Orthopaedic Surgery

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Faculty Research

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at IU School of Medicine has a strong commitment to medical research. The department has approved $5.4 million in research funding and is pending another $3.5 million. Faculty investigators exercise dynamic leadership in their supervisory roles of mentoring, collaborating with and directing junior colleagues, staff, residents and students at all levels. Research is conducted with the highest regard to ethical and regulatory practices without consideration of funding sources.

Bone Healing and Regeneration Research

Under the leadership of Dr. Melissa Kacena and in collaboration with NASA and the Department of Defense, the IU School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is conducting work aboard the International Space Station. In the weightlessness of space, researchers are able to study novel and current bone healing therapies to translate new discoveries in bone regeneration for osteoporosis, fracture healing and other bone disorders.

History of Collaborative Work

The department’s original research initiative began in 1967 when Dr. James B. Wray established basic science research in orthopaedics, which continued under National Institutes of Health support until 1984. In 1990, this initiative was rekindled with the establishment of the Biomechanics and Biomaterials Research Center and the Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory at the IU School of Medicine–Indianapolis campus. Today, the orthopaedic research effort is supported by dozens of research grants from the NIH, private foundations and biomedical companies, making it one of the fastest growing fields at IU School of Medicine.

A coordinated group of laboratories within Indiana University School of Medicine, known as Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, conduct focused research on tissues within the musculoskeletal system, including bone, cartilage, tendon and ligaments. The research endeavors of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery are supported by highly skilled research faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. Current lab sites on the IU School of Medicine–Indianapolis campus include Fesler Hall, the Biotechnology Research and Training Center and Van Nuys Medical Sciences Building. Faculty researchers within the department are also involved with several clinical trials at Eskenazi Health, including active studies in the field of orthopaedic trauma, bone healing and regeneration, biomechanics and joint replacement.

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery collaborates extensively with other IU School of Medicine departments and IU schools located on the Indianapolis campus. Current collaborations include research studies with the departments of pediatrics, anatomy, microbiology, internal medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, cellular and integrative physiology, and the IU School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as the schools of dentistry, engineering.