Centers and Institutes

Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health

Medical scientists affiliated with the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, located at IU School of Medicine–Indianapolis, focus on the discovery and development of new treatments, cures, diagnostic tools, new technologies and preventative strategies to address the increasing burden of musculoskeletal diseases and disorders of bone, muscle, tendon, ligament and cartilage affecting patients of all ages.

Research to better understand musculoskeletal health is critical, as diseases and disorders in this area of medicine are becoming more common as the U.S. population ages, and the musculoskeletal system is essential for good health at every stage of life. Specifically, the musculoskeletal conditions of sarcopenia, osteoporosis and arthritis continue to increase as do the demand for hip and knee replacements. The overall economic burden of musculoskeletal conditions is greater than that of cancer, stroke and cardiac arrest combined.

The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health harnesses the exceptional scientific talent already in place, in conjunction with new recruited talent, toward the discovery and development of new treatments, cures, preventative strategies, diagnostic tools, and technologies to address the increasing burden of bone, muscle and cartilage disorders among patients of all ages. The center aspires to be an international leader in basic and translational musculoskeletal disease research, clinical research, trials and treatment, and in musculoskeletal education.

Education

The center provides training and education for future leaders focused in musculoskeletal science, including laboratory and clinical research experience, seminar series, and visiting scholar programs. The educational program is run by a committee of dedicated researchers and educators. Long term, the center’s comprehensive plan includes a musculoskeletal clinical course for IU School of Medicine MD students and a musculoskeletal PhD program at IU School of Medicine.

Research

Musculoskeletal Center researchers are building on IU School of Medicine’s well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s most knowledgeable group of physician scientists focused on bone biology and musculoskeletal disorders. Researchers and clinicians working with the Indiana Center for the Musculoskeletal Health span four universities and continue to focus on international collaboration.  With more than 95 active members in 2017, membership in the Indiana Center for the Musculoskeletal Health is growing.

Clinical Care

Research service cores are available to support Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health investigators and collaborative medical research partners working in this area of medicine. Research support for animal imaging and analysis, musculoskeletal histology, musculoskeletal biobanking, and clinical care and mobility is currently available. Researchers in the center received funding of a clinical grant that focuses on developing and sustaining The Indiana Core Center for Clinical Research (in Musculoskeletal Disorders).

Strategic Plan

The strategic plan for the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health advances the values and mission of Indiana University School of Medicine and is designed to help the school achieve significant progress toward becoming an international leader in basic and translational musculoskeletal disease, research and education.

The center is establishing its research and education priorities and developing teams and resources to host annual scientific retreats and quarterly technical training forums, support pilot research projects, establish MS and PhD education programs, and maintain a high level of knowledge and visibility regarding musculoskeletal research. The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health’s strategic plan is divided into seven goals to be completed in the next ten years:

The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health conducts state-of-the-art research into specific areas of musculoskeletal diseases, including biology, genetics, biomechanics, kinematics and the structure/ function of these health issues. To coordinate these efforts, the center has formed thematic research teams of basic, translational and clinical researchers specializing in these areas. Currently, the active research teams include:

  • cancer in bone and muscle
  • trauma, regeneration, rehabilitation
  • genetic and endocrine diseases, precision medicine
  • lifestyle modifications: nutrition and exercise
  • mechanobiology and muscle/bone crosstalk
  • pediatric musculoskeletal disease

The core structure of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health is designed to provide facilities and infrastructure and promote collaboration to enable a “team science” approach among the large diverse group of nationally and internationally recognized musculoskeletal researchers at Indiana University. This synergizes the existing intellectual talent and resources to explore new therapeutic frontiers for musculoskeletal disorders. In order to support collaboration, the center is working to identify support for a research and clinical care facility and create new means for existing researchers and new recruits to interact in exciting research environments. The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health is also committed to supporting interactive, interdisciplinary, collaborative projects and providing the equipment and expertise for collaborative core facilities.

With the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health’s extensive research and clinical goals, it’s imperative that innovative scientific ideas are encouraged internally through seed funding resources. There have been two funding projects from the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health already, including the Pilot Funding Program, which funded new research development from Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health investigators, and the Multi-Center Collaborative Pilot Projects which cultivated projects between members of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health and other Indiana University School of Medicine research centers (including IU Simon Cancer Center, Stark Neuroscience Research Institute, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, and Diabetes Translational Research Center). To continue these efforts in the future, the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health is seeking donor support for these pilot efforts and others to expand funding for musculoskeletal research.

The goal of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health is to provide training and education for future leaders focused in musculoskeletal science, including laboratory and clinical research opportunities, seminar series and visiting scholar programs. This includes expanding the training opportunities for existing faculty and staff and devising educational opportunities and programs for medical students and health care workers.

To become recognized as an international leader in musculoskeletal health, the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health team aims to increase the breadth and depth of research in musculoskeletal science through targeted recruitment of outstanding investigators to complement the group’s programmatic strengths. These investigators will be established, respected researchers in the area of muscle, bone, cartilage, ligament and tendon, as well as promising young researchers to continue the search for innovative treatments and cures. These new investigators will only add to the exceptional skills of the researchers already working with the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, who will continue to find support and collaboration within the Center.

With the ndiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health’s focus on clinical trials and treatments and cures for musculoskeletal diseases, the ultimate goal is to foster the translation of basic science discoveries into clinically viable treatments to achieve a “destination” status for patients who want access to clinical therapies and cutting-edge care of musculoskeletal disorders. The Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health investigators align clinical care with research and integrate medical disciplines to form a cohesive method to treat and monitor patient care and recovery and create a unique, one-stop clinical care unit for patients suffering from musculoskeletal disease.

As the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health moves into its development of medications, cures and treatments, our growing contacts and collaboration with industry leaders, such as Eli Lilly and BioVinc, become increasingly imperative to bringing new therapeutics to patients. The existing and current research teams, with the help of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health Industry Relations committee, work with industry partners to facilitate innovation and revolutionize patient care.