Orthopaedic Surgery Research
The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has responded to the changing landscape of medical care. Our department has developed several strategies for dealing with the reductions in research funding. The strength of our department positions us to maintain our research infrastructure and our ability to provide our residents with a variety of research experiences and to support the various research interests of our faculty. Wake Forest Innovations is a new division of the Medical Center that awards grants to support and advance translation and commercialization of innovative ideas and products relevant to the mission of the Medical Center. Our department has benefited from funding provided by this new entity. The department also receives funding from the Department of Defense, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and industry partners.
Our faculty is committed to pursuing clinically important research designed to improve patient care. In addition, because research is an integral component of our mission, our department is committed to developing translational research while training the next generation of academic orthopaedic clinician surgeons. For example, several members of our faculty are developing nanotechnology and tissue engineering solutions to manage orthopaedic problems. Several examples of our research initiatives are listed below.
Zhongyu Li, MD, PhD (Associate Professor with a subspecialty in hand surgery) has received DOD funding in collaboration with Thomas L. Smith, PhD to study repair of large peripheral nerve gaps using acellular nerve allografts seeded with amniotic fluid-derived stem cells. This repair technique will be evaluated to determine if it promotes and accelerates nerve regeneration.
Cristin Ferguson, MD (Associate Professor), one of our sports medicine physicians, received a K08 Award from the National Institutes of Health to support her research designing bioengineered meniscal replacements. Dr. Ferguson also was awarded funding from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation Goldberg Arthritis Research to study the role of growth and differentiation factor 5 (GDF5) in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis.
Our orthopaedic trauma faculty members (Drs. Carroll, Halvorson, Miller, Scott, and Teasdall) are participating in the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC), a multicenter consortium established with support from the Department of Defense. The consortium was initiated to develop a network of study sites to perform clinical outcome studies to provide treatment guidelines for managing high energy orthopaedic trauma in wounded warriors and civilians. Our department is one of 24 core centers. These studies are supported by $80 million in Department of Defense funding. The core center in our department is ranked as one of the top ten centers of the consortium.
Drs. Tuohy, Freehill, and Mannava received funding from Wake Forest Innovations to develop a device for rotator cuff repair. The device is designed to aid in the intra-operative determination and setting of ideal repair tensions during rotator cuff repair. Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of upper extremity disability and dysfunction accounting for approximately $ 3 billion in healthcare costs in the United States.
These are just a few examples of the research currently underway in our department. Please navigate through our website to learn more details about our departmental research initiatives.
L. Andrew Koman, MD
Professor and Chair
The Research Enterprise in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Wake Forest School of Medicine