Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery offers services and programs through the following Divisions. Use these links to directly access all our Department sites.

Welcome to the Department of

Orthopaedic Surgery



  • Parnassus Heights
  • 513 Parnassus Avenue
    S-1164, Box 0514
    San Francisco, CA 94143
    Phone: 415-502-3056

Tamara Alliston, PhD

Tamara Alliston, PhD
Associate Professor


Tamara N. Alliston, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Her research focuses on the molecular basis of arthritis and the molecular pathways that control the growth and differentiation of skeletal tissues.

Alliston received her BA in biology from Trinity University in Texas, then earned her PhD in Cell Biology from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She became a post-doctoral scientst in Dr. Rik Derynck’s laboratory at UCSF, and was appointed Assistant Adjunct Professor at UCSF in 2002.

While a postdoc in Derynck’s lab, Alliston discovered that TGF-[beta] inhibits terminal osteoblast differentiation by repressing Runx-2, a transcriptional regulator. She has continued to study the molecular pathways that regulate TGF-[beta] in development and tumorigenesis. She continues to study TGF-[beta] and has recently identified the growth factor as a key regulator of bone matrix mechanical properties and composition.

Alliston plans to continue to combine molecular, cellular, physiological and materials science methods to investigate the control of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and skeletal tissue function, convinced that this interdisciplinary approach will lead to methods to prevent musculoskeletal disease or improve skeletal repair.

In 2006, Alliston was awarded the Harold M. Frost Young Investigator Award and in 2007, the John Haddad Young Investigator Award, presented by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, recognizing her research contributions and her potential to advance research in bone biology in the future.  She is also proud of the accomplishments of students she has mentored, who have received prestigious fellowships and awards for their research, including the UCSF School of Medicine Dean’s Prize in Student Research.