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Research and Clinical Trials: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

One of the Nation’s Premier Orthopaedic Research Programs

The University of Pittsburgh Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is a leader in ongoing research and clinical trials. With funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other public and private institutions, the program has the opportunity to support and conduct evidence-based research and clinical trials involving patients in order to shape the future of orthopaedic surgery. There are 13 laboratories within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Here is a small sampling of some of the ground-breaking research currently being explored:

Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic and Spine Research

Currently, researches are leading the development of novel minimally invasive therapies of intervertebral disc degeneration based on the latest gene transfer and stem cell technologies. This research addresses feasibility, safety, and efficacy of these technologies, with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence of back pain and the need for spinal surgery.

Orthopaedic Biodynamics Laboratory

One of the newer orthopaedic labs, the Orthopaedic Biodynamics Laboratory looks at computational evaluation of joint motion and function through the use of high speed cineradiography, which will allow in vivo evaluations for knees, shoulders, spine, hips, ankle, and feet.

Cartilage Restoration Center

The Cartilage Restoration Center (CRC) works to advance the early diagnosis and treatment of articular cartilage and joint injury and degeneration to delay or prevent the onset of disabling osteoarthritis. The research focuses on improving cartilage repair potential and minimizing stress to healthy, degenerative, and aged cartilage.

The laboratory seeks solutions to these problems from many angles from the development of smart polymers for controlled in vivo release of growth factors, to assessing human stem cell potential, to the application of imaging technologies like optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering

The Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering focuses on developing the knowledge base and the technical know-how to restore organ functions by applying principles of cellular and molecular biology, as well as the physical sciences and engineering. Under the direction of Rocky S. Tuan, PhD, research focuses on the development, growth, function, and health of the musculoskeletal system, the biology of adult stem cells, and the utilization of this knowledge to develop technologies that will regenerate and/or restore function to diseased and damaged musculoskeletal tissues. 

Sports Orthopaedic Research Laboratory

The Sports Orthopaedic Research Laboratory explores the causes and treatment of knee related injuries. Recent projects include defining the effects of clinically relevant meniscal tears in the medial compartment of the knee and studying patellofemoral instability, with the goal to develop an in vitro instability model that will study the anatomy and biomechanics of this common clinical problem.

Stem Cell Research Laboratory

The goal of this lab is to expand the possibilities of tissue engineering by unlocking the potential of gene therapy and adult stem cell research; then transferring research findings into the development of effective treatments for damaged or diseased tissues as they relate to the musculoskeletal system.

These findings will explore and develop cutting-edge treatment programs to address Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and a variety of orthopaedic diseases and injuries including muscle injuries and repair, and the regeneration of bone and articular cartilage.

Learn more about researchers at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Donate to Orthopaedic Research

Do you have a special interest in ensuring the future of orthopaedic medicine? Help us sustain our studies and clinical trials, and conduct new research by donating to the University of Pittsburgh Orthopaedic Surgery Research Department.

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