Department of Orthopaedic Surgery


The spinal surgery fellowship is a year-long training program following the completion of an orthopedic residency. The focus of the fellow is to become an expert in treating diseases of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. The spine program has a busy clinical side focusing on degenerative, traumatic, infectious, neoplastic, and arthritic afflictions of the spine. It has become one of the most sought after spinal fellowships in the country.

The Oakland-based hospitals of UPMC serve as the the location for the clinical setting and the research laboratories. UPMC is a referral center and level-one trauma center. The spine research laboratories include the Ferguson Laboratory for cell, tissue, and gene therapy research; the laboratory for biomechanical and robotic studies; and the cervical spine motion studies lab.

Clinical service staff perform more than 1,200 spinal surgeries a year. The staff includes Dr. William F. Donaldson, fellowship director; Dr. Joon Lee, director of clinical research; and Dr. Jeremy Shaw, director of spine education. Surgical procedures include major anterior and posterior spinal operations with experience in all types of advanced spinal implants.

The spinal research laboratories have won numerous national and international awards for the spinal projects and presentations. Twelve graduate students, post-docs, residents, and students work in the labs in addition to staff. Each year, we have two clinical fellows and two to four research fellows.