Kimberly G. Harmon, MD (Family Medicine and Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine)
Interest in non-surgical orthobiologic treatments for musculoskeletal conditions such as platelet rich plasma, bone marrow aspirate and microfragmented fat (“stem cells”) is exceedingly high. Although these treatments are being offered at clinics around the country the science behind these procedures is lagging.  Our group aims to 1) Offer an evidence-based assessment of new treatments to patients interested in these procedures  2) Provide these procedures safely to patients who have made the decision to proceed and 3) Systematically study and report clinical outcomes of these procedures. Our hope is to partner with basic scientist and researchers to better understand and improve clinical options for non-surgical orthobiologic treatments for musculoskeletal conditions like osteoarthritis and chronic tendinosis.

Ronald Kwon (Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine)
Our lab is focused on skeletal disease and regeneration. We are understanding the genetic basis of osteoporosis, and identifying new therapeutic targets to combat this massive health burden. We are also understanding why certain organisms such as fish are able to regenerate bony appendages following amputation, and how to mount this response in the digits and limbs of mammals.

The Musculoskeletal Systems Biology Lab comprises engineers, basic scientists, and clinicians. Our focus is on taking bold, innovative approaches to reverse aging-induced bone fragility, and to help realize human regenerative potential.”

Feini (Sylvia) Qu, VMD, PhD (Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Mechanical Engineering)
The long-term goal of our research is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, especially with respect to the bones and connective tissues of limbs and joints, and then leverage this knowledge to regenerate lost or diseased structures using stem cells, gene editing, and biomaterials. Our lab uses the mouse digit tip, one of the few mammalian systems that exhibits true regeneration, to identify pathways that regulate tissue patterning and outgrowth after amputation. Armed with a better understanding of the cues that direct complex tissue formation in adulthood, we will develop therapeutic strategies that enhance the regeneration of limbs and joints after injury and degenerative disease in patients.

Jenny Robinson, PhD (Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and Mechanical Engineering)
Our primary goal is to understand what cues are needed to promote connective tissue (ligament, cartilage, fibrocartilage) regeneration after knee injuries and reduce the onset of osteoarthritis. We have a particular interest on how these cues may differ in male and female athletes. We engineer biomaterial-based environments that mimic native tissue biochemical and mechanical properties to pinpoint specific cues that are required for regeneration of the connective tissues in the knee. We aim to use this knowledge to inform the treatment options for patients with knee injuries to ensure they can get back to performance with reduced or minimal chance for the development of osteoarthritis.

Alec Smith, PhD (Physiology & Biophysics)
My lab’s research is focused on understanding the mechanistic pathways that underpin muscle and nervous tissue development in health and disease. To achieve this, we are developing human stem cell-derived models of neuromuscular diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). By analyzing the behavior of these cells, we aim to better define how the causal mutation leads to the development and progression of neurodegenerative disease. Ultimately, identification of pathways critical to disease progression will provide new targets for therapeutic intervention, leading to the development of new treatments for patients suffering from these debilitating and life-threatening conditions.