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.


Molecular Biology Lab

Director: Ralph Marcucio, PhD, Assistant Professor

The major focus of the work performed in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory is to examine the processes that occur during bone regeneration after traumatic injury. Understanding the events that occur during fracture repair is essential for developing therapies to help people that exhibit difficulties in bone healing. For example, delayed or non-union afflict approximately 10% of all people undergoing fracture repair. By understanding how the body normally responds to orthopaedic trauma, we are laying the foundation for the development of new therapeutic regimens to treat a wide variety of skeletal pathologies. Our research utilizes a murine tibia fracture model that was developed by members of the laboratory and is used in other laboratories throughout the national and international orthopaedic research community.

Current lab projects:
1. Role of muscle in bone healing
2. Role of inflammation in bone healing
3. Role of angiogenesis in bone healing
4. Genotype-phenotype correlations during skeletal development
5. Role of continuous phenotypic variation to disease production

Research:  Chelsea S. Bahney, PhD, Assistant Adjunct Professor

The focus of my laboratory is to develop novel translational technologies that promote musculoskeletal regeneration by recapitulating embryonic development and repair. My background includes training in both Chemical Engineering and Cell & Developmental Biology, and the laboratory is modeled to reflect this interdisciplinary approach to research. Our work aims to utilize biologically modified polymers to promote a sequence of biological milestones that parallel native repair. The long-term goal of our research is to solve problems that will have a direct and significant impact on human health.

Current Projects:
1) Tissue engineering strategies to promote endochondral bone regeneration 2) Transdifferentiation of cartilage to bone during fracture repair
3) The role of the nerve in fracture repair
4) Polytraumatic Injuries: How brain trauma influences fracture healing

Research:  Nathan M. Young, Assistant Adjunct Professor

Dr. Young is an evolutionary biologist with a background in biological anthropology, anatomy and embryology, and developmental biology. Using both classical comparative and modern experimental approaches, Dr. Young’s research focuses on the development of the limbs and shoulder, and particularly how the process of morphogenesis has impacted the evolution of uniquely human adaptations like bipedalism and throwing.