Research in motion
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Orthopaedic disorders of the major joints, specifically, osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joints have an enormous economic and functional impact on our society, affecting millions of patients every day. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, replacement of diseased joints with metal and plastic components was developed as a salvage technique for elderly, and relatively sedentary patients. Now, with an aging and active population that expects to maintain function and mobility, the demand for major joint reconstruction is increasing worldwide. Younger, heavier, and active patients place greater demands on biomaterials and implants. Our collaborative team is focused on developing new biomaterials that can meet the challenge of skeletal repair, and joint replacement, and on exploring tissue-engineered cartilage as a possible biological replacement of diseased and arthritic joints. An interdisciplinary team approach to these goals has resulted in peer-reviewed publications, graduate student education opportunities, and extramural funding. Going forward, a major goal is to leverage our resources to create products that can be positioned profitably in the commercially-attractive orthopaedic device market.