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Research Interests

The following tables depict the specific research interests of the basic scientists and clinician scientists affiliated with the Center:

Table associating basic scientists affiliated with the Center with their specific research interests.
Basic Scientist Research Interest
Schwarz, Edward The Schwarz lab has developed a passive immunization to prevent and treat staphylococcus infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) infection of bone. The Schwarz lab has also discovered the role of dysfunctional lymphatics in arthritic flare, and is currently assessing new approaches that could lead to better treatments for arthritis in humans.
Ackert-Bicknell, Cheryl The focus of my research program is the study of the genetic regulation of bone mass and the genetic causes of bone disease from the point of view of bone formation and strength.  I use animal models to conduct both forward and reverse genetics studies to interrogate the genetic causes of phenotypes critical to understanding bone quality that cannot be readily studied in human populations. These phenotypes of interest include bone composition, bone formation and mineralization by the osteoblast.  In addition, I am an active participant in many human cohort studies aimed at understanding the etiology of musculoskeletal disease.
Awad, Hani Our research focuses primarily on Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering with an emphasis on challenging clinical problems and translational solutions, using in vivo and in vitro models of tissue repair and clinically translatable outcome measures to assess the efficacy of repair. To that end, a major theme in our laboratory is the development and evaluation of scaffolds that are derived from decellularized tissue grafts and modified as cell and drug delivery vehicles for applications in clinically relevant models of tendon, bone, and cartilage repair.
Benoit, Danielle The Benoit Lab works at the interface of medicine and engineering, with an emphasis on precisely controlling biomaterial functionality and architecture to treat diseases, control cell behavior, or answer fundamental biological questions. In particular, we are focusing on two avenues (1) synthetic hydrogels with tunable degradation and mechanical properties as a synthetic extracellular matrix analogue for the culture and delivery of cells for regenerative medicine approaches in bone and (2) polymers formed using reversible-addition fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT), a controlled, living polymerization strategy, designed for small molecule and nucleic acid delivery to bone, marrow, and tendon. Our overall hypothesis is that by using bottom-up approaches, we can design ‘smart’ materials with distinct capabilities, such as controlling cell behavior or overcoming delivery barriers.
Buckley, Mark The goal of the Buckley lab is to exploit the principles of mechanics to improve treatments for diseases and injuries affecting soft biological tissues. Currently, we are primarily focused on musculoskeletal and ocular tissues including cartilage, tendon, intervertebral disc and cornea, and we study diseases ranging from osteoarthritis to keratoconus.
Calvi, Laura Research in the Calvi Laboratory is focused on understanding and targeting the dynamic and reciprocal interactions of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells with their mesenchymal and osteoblastic niche. Most recently, our team has discovered key contributions of marrow macrophage populations with mesenchymal cells in the setting of aging and myelodysplastic syndrome. The laboratory utilizes cell and molecular biology approaches, advanced multiparameter flow cytometry and genetic murine models to examine disease-relevant signals that can be exploited for translation.  Specific areas of investigation involve modulation of stem cell microenvironment regulatory interactions by hormones, aging, myeloid malignancies and cancer therapies, including ionizing radiation. Dr. Calvi works in close collaboration with Dr. Michael Becker and Dr. Jane Liesveld of the Wilmot Cancer Institute to confirm in human cells mechanisms initially discovered in murine models, and to translate them to clinical trials.
Cole, Calvin Biological mechanisms of cancer-related skeletal muscle wasting and musculoskeletal injury prevention and performance enhancement.
Daiss, John Immune response to bacterial infections, diagnostics of bacterial infections, physical bases of chronic infection.
Dirksen, Robert The overall focus of the Dirksen laboratory is to characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control intracellular calcium dynamics in skeletal and cardiac muscle in health and disease. Current projects involve elucidating the mechanisms by which muscle function is controlled by proteins involved in coordinating:
  • Excitation-contraction coupling
  • Store-operated calcium entry
  • Mitochondrial calcium uptake and energy production
  • The molecular mechanisms for skeletal and cardiac dysfunction in myotonic dystrophy
Eliseev, Roman Mesenchymal stem (a.k.a. bone marrow stromal) cells (MSCs) in bone homeostasis and repair. Role of mitochondria in MSC fate decisions and osteogenic differentiation and Energy metabolism in bone and cartilage physiology and pathology (osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and fracture repair).
Frisch, Benjamin Particular interest in microenvironmental support for the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC). Discovery of mechanisms of support for HSCs during both homeostatic and stressed hematopoiesis has evolved to the identification of novel therapeutic targets in malignant hematopoiesis, such as acute myeloid leukemia. My current research is focused on alterations of the bone marrow microenvironment induced by myeloid malignancies. This research has led to the identification of the chemokine CCL3 as a potential target for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. My future interests are in further characterization of the interactions between malignant hematopoiesis and the bone marrow microenvironment, with the ultimate goal of translation of novel therapeutic targets to clinical use.
Gorbunova, Vera Our research is focused on Aging, DNA repair, and Cancer.
Jonason, Jennifer The Jonason laboratory is interested in the signaling mechanisms that govern mesenchymal stem cell differentiation as well as maturation of committed chondrocytes and osteoblasts during skeletal development. Additionally, we have a strong interest in those mechanisms that function to maintain articular chondrocytes and the integrity of the articular cartilage matrix. We combine in vivo genetic mouse models with in vitro tissue culture and molecular biology techniques to better understand the role of specific signaling pathways and transcription factors in regulation of bone and joint development as well as in the onset and progression of osteoarthritis.
Kuo, Catherine The research objective is to inform tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies by recapitulating key aspects of embryonic tissue development and scarless healing. Our unique approach combines engineering techniques with classical embryo models to characterize the structure-property relationships of embryonic tissues as design parameters for engineering 3-dimensional (3D) polymeric scaffolds and bioreactor (mechanical loading) culture systems. We hypothesize 3D culture systems that present key embryonic tissue cues will instruct stem cells to regenerate new tissues, such as tendon and ligament, as replacement body parts. With this approach we are also developing unique benchtop tissue analogs, as complements to animal models, to study the mechanobiology of tissue formation and healing, with the goal of identifying novel targets for the development of new therapeutics.
Lee, Whasil The Lee Lab studies the mechanically activated ion channels expressed in knee joint cells to gain fundamental insights into mechanotransduction-related tissue development, maintenance, and degeneration. We investigate the mechanotransduction mechanisms of chondrocytes, synoviocytes, ligament cells, joint-innervating neurons and chondrogenic stem cells in both physiologic and pathophysiologic conditions. Our overarching goal is to deconstruct the function of key mechanotransducing ion channels of musculoskeletal cells and to and apply this knowledge to find rational therapeutic drugs which can stop the progression of osteoarthritis, stop the arthritis associated pain and/or regenerate healthy cartilage. 
Loiselle, Alayna Defining the cellular and molecular environment during tendon healing to facilitate therapeutic target identification. Development of non-invasive imaging modalities for tendon healing and application of artificial intelligence algorithms to enhance clinical application of these technologies.
Maquat, Lynne Research in the Maquat lab utilizes biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, genome editing, transcriptomics (e.g. RNA-seq, RIP-Seq, RIP-seq footprinting, NMD-Seq, TRIC-Seq), proteomics and computational biology to study RNA metabolism in human and mouse cells, as well as in the mouse, with a focus on RNA metabolism in human health and disease. As a post-doc, Dr. Maquat was the first to demonstrate that a human disease could be due to pre-mRNA splicing defects, and she also discovered mammalian-cell nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD).
Meednu, Nida Dr. Meednu's research focus is to understand the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmune diseases, specifically systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), on the role of B cells in the development and progression of these diseases. She is investigating autoantibody independent functions of B cells including interaction with other immune cells and other relevant organ systems. In RA, Dr. Meednu is seeking to understand the mechanism of how B cells interact with osteoclasts and osteoblasts to contribute to bone erosion process in this disease.
Mooney, Robert The Mooney Laboratory studies the impact of obesity and associated type 2 diabetes on musculoskeletal diseases, including osteoarthritis, bone infection (osteomyelitis), and fracture repair. Obesity affects more than one third of the adult population in the US with another third being overweight. While it is very well appreciated that obesity is associated with metabolic syndrome and is linked to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, it is only now being revealed that orthopedic pathologies are also impacted by the obesity epidemic.
Noble, Mark The central goal of our research is make discoveries with the potential of altering the treatment of afflictions for which there are currently no satisfactory therapies. This is the most exciting – and demanding – challenge in all of biomedical research. The difficulties in making such discoveries has all the features that make science exciting, including the opportunity to venture into new territories and make entirely new discoveries, to work on complex problems that are constantly stimulating and to contribute to making the world a better place for individuals and families for whom current medical knowledge is not sufficient to provide benefit.
Paine, Ananta Dr. Ananta Paine, with his unique academic background and research training and exposure to diverse research areas, employs integrative approaches to address challenging research questions related to autoimmune bone diseases. His current research focuses on understanding the involved mechanisms for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis to find ways to treat these diseases. His current research projects combines the in silico approaches (such as literature and data mining, integrated analysis of transcriptomic, epigenetic and proteomic data) with standard laboratory techniques and high throughput experimentations (such as microarray, RNAseq and proteomics).
Puzas, Ed Dr. Puzas' research interests span all areas of bone, cartilage, orthopaedics and oral biology, especially at the cellular and molecular level.  Research from his laboratory is aimed at translational approaches that extend discoveries made at the lab bench to higher order life forms. He currently has active programs that examine the molecular mechanisms by which environmental agents affect skeletal health as well and the discovery of new signaling pathways that control bone formation during the remodeling process.  He is also currently heading two clinical trials related to these lines of investigation.  Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of these effects will open new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment of bone diseases.
Rangel-Moreno, Javier Our lab is focused on understanding the complex interactions among immune cells that take place in target tissues.  We have a particular interest on defining the distinctive and strategic organization of immune cells in the peripheral tissues and how they contribute to the local induction of pathological or protective immune responses.
Thirukumaran, Caroline Health Services Researcher and my research focuses on the outcomes (e.g., complications, readmissions, cost, patient experience) of orthopaedic surgeries and the disparities in these outcomes. I use advanced statistical/econometric methods with (i) large national datasets such as the Medicare Inpatient Claims data and the National Surgical Quality Improvement (NSQIP) data, and (ii) local datasets such as Electronic Health Record data from Strong and Highland hospitals, to investigate my research questions. I look forward to collaborating with surgeons with an interest in surgical outcomes research.
Xie, Chao Dr. Chao Xie is a Physician-Scientist. With his Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology background, Dr. Xie has been working in the field of musculoskeletal research in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research since 2003. His research focuses on translational medicine for musculoskeletal related diseases, which has been funded by MTF, OREF, AOTrauma and NYSTEM, DePuy, CNSF and NIH grants. These researches include studies on (1) renal cell carcinoma metastasis to bone, (2) critical bone defect repair and regeneration, (3) wear debris-induced osteolysis, (4) bone infection and (5) spinal cord injury.
Xing, Lianping The role of the lymphatic vessel system in the development, progression, and treatment of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in mice. Bone-targeting anti-myeloma drug in mouse models of multiple myeloma. B cell-bone cell interaction in the pathogenesis of inflammatory arthritis using TNF transgene and auto-antibody-induced mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis.
Yao, Zhengqiang Dr. Yao's research focuses on the mechanisms whereby cytokines regulate osteoclast and osteoblast differentiation and function through TRAF3-NF-kappaB signaling in vitro and in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoporosis and bone metastatic cancers. 
Zhang, Xinping Research in my laboratory focuses on skeletal repair and reconstruction, which integrates a number of important research topics in musculoskeletal research. These topics include biology of bone/cartilage development, cell signaling, stem cell biology and bone tissue engineering.  Using transgenic mouse models, primary culture of progenitor cells isolated from bone callus, and the-state-of-the-art imaging approaches, we are currently trying to understand how molecular and cellular signals are integrated to provide synergistic action for repair and regeneration. The long term goal of our laboratory is to be able to combine progenitor cells, molecular signals and bioscaffolds in a tissue-engineering construct to enhance bone repair and reconstruction.


Table associating clinician scientists affiliated with the Center with their specific research interests.
Clinician Scientist Research Interest
Anolik, Jennifer B Cell Autoimmunity and Novel Drug Therapies for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoimmunology
Baumhauer, Judith Dr. Baumhauer’s research interests focus on the clinical translation patient-reported outcomes into evidence based medicine. She leads the URMC Clinical BioInformatics Core to help clinicians understand the impact different treatments have on how a patient is feeling and functioning using validated patient centered assessments. This form of research keeps the patient’s voice in the forefront of treatment options and solutions.
Carmody, Emily Dr. Carmody is involved in research in the fields of orthopaedic surgery and treatment for bone and soft tissue sarcoma.
DiGiovanni, Benedict Achilles tendon disorders; ankle cartilage injury and repair; plantar fascia pathology;  medical education; medical education curriculum evaluation and development.
Drinkwater, Christopher Advanced technology in Joint Replacement Surgery, Robotic Knee Replacement Surgery, Non-clinical spending in U.S. Public Health.
Flemister, A. Samuel His research focuses on the operative and non-operative treatment of the posterior tibial tendon and he has received an NIH grant to study this disease process.
Ginnetti, John Total hip & knee arthroplasty clinical outcomes, periprosthetic joint infection, health Literacy, consumerism in health care/orthopaedics.
Giordano, Brian He is actively involved in a number of research projects involving basic science, biomechanics, and clinical outcomes for athletic hip injuries and their associated treatment.
Gonzalez, Ron Validity of research in changing outcomes or practice, sterility in OR, Promis scores, resident education and medical student education(learning to learn), scaphoid healing, scaphoid healing and use of forteo.
Hammert, Warren My research interests include predominantly clinical studies focusing on hand and upper extremity conditions, including peripheral nerve injuries and compressions, outcomes for surgical procedures involving the hand and wrist, such as distal radius fractures and other bony conditions as well as Patient Reported Outcomes using PROMIS.  In addition, I am involved in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) core working on methods to use computers and machine learning to aid in clinical diagnoses. 
In the past, I have been involved in clinical and basic science research in tendon scarring and healing.
Judd, Kyle His research interests include fragility fractures in elderly patients and hip fracture management.
Ketonis, Constantinos Dr. Ketonis continues to utilize his background in basic science and clinical research to advance the field of orthopedics. He has authored numerous publications and book chapters on topics related to hand surgery, prosthetics, infection and bone grafts, and he frequently presents at the national and international levels. Dr. Ketonis is the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, as well as research grants. He also holds U.S. Patents on implant modification technologies, as well as novel 3D-printed devices that he designed to address hand conditions. His current research interests include artificial intelligence, tendon infection, repair and scarring, novel uses of ultrasound in diagnostics and implant design.
Korman, Benjamin Dr. Korman's research program focuses on understanding the cells and processes which cause scarring (fibrosis) in scleroderma. He uses both experimental models of disease and patient samples to better understand the relationship between adipose (fat) cells, blood vessels and scar-forming cells (fibroblasts). The ultimate goal of this work is to better understand why patients have different disease manifestations and to provide personalized treatment approaches.
Looney, John Targeting senescent cells in patients with lupus presents a potential novel approach to disease management and improved clinical outcomes. While it is known that lupus patients possess cells with a senescence-like phenotype, it is unknown whether these cells would respond to available senolytic drugs. Studying the effects of these drugs in vitro using patient and lupus mouse model samples will further fundamental insights into the potential role of senolytic drugs in the treatment of lupus.
Maloney, Mike Dr. Maloney's research interests overlie his clinicial practice treating orthopaedic injuries sustained by juvenile to senior and casual to master athletes. On going research includes: 1) treatment of muscle, tendon, ligament, and cartilage injuries through novel stem cell and tissue engineering techniques. 2) evaluation of the cellular link between meniscal injuries and progressive arthritis. 3) rotator cuff healing models relative to treatment modalities.
Mannava, Sandeep Biology of aging, Soft tissue biomechanics and tensioning, Tissue engineering, Regenerative medicine, Medical education, Athletic knee injuries, Shoulder surgery, Rotator cuff biology.
McDowell, Susan Sarcoma, surgical outcomes, osseous integration, Medical education, 3D printing and simulation.
Menga, Emmanuel Dr. Menga is actively involved in research with special interest in clinical and functional outcomes of pediatric and adult spine surgery. He has authored multiple peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters on topics in spinal surgery and Orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Menga has presented his research at multiple national and international spine and Orthopaedic surgery meetings and has received multiple awards and honors for his outstanding research.
Mesfin, Addisu Dr. Mesfin is interested in clinical outcomes research including following spine tumor surgery and basic science degenerative disc disease research. He has received grant funding for his research. He has more than 100 published articles and more than 165 national and international presentations. He is a member of the Cervical Spine Research Society, North American Spine Society, and candidate member of the Scoliosis Research Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, J. Robert Gladden Society, National Medical Association and the American Orthopaedic Association's Emerging Leader Program. Dr. Mesfin has given numerous national and international presentations, authored many spine related publications in peer-reviewed journals and has won awards for his research.
Molinari, Robert Clinical research in spinal trauma and clinical research in degenerative spinal disorders.
Myers, Thomas Periprosthetic joint infection, predictive analytics/machine learning, surgical simulation, rehabilitation following total joint replacement, surgical optimization and value-based care.  
Nicandri, Greg I am currently the leader of the Fundamentals of Arthroscopic Surgery Training (FAST) Program.  This is a national program which seeks to optimize the use of simulation in orthopaedics as a method to teach, practice, and evaluate surgical skills.  Current research is focused on demonstrating the effects of FAST on surgical skill in the operating room, patient safety, and outcomes.
Oh, Irvin Orthopaedic infection, foot/ankle biomechanics.
Rahimi, Homaira Inflammatory arthritis, osteoimmunology and lymphatic dysfunction.
Ricciardi, Benjamin My background includes extensive experience in clinical and translational research in topics concerning joint replacement surgery.  My research interests include clinical outcomes in total hip and total knee replacement at both the individual hospital/patient level and health system level.  I have extensive experience looking at these outcomes and complications from clinical registries.  Additionally, I have spent a number of years working in the Mineralized Tissue Laboratory at the Hospital for Special Surgery where we investigated both fracture healing and osseointegration in small animal models. This included translation research investigating the cellular and molecular processes that occur during hip replacement failure due to adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR) secondary to metal corrosion. I have over 35 peer reviewed scientific publications in these topics and have had over 40 presentations at national or international meetings.
Ritchlin, Christopher Bone remodeling is a dynamic and complex process finely orchestrated by cell interactions among bone-degrading osteoclasts, bone-synthesizing osteoblasts, T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. An imbalance between osteoclast and osteoblast activity results in skeletal and joint diseases including osteoporosis, arthritis, and non-union bone repair. These diseases impact the quality of life of patients.
Rizzone, Katherine Dr. Rizzone has a focus on research with a special interest in sports specialization and injury risk, as well as the female athlete triad.
Soles, Gillian Pelvic and acetabular fractures, clinical outcomes following fracture care, treatment of fracture nonunion and malunion, and anterior approach total hip replacement.
Voloshin, Ilya The main focus of Dr. Voloshin's research in last five years can be divided in basic science biomechanical projects and clinical outcomes studies surrounding shoulder disorders. The basic science biomechanical projects were focused on several controversial areas: surgical treatment of distal third clavicle fractures, the biomechanical role of superior labrum in a setting of biceps tenotomy or tenodesis in patients with rotator cuff disease, and biomechanics of superior capsular reconstruction with biceps tendon autograft. Specifically research in distal third clavicle fractures focused on importance of coracoclavicular fixation in Type II distal third clavicle fractures.  Dr. Voloshin's research showed the importance of coracoclavicular fixation in these fractures. Other biomechanics projects investigated kinematics of glenohumeral joint with labral injury and rotator cuff disease.  Dr. Voloshin also did work on radiofrequency energy effect on chondrocytes.  His current research efforts in basic science study effects of radiofrequency on the biology of tendon to bone healing.
Wilber, Danielle NSAIDs vs. opioids in management of postoperative pain, Dupuyren's disease, determining the cause of "overuse injuries" in the hand and wrist.