Dr. Barak received his bachelor degree (BSc) in animal science and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Rehovot, Israel). After working for two years as a full-time small animal veterinarian he switched to part-time and returned to academia. He received his PhD in the area of bone biomechanics and his teaching certificate (biology teacher for high schools) from the Weizmann institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel). During his PhD, his research focused on the relation between bone structure and function using the rat as an animal model. Next, Dr. Barak accepted a two-year joint Postdoctoral position at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany). There, he did research on extinct hominins bipedal locomotion (Australopithecines) and its manifestation in the structure of the ankle's trabecular bone. Dr. Barak’s academic background includes one year as a lecturer at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and five years as an Assistant Professor and one year as an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology at Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC). At Winthrop University Dr. Barak taught the “Human Anatomy” course, his own “Biology of Bone” course, and other undergraduate and graduate courses (both for Biology and non-Biology majors). Aside from his teaching, Dr. Barak maintained an active lab at Winthrop University and have mentored close to twenty undergraduate and four graduate students. Dr. Barak’s research focuses on studying the relation between bone structure and mechanical properties by using a three-prong approach: (I) mechanically testing bone tissues from various bones and animals, (II) 3D printing bone structures (both healthy and pathological samples) and mechanically testing them, and (III) using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to map stresses and strain distribution and to predict areas of weakness which are prone to failure.
Dr. Barak’s research interests include bone biology in health and disease, bone biomechanics, bone adaptation (modeling and remodeling) Finite Element (FE) modeling, 3D Printing and animal locomotion.
Publications - (selected manuscripts)
J.T. Nguyen and M.M. Barak. Secondary osteon structural heterogeneity between the cranial and caudal cortices of the proximal humerus in white-tailed deer. Journal of Experimental Biology. 223(11): jeb225482 (2020)
M.M. Barak. Bone modeling or bone remodeling: that is the question. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 172: 153-5 (2020)
Z. Wood, L. Lynn, J.T. Nguyen, M.A. Black, M. Patel and M.M. Barak. Are we crying Wolff? 3D printed replicas of trabecular bone structure demonstrate higher stiffness and strength during off-axis loading. Bone. 127: 635-45 (2019)
A.N. Kunde, V.J. Frost, M.M. Barak. Acute exposure of white-tailed deer cortical bone to Staphylococcus aureus did not result in reduced bone stiffness. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. 82: 329-37 (2018).
M.M. Barak, M.A. Black. A novel use of 3D printing model demonstrates the effects of deteriorated trabecular bone structure on bone stiffness and strength. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. 78: 455-64 (2018).
M.M. Barak, E. Sherratt, D.E. Lieberman. Using principle trabecular orientation to differentiate joint loading orientation in the 3rd metacarpal heads of humans and chimpanzees. Journal of Human Evolution113: 173-82 (2017).
J.W. Barrera, A. Le Cabec, M.M. Barak. The orthotropic elastic properties of fibrolamellar bone tissue in juvenile white-tailed deer femora. Journal of Anatomy229(4):568-76 (2016).
M.M. Barak, D.E. Lieberman, D. Raichlen, H. Pontzer, A. Warrener, J.J Hublin. Trabecular evidence for a human-like gait in Australopithecus africanus. PLOS ONE8(11): e77687 (2013).
M.M. Barak, D.E. Lieberman, J.J. Hublin. Of mice, rats and men: Trabecular bone in mammals scale to body mass with negative allometry. Journal of Structural Biology. 183:123-31 (2013).
M.M Barak, D.E Lieberman, J.J. Hublin. A Wolff in sheep’s clothing: Trabecular bone adaptation in response to changes in joint loading orientation. Bone. 49:1141-51 (2011).
M.M Barak, S. Weiner, R. Shahar. The contribution of trabecular bone to the stiffness and strength of rat lumbar vertebrae. Spine. 35:E1153-9 (2010).
M.M. Barak, S. Geiger, N. Lev-Tov Chattah, R. Shahar, S. Weiner. Enamel dictates whole tooth deformation: A finite element model study validated by an optical method. Journal of Structural Biology 168:511-20 (2009).
M.M. Barak, A. Sharir, R. Shahar. Optical metrology methods for mechanical testing of whole bones. The Veterinary Journal180:7-14 (2009).
M.M. Barak, J.D. Currey, S. Weiner, R. Shahar. Are tensile and compressive Young’s moduli of compact bone different? Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials2:51-60 (2009).
M.M. Barak, S. Weiner, R. Shahar. Importance of the integrity of trabecular bone to the relationship between load and deformation of rat femora: An optical metrology study. Journal of Materials Chemistry18:3855-64 (2008).
A. Sharir, M.M. Barak, R. Shahar. Whole bone mechanics and mechanical testing. The Veterinary Journal 177:8-17(2008).
L. Nadav, V. Kalchenko, M.M. Barak, E. Naparstek, B. Geiger, B.Z. Katz. Tumorigenic potential and disease manifestations of malignant B-cell variants differing in their fibronectin adhesiveness. Experimental Hematology36:1524-34 (2008).
R. Shahar, P. Zaslansky, M.M. Barak, A.A. Friesem, J.D. Currey, S. Weiner. Anisotropic Poisson's ratio and compression modulus of cortical bone determined by speckle interferometry. Journal of Biomechanics 40:252-64 (2007).