URMC’s Elfar Honored With Hand Surgeon-Scientist Award

Dec. 18, 2013

John C. Elfar, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Hand Surgeon-Scientist Award by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

A five-year grant that will provide $187,500 for Elfar’s research lab, the Hand Surgeon-Scientist Award recognizes young hand surgeons who have demonstrated success as both clinician and researcher and have sufficient protected time to develop a long and productive career in academic surgery.

The award is designed to support young faculty members at teaching institutions with accredited programs in hand surgery who have demonstrated success in research by receiving extramural research funding – in this case a mentored scientist (K08) grant awarded earlier this year from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that provides $422,000 over five years.Elfar’s lab, part of URMC’s Center for Musculoskeletal Research, focuses on a hormone, erythropoietin (EPO), which plays a role in red cell production and impacts peripheral nerve injury. As a result of a chance observation during his medical residency years ago, Elfar discovered that single doses of EPO administered for severe crush injuries result in accelerated, profound, full recovery of function – within just a week of injury – which is four times faster than untreated controls. He continues to study how and why EPO has an effect on neuro-regeneration.

Clinically, Elfar specializes in the treatment of hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder problems. His interests include all aspects of upper extremity trauma and reconstruction, with special expertise in arthroscopic treatment of hand and upper extremity problems, such as the rotator cuff of the shoulder and elbow. He also focuses on joint reconstructive and salvage procedures for the hand, wrist, shoulder and elbow, including joint replacements, peripheral nerve surgery, and vascular surgery.