Christopher J. Hernandez

Christopher J. Hernandez, Professor

Associate Professor
Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Upson Hall, Room 355
Associate Professor
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Hernandez is an Associate Professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Additionally he is an Adjunct Associate Scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Hernandez earned a B.S. in Engineering Sciences Cum Laude with a specialty in Biomedical Engineering at Harvard University and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell University he trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Department of Orthopaedics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. Hernandez served as Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University before joining the faculty at Cornell. Dr. Hernandez is a member of the Orthopaedic Research Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dr. Hernandez serves on the Program Committee for the Orthopaedic Research Society and has served as a permanent member of an NIH study section (AMS).

Research Interests

Dr. Hernandez's research in biomechanics examines the musculoskeletal system and microscopic organisms.

In the musculoskeletal system, Dr. Hernandez's group studies mechanical failure of bone tissue and how biological processes repair bone tissue damage and restore whole bone mechanical function. Dr. Hernandez's research focuses on bone remodeling, the primary process through which bone mass and structure are modified in adults. Bone remodeling is responsible for removing microscopic tissue damage from bone; without removal of microscopic tissue damage, the long bones in the legs would be expected break once every 7 years due to repetitive loading during activities of daily living. Dr. Hernandez uses materials testing, novel three-dimensional imaging techniques, in vivo models and specimens from patients to understand bone and joint disease.

In microorganisms, Dr. Hernandez's research group seeks to understand how the stiffness and strength of the bacterial cell wall and cell envelope influence organism survival and cell division. The Hernandez Research Group has developed novel microfluidic devices to probe the mechanical properties of individual, live bacteria and observe their responses to mechanical loads.

Current Research Projects * The Effects of Microstructural Flaws on Cancellous Bone Strength * Repair of Microscopic Tissue Damage in Cancellous Bone * Effects of the Microbiome on Musculoskeletal Disease and Mechanics * Mechanical Properties and Mechanobiology of the Bacterial Cell Envelope

Teaching Interests

Dr. Hernandez has taught undergraduate classes in Mechanics of Materials and Aerospace Structures, graduate courses in Biomechanics and provided lectures on the musculoskeletal system to medical students and orthopaedic residents.


Service Interests

Hernandez has been serving as Chair of the Student Paper and Poster Sessions at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference since 2012. He regularly partners with Cornell Diversity Programs in Engineering and serves as a Sloan Mentor to graduate students at Cornell. Dr. Hernandez is also a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Diversity Subcommittee.

Since 2011 Professor Hernandez has lived with Cornell freshmen while serving as Faculty in Residence in the Townhouses. Professor Hernandez can be seen in the freshmen dining hall and at the twice monthly events he leads in the Townhouses.

Selected Publications

  • Torres, A. M., J. B. Matheny, T. M. Keaveny, D. Taylor, C. M. Rimnac, Christopher J. Hernandez. 2016."Material Heterogeneity in Cancellous Bone Reduces Permanent Deformations After Mechanical Failure."Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.113: 2892-2897.
  • Sun, X., W. D. Weinlandt, H. Patel, M. Wu, C. J. Hernandez. 2014."A Microfluidic Platform for Profiling Biomechanical Properties of Bacteria."Lab on a chip14(14): 2491-2498.
  • Cresswell, E. N., M. G. Goff, T. M. Nguyen, W. X. Lee, C. J. Hernandez. 2016."Spatial Relationships between Bone Formation and Mechanical Stress within Cancellous Bone."Journal of Biomechanics49(2): 222-228.
  • Hernandez, C. J., T. M. Keaveny. 2006."A Biomechanical Perspective on Bone Quality."Bone39(6): 1173-1181.
  • Hernandez, C. J., M. C. van der Meulen. 2017."Understanding Bone Strength Is Not Enough."Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

See all Publications

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Finalist, New Investigator Recognition Award (Orthopaedic Research Society) 2006
  • Harold M. Frost Young Investigator (American Society for Bone and Mineral Research) 2006
  • Finalist, New Investigator Recognition Award (Orthopaedic Research Society) 2004
  • Travel Award for Sun Valley Hard Tissue Workshop 2001
  • Distinguished Alumni Speaker, Latino Engineering Graduate Students @ Stanford 2013


  • B.S. (Engineering Science (Biomedical Engineering)), Harvard University, 1996
  • M.S. (Mechanical Engineering), Stanford University, 1997
  • Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), Stanford University, 2001


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