Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Rocky S. Tuan, PhD

  • Distinguished Professor
  • Vice Chair, Orthopaedic Research
  • Arthur J. Rooney Sr. Professor in Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Professor, Department of Bioengineering

Dr. Rocky S. Tuan is the director of the Cellular and Molecular Engineering Lab, located in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. Rocky is a distinguished professor, the Executive Vice Chairman for Orthopaedic Research, and serves as the Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., Chair Professor in Sports Medicine within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He also holds a secondary appointment as a professor within the Department of Bioengineering.

"My longstanding research activities in musculoskeletal biology and tissue regeneration cover basic science and engineering, as well as translational and clinical applications. In basic research, my interests range from skeletal patterning and embryonic cartilage development, to mechanistic aspects of cell signaling and matrix biology, to the biology of adult stem cells and reprogrammed stem cells. My translational and engineering investigations include nanomaterials, bioscaffold design, bioreactor technology, the biology of cell-material interactions, and tissue engineering and regeneration. My clinical research topics of interest include periprosthetic osteolysis, molecular diagnosis of orthopaedic infection, development of biodegradable drug delivery systems, articular cartilage repair, and developmental defects of the skeletal system. I have a long, established history in the biology of adult stem cells, particularly sourcing and mechanistic analysis of the signaling mechanisms regulating their proliferation and differentiation. In addition, I have extensive experience in applying adult stem cells for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. We have also studied the trophic influence of adult stem cells on the immune and vasculoendothelial systems as well as tissue functions."

Education & Training

  • PhD, Rockefeller University, New York, NY
  • BA, Berea College, Berea, KY

Research Interests

Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering (CCME) and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh

CCME research is carried out in the newly established Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering (CCME) at the University of Pittsburgh, located on second floor of the BSP-2 Building. The CCME represents the University’s continued commitment to interdisciplinary research activities that link biomedical sciences and engineering disciplines. Dr. Tuan, has been recruited to direct this new center, which will include faculty members from various departments in the School of Medicine, Dental School, as well as School of Engineering. Dr. Tuan’s lab in the CCME is located one floor away from the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and adjacent to the Department of Bioengineering. Dr. Tuan’s lab is also located two floors away from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in the new BSP-2 Building. Thus, expertise in cell and molecular biology, bioengineering, and regenerative medicine is amply represented in the immediate environment of the performance site.

Dr. Tuan's laboratory is a brand new facility that currently occupies approximately 4,000 square feet of contiguous laboratory space and consists of an open-laboratory set up that can accommodate more than 20 researchers for wet lab and engineering activities. Dedicated spaces and instrumentations are available for cell and tissue culture, biomaterials fabrication, biomechanics, microscopy and imaging, and molecular analyses. Ample computers with ethernet connection are available for lab personnel to access online literature and data transfer. There is ready access to core facilities, such as fluorescence-activated cell sorting equipment, confocal laser scanning microscope, micro-CT, X-ray imager, and genomics and proteomics facility.

Animal and vivarium facility is a brand new component of the BSP-2 building, located on the first floor of the building, and consists of 15,000 square feet of space, with more than 50% being support space and 300 square feet for rodent surgery.