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Orthopaedic Bioengineering

Orthopaedic Bioengineering builds upon strong programs in biomechanics and biomaterials. The field embraces the study of joint function, prosthetic replacement, and a broad range of orthopaedic related research such as electrical stimulation effects on fracture repair, injury, repair, and regeneration of tendons and ligaments, and biomechanicial effects on bone cells. In addition, initiatives in biointeractive materials and bone and tendon tissue engineering and regeneration are underway. In the Ph.D. program in Orthopaedic Bioengineering, courses from many academic departments reflect this broad spectrum of research activities and constitute the richness of this field.

The McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, affiliated with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine and the Department of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, encompasses a broad range of orthopaedic research activity in over 10,000 sq ft of continuous research space. The McKay faculty consists of experts in orthopaedic bioengineering, orthopaedic surgery, biochemistry, and cell and molecular biology. As such, essentially all projects cross disciplines and integrate the fundamental basic science and engineering with the clinically applied. Bioengineers, life scientists, and orthopaedic surgeons work together on important problems facing the field today and in the future. The orthopaedic bioengineering group here focuses on injury, healing, repair, and regeneration of soft connective tissues (such as tendons and ligaments) using traditional and tissue engineering approaches. Additional studies relate to shoulder and elbow biomechanics in attempts to understand the roles of various joint structures to joint mechanics and joint stability.

Penn's Center for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering represents a multidisciplinary research group in the Department of Bioengineering involving faculty from the Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Dentistry, and Medicine. Since the late 1980's when the challenge of in vitro synthesis of bone tissue was first addressed, the investigation of mechanistic effects of materials on cellular functions, specifically cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation and extracellular matrix formation, was at the core of the Center's program. Other studies have focused on the combined effects of microgravvity and substrate material o cellular functions; material surface modification and controlled release of growth factors; and in vivo functionality of tissues treated with hybrid material - in vitro engineered tissue.

In April 1999, Dr. Louis J. Soslowsky, Director of the McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, with colleagues from the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery, Bioengineering, and other departments across the Penn campus, was awarded a $1,000,000 Special Opportunity Award by the Whitaker Foundation, for "Orthopaedic Bioengineering: Formation of a New Education, Training, and Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania". The award includes development of a new graduate curriculum in Orthopaedic Bioengineering, funds for the renovation and equipping of a new, state-of-the-art Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory, and funds for recruitment of new faculty, post-docs, graduate, and undergraduate students.

More information on orthopaedic bioengineering at Penn's Department of Bioengineering, please visit http://www.seas.upenn.edu/be/research/ortho.html

For more information on the McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Penn's School of Medicine, please visit http://www.med.upenn.edu/orl/

For more information on the Center for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, please visit http://www.seas.upenn.edu/be/bmtlab/

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