain: Implications for the Origin of Pain and Clinical Interventions. Am J Sports Med 45: 1110-1116. doi: 10.1177/0363546516681002

Sheehan FT, Brochard S, Behnam AJ, Alter KE (2014). Three-dimensional humeral morphologic alterations and atrophy associated with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 23: 708-719. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.04.049

Im HS, Alter KE, Brochard S, Pons C, Sheehan FT (2014). In vivo pediatric shoulder muscle volumes and their relationship to 3D strength. J Biomech 47: 2730-2737. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.04.049

Borotikar BS, Sheehan FT (2013). In vivo patellofemoral contact mechanics during active extension using a novel dynamic MRI-based methodology. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 21: 1886-1894.  doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.08.023

Sheehan FT, Borotikar BS, Behnam AJ, Alter KE (2012). Alterations in in vivo knee joint kinematics following a femoral nerve branch block of the vastus medialis: Implications for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 27: 525-5331. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2011.12.012. Recipient of the 2011 International Society of Biomechanics Clinical Award and the 2011 American Society of Biomechanics Clinical Award.

Sheehan FT, Babushkina A, Alter KE (2012). Kinematic determinants of anterior knee pain in cerebral palsy: a case-control study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 93, 1431-1440.

Behnam AJ, Herzka DA, Sheehan FT (2011). Assessing the accuracy and precision of musculoskeletal motion tracking using cine-PC MRI on a 3.0T platform. J Biomech 44, 193-197.

Boden BP, Sheehan FT, Torg JS, Hewett TE (2010). Noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injuries: mechanisms and risk factors. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 18, 520-527.

Sheehan FT (2010). The instantaneous helical axis of the subtalar and talocrural joints: a non-invasive in vivo dynamic study. J Foot Ankle Res 3, 13.

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