Orthopaedic Surgery Research

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has a strong research infrastructure that positions us to pioneer new treatments and improve understanding of orthopaedic conditions. Our focus on research also provides our trainees with a variety of research experiences and opportunities to support faculty research.

Our department has benefited from Wake Forest Innovations, a new division of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center that awards grants to support the commercialization of innovative ideas and products relevant to our mission. The department also receives funding from the Department of Defense, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and industry partners.

Research Faculty

Our faculty is committed to pursuing clinically important research designed to improve patient care, while training the next generation of academic orthopaedic clinician surgeons.

Support Provided by the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory 

The faculty and staff of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory provide research support for the residents and faculty in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Specific areas of expertise available in the laboratory include:

  • Development and use of animal models in research
  • Cadaveric studies
  • Tissue culture
  • Molecular biology techniques
  • Tissue engineering
  • Basic statistical support
  • Manuscript preparation/editing
  • Development and implementation of clinical research

Meet our research faculty.

Orthopaedic Research Highlights

Our current research initiatives span all orthopaedic subspecialties, from orthopaedic oncology to trauma and sports medicine. Some of our current highlights include:

Large Peripheral Nerve Gaps Study

Zhongyu Li, MD, PhD, associate professor with a subspecialty in hand surgery, has received United States Department of Defense funding in collaboration with Thomas L. Smith, PhD, to study repair of large peripheral nerve gaps using acellular nerve allografts seeded with amniotic fluid-derived stem cells. This repair technique will be evaluated to determine if it promotes and accelerates nerve regeneration.

Bioengineered Meniscal Replacements

Associate Professor Cristin Ferguson, MD, one of our sports medicine physicians, received a K08 Award from the National Institutes of Health to support her research designing bioengineered meniscal replacements. Dr. Ferguson was also awarded funding from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation Goldberg Arthritis Research to study the role of growth and differentiation factor 5 (GDF5) in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis.

Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC)

Our orthopaedic trauma faculty members—Drs. Carroll, HalvorsonScott and Teasdall—are participating in the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC), a multicenter consortium established with support from the United States Department of Defense. The consortium was initiated to develop a network of study sites to perform clinical outcome studies to provide treatment guidelines for managing high-energy orthopaedic trauma in wounded warriors and civilians. Our department is one of 24 core centers. These studies are supported by $80 million in Department of Defense funding. Our department is ranked as one of the top 10 centers of the consortium.

Physician Scientist Training Program

Our two-year Orthopaedic Physician Scientist Training Program provides participants with two years in our orthopaedic research laboratories to pursue basic science initiatives in their respective field of interest. Learn more about our Physician Scientist Training Program.