Basic Science

Basic Science research and education is conducted by the academic faculty, residents and research staff. Research and education are beneficial to patients with musculoskeletal disorders, to the physicians and surgeons diagnosing and treating the patients, to the West Virginia University Hospitals/WVU Health Sciences Center system. This all contributes to knowledge and advancement of medical science and to the future health of everyone, including those musculoskeletal conditions that particularly affect West Virginians. The current primary focus areas are:

  • Immunology
    Immunology is the study of the immune system and its role in protecting an organism from infection and disease. Recently, it has become abundantly clear that the immune system influences numerous biological processes and disease states not traditionally thought to be immunological. In Orthopaedics, knowledge of the immune system is vital for developing our understanding of prosthetic joint infection, traumatic injury, musculoskeletal oncology, and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Tissue Engineering

    Tissue engineering assembles biologically active molecules, cells, and cellular scaffolds into functional constructs to repair and maintain damaged tissues. In Orthopaedics, tissue engineering is being explored to restore diseased cartilage, ligaments, and bones. In the future, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine may even provide an alternative to prosthetics for amputation patients via engineered limb regeneration.

  • Nanotechnology

    Nanotechnology refers to the development of technology on a nanometer scale. The field of nanomedicine leverages nanotechnology to improve our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases in living organisms. Currently, Orthopaedics employs nanotechnology to improve implanted device coatings, prevent and treat prosthetic joint infections, and deliver therapeutics to musculoskeletal oncology patients.

  • Infection prevention and treatment

    Prosthetic joint infection is a severe complication of joint replacement surgery, affecting 1% to 2% of primary arthroplasties. With primary joint replacement surgeries continuing to rise, prosthetic joint infection will remain a prominent concern in Orthopaedics for the foreseeable future. Orthopaedics research is presently focusing on infection prevention and treatment via the development of improved revision surgical procedures, antimicrobial implant coatings, and enhanced antibiotic delivery methods.

  • Musculoskeletal Oncology

    Musculoskeletal oncology is an orthopaedic sub-specialty that focuses on the surgical treatment of benign and malignant musculoskeletal tumors. Musculoskeletal oncologists work in concert with numerous medical specialists to provide care to patients with sarcomas afflicting the bone and surrounding soft tissues. Orthopaedic research seeks to improve the prognosis of musculoskeletal oncology patients by developing novel therapeutics, enhanced screening and monitoring tools, and refined surgical procedures.

  • Inflammation

    Inflammation is a natural response to tissue damage and an essential part of the healing process. During inflammation, immune cells migrate to the injury site to protect the organism from infection and initiate tissue repair. However, under certain conditions the immune system can become dysfunctional, leading to chronic inflammation and disease onset. By developing an understanding of inflammation and the processes that regulate it, orthopaedists can improve treatment approaches to prosthetic joint infection, traumatic injury, oncologic disease, and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

More Information

For more information regarding Orthopaedics Research at WVU click here