Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Orthopaedic Research Laboratory

The Orthopaedic Research Laboratory staffs a diverse team of world-renowned experts in molecular, mechanical, mechanobiology, and regenerative research. These researchers work collaboratively to take science from theory to life-changing solutions. 


Michelle Darabant
Research Administrator


Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic and Spine Research

Nam Vo, PhD
Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD

Throughout its history, Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic and Spine Research has taken a leading role in updating the general public and the scientific community on the exciting potential of molecular approaches to the treatment of spinal disorders. The Spine Research Laboratory is actively engaged in the development of novel cell and molecular biology-based treatments of intervertebral disc degeneration. Recently, the laboratory has developed a rabbit model of intervertebral disc degeneration with quantitative outcome measures: X-ray, MRI, histology, and gene expression. 

MechanoBiology Laboratory

James H-C Wang, PhD

The MechanoBiology Laboratory is dedicated to pursue research in areas of fibroblast mechanobiology, soft-tissue wound healing, functional tissue engineering, and biological applications of microfabrication and sensor technologies. The research team actively studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tendinopathy, a prevalent tendon disorder that affects millions of people in occupational and athletic settings. The research team also investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of scar tissue formation in injured tendons and ligaments and connective tissue responses to mechanical loading. 

Molecular Therapeutics Laboratory

Bing Wang, MD, PhD

The Molecular Therapeutics Laboratory under the direction of Bing Wang MD., PhD., has interest focused on gene- and cell-based therapies for musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, mainly by using recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV), lenti- and retro- viral vectors. Moreover, the research team has been actively engaged in multiple applications of different viral vectors for gene and cell therapies combined with tissue engineering, such as the in vivo gene therapy for the treatments of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and intervertebral disc degeneration, the ex vivo gene transfer-based genetic modification of stem cell and gene-activated biomaterials for bone and cartilage healing. The therapeutic approach combining gene, cell and tissue engineering represents the most promising approaches to aid in the repair and regeneration of muscle, bone, ligament, tendon, and joint capsules. Based on the knowledge and experience with viral vector development and gene therapy, the laboratory has been also actively engaged in multiple applications of different viral vectors for gene and cell therapies through collaboration with many laboratories internal and external of the University of Pittsburgh, as a gene vector core facility of the Department.