Research Interests by Division

OSResearchAt UVA


The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Virginia is among the national leaders in clinical, translational, and basic science research.  We are commited to contributing to the continuing evolution of our collective understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and pathology through research and scholarship.  Our faculty are experts in their respective fields holding leadership positions in several national and international Orthopaedic socieities, serving as chief editors for numerous leading Orthopaedic journals and textbooks, lecturing and presenting U.Va. reseach on the podium at national and international meetings, and participating as Visiting Professors for other Orthopaedic departments across the country.  Our faculty have published hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles, textbooks, and chapters.  We are proud of our commitment to research and our contributions to science of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Individual research interests by division are listed below.

Adult Reconstruction Division

Thomas E. Brown, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. Involved in clinical research concerning primary and revision hip and knee arthroplasty.

James A. Browne, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Division Head of Adult Reconstruction; Department Quality Officer; Medical Director of the Orthopaedic Outpatient Clinics.  Research interests include clinical outcomes, quality, and safety following hip and knee replacement. Ongoing projects include utilizing large data sets to elucidate the association between patient risk factors such as obesity and diabetes and their association with postoperative complications.  He current serves as the Primary Investigator for two active clinical trials involving joint replacement patients (PEPPER and SWIFT studies).

Quanjun Cui, MD Gwo-Jaw Wang Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Vice Chair for Research. Area of expertise: hip and knee replacement, femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), osteonecrosis, navigation and minimal invasive surgery. Research interests include (1) outcomes of total joint replacement surgery, (2) stem cell and gene therapy for musculoskeletal diseases including osteonecrosis and fractures, (3) development of novel composite bone graft substitutes, and (4) pathogenesis and treatment of osteonecrosis of the femoral head. Dr. Cui’s basic science research is supported by National Institute of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DOD), and Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF). He is currently serving as Principal Investigator on Outcomes of Total Knee Replacement using GPS Navigation System.

Read more about the Cui Lab →

Foot and Ankle Division

Joseph Park, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Dr. Park is active in clinical/translational research and biomechanical studies involving cartilage regeneration, tendon transfers, Achilles tendinopathy, ankle instability, peroneal tendon subluxation. His ongoing projects include animal and clinical studies involving tendon to bone healing, cartilage regeneration, bone graft augmentation for arthrodesis procedures, and optimization of weight bearing protocols after surgery. Many of his projects involve close collaborations with Musculoskeletal Radiology, Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering, and Kinesiology. Dr. Park is also active in orthopaedic implant design and biomechanical testing.

M. Truitt Cooper, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Dr. Cooper is active in research involving many different aspects of foot and ankle pathology.  He is the primary investigator for clinical trials studying ankle instability, plantar fasciitis and bone grafting options for fusions of the ankle and hindfoot.  He is also interested in studying the relationship between thyroid disorders and foot and ankle conditions.  Additionally he is working closely with the Center for Applied Biomechanics to study different foot and ankle injury patterns, as well as to investigate the kinematics of the ankle as it relates to total ankle replacement.

Venkat Perumal, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; research interests include: clinical outcome studies on foot deformities, allograft tendon reconstruction  for tendon pathology , arthritis, peroneal tendon subluxation and flat foot deformity correction.

Hand and Upper Extremity Division

A. Bobby Chhabra, MD Lillian T. Pratt Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; David A. Harrison Distinguished Educator, Division Head, Hand Surgery.  Area of expertise: hand, wrist, elbow, and congenital hand surgery.  Research interests include distal radius fractures, elbow injuries in throwing athletes and tissue engineering techniques for volumetric muscle loss in the hand.

Rashard Dacus, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is currently working on a research project to study the effect of EMG results on treatment plans/outcomes in patients with carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome.

Nicole Deal, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.  Research interests include: 1) nerve repair and regeneration; 2) muscle re-innervation using stem cells; 3) tissue engineering for nerve repair.

Aaron Freilich, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic surgery.  Research interests include identifying and tracking patient’s clinical outcomes after procedures to improve results in hand and wrist surgery and the use of data and  technology in orthopaedics and both resident and medical student education. Dr. Freilich is also interested in the biomechanics of injury and prevention.

Pediatrics Division and Gait Lab

Mark Abel, MD Charles J. Frankel Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Vice Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; Associate Chief Medical Officer for Surgical Services, University of Virginia Medical Center; Medical Director, University of Virginia Motion Analysis and Motor Performance Laboratory; Division Head, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics.  Dr. Abel’s research interest include:1) optimizing the outcome of Spinal surgery in children and adolescents;2) assessing and managing musculoskeletal deformity and movement impairments for children with cerebral palsy; 3) improving quality and safety in Operating Room environment

Mark J. Romness, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery; Secondary App’t in Pediatrics. He has focused on th treatment of children with musculoskeletal problems and the effectiveness of those treatments.  Children with cerebral palsy and related disorders represent a sub-specialized area of interest in his career. Areas within cerebral palsy include gait and functional mobility, treatment for spasticity and contractures and bracing.  Pediatric fractures as well as foot and ankle problems are also areas of special interest.

Prosthetics and Orthotics Division

The Division of Prosthetics and Orthotics is interested in future research collaborations with the gait lab exploring functional gait differences between different lower extremity bracing styles and designs for various types of impairments.  We are also interested in exploring gait patterns and energy consumption in lower extremity amputees for various socket styles and component choices.  Finally, we would like to like to explore possibilities of 3D printing custom orthotic devices from 3D CAD scans eliminating the traditional plaster model rectification and thermoforming techniques currently employed in the field.

Spine Division

Francis Shen, MD Warren G. Stamp Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division Head Spine Surgery, Director Spine Fellowship, Co-Director Spine Center. Involved with research involving improved fusion capacity following spinal decompression and instrumentation, spine surgery, spine fusion and mesenchymal cell based bone grafts for spine fusion. The purpose of his research is to develop a bone graft substitute that places osteogenic precursors, in the form of multipotential adipose-derived stromal cells, within bioabsorbable osteoconductive microspheres combined with an osteoinductive growth factor.

Adam Shimer, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. Treatment using gene therapy for intervertebral disc degeneration.

Anuj Singla, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.  Research interests include: spinal deformity, spinal injuries,  and scoliosis; outcome based studies for idiopathic and neuromuscular scoliosis.  Current projects: Injury risk of small female pilots in ejection seat scenarios (study conducted jointly by CAB and US Navy); Incidence of Spinal Cord anomalies in congenital Scoliosis (With Dr. Abel); Angulation of End Instrumented Vertebrae vs. Wedging of the disc below the fusion (Harms Study Group); Asymmetrical proximal level instrumentation in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (Harms Study Group)

Hamid Hassanzadeh, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.  Research interests include: clinical outcomes in adult spinal surgeries and deformity surgeries; biomechanics of the spine.

Sports Medicine Division

Stephen Brockmeier, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Team Physician University of Virginia Athletics; Associate Team Physician, James Madison University Athletics; Dr. Brockmeier has ongoing basic science and clinical research in a number of areas primarily involving the shoulder and knee. Areas of interest include techniques for the management of biceps tendon pathology, biologic and structural augmentation of rotator cuff repair, management of shoulder instability in the contact or overhead athlete, and advancement in the techniques and outcomes of conventional/reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. He was awarded a UVa Research and Development grant for a cadaveric biomechanical investigation of a novel technique for tenodesis of the long head biceps tendon. He is currently the Principle Investigator for two funded studies, one evaluating stemless total shoulder arthroplasty and one investigating outcomes and healing by ultrasound after biceps tenodesis. He served as Deputy Editor for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery Sports Medicine Highlights, serves on the Editorial board for two subspecialty journals, and has presented research and been educational faculty at many national meetings including AAOS and AOSSM. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and review articles in the areas of sports medicine and shoulder reconstruction.

Eric W. Carson, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Research interests include osteochondral injuries, ligament grafts, shoulder instability, articular cartilage matrix degradation, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology and cartilage research.

David Diduch, MD  A. R. Shands Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Head Orthopaedic Team Physician University of Virginia Athletics. Shoulder and knee surgery. Dr. Diduch is very active in translational and clinical research, with over 20 projects currently ongoing in his division. Areas of interest include: 1. articular cartilage repair for damaged knee cartilage. Enrolling in multi-center clinical trial; 2. a novel, implantable spring device for the knee to unload arthritic joints. Enrolling in a multi-center clinical trial; 3. development and studying new devices and methods to fix or tenodese the biceps tendon in the shoulder; 4. improved techniques in ACL reconstruction, meniscal repair, and rotator cuff repair; 5. Enrolling in a prospective, randomized trial to evaluate pain control with injection of a local anesthetic following knee arthroscopy.

F. Winston Gwathmey, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Associate Team Physican University of Virginia Athletics, Associate Team Physician James Madison University Athletics; Dr. Gwathmey is an editor for the prestigious Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. and has edited numerous textbooks including DeLee and Drez’s Principles of Sports Medicine.  He has authored numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed articles and has presented research at national meetings including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Arthroscopy Association of North America.  Research interests include: 1) Femoroacetabular impingement and the mechanics and pathomechanics of the hip joint; 2) ACL injury; 3) Multiple ligament knee injuries and knee dislocation; 4) Shoulder instability.

Mark Miller, MD S. Ward Casscells Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Head Orthopaedic Team Physician for the FCS National Champion JMU Dukes, and UVA Sports Medicine Division Head. Dr. Miller is an internationally renown surgeon with expertise in complex knee surgery to include revision ACL reconstruction and multiple ligament knee injuries. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals including The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (where he served as the Deputy Editor for Sports Medicine) and The American Journal of Sports Medicine (where he is a member of the Editorial Board). He has also published 30 textbooks including the “best selling” Review of Orthopaedics, now in its 7th Edition. Dr. Miller was recently awarded the prestigious George D. Rovere Award for Education by the American Orthpaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM). He is a former chairman of three different committees for the AOSSM and is also active in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Miller is the Founder and Director of the Miller Review Course–the most popular orthopaedic review course in the world. He has received recognition as a top sports medicine surgeon by several agencies to include Orthpaedics Weekly and Becker’s. Dr. Miller is actively researching ACL tunnel positioning, revision ACL surgery, meniscal repair techniques, and Knee multiple ligament surgery.

Brian C. Werner, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Team Physician James Madison University Athletics.  Dr. Werner has a significant interest in clinical, biomechanical and translational basic science research, and has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers on a wide variety of orthopaedic topics and has presented his research locally, regionally and nationally over 200 times.  He has won numerous national awards for his research.  Dr. Werner has ongoing basic science, biomechanical and clinical research in a number of areas, with a focus on the knee and shoulder.  His current interests include clinical outcomes after knee and shoulder surgery, shoulder arthroplasty outcomes, biomechanical and cadaveric studies of the knee and shoulder, cartilage injury and repair, and large database research.  He serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery – American Volume, American Journal of Sports Medicine and Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.

Joseph Hart, PhD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.  Patients who opt for reconstruction after anterior cruciate ligament injury often want to remain active. Unfortunately, these patients often experience early-onset osteoarthritis.  My research focus, which builds from my student experience and my research in patient-oriented outcomes, aims to help patients with major knee injuries or surgery achieve their goals and lead a healthy lifestyle.  Central to this research is identification modifiable neuromuscular factors that may expose patients to risk during activity and exercise, the development of translational therapies and rehabilitation strategies, and intervening in these patients early and often after major knee joint injuries.

Trauma Division

David M. Kahler, MD Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. Special interest in trauma surgery, shoulder surgery, and computer assisted surgery. His research centers around development of new techniques and workflows in image guided surgery and validation of existing techniques. Current work emphasizes expansion of existing techniques for pelvic fractures toward use in routine long-bone fracture care, and causes of failure in lateral locked plating of femoral fractures.

David Weiss, MD Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Head of the Division of  Orthopaedic Trauma.  Areas of expertise: Severe trauma to pelvis and acetabulum (hip socket), fractures involving joints and bones of the hip, knee, thigh, leg, ankle and foot.  Research interests: Serves as the primary investigator at UVA for several multi center clinical trials involving METRC (multiple extremity trauma research consortium) which investigate the functional recovery and burden of severe orthopaedic injuries.  Also works with the UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics on blast injury research in relation to military vehicles.

Seth Yarboro, MD Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.  Research interests include outcomes studies, biomechanical testing, and comparison of techniques in the field of orthopaedic trauma. Specific topics that are under investigation at this time include: prevention of infection in open fractures, fixation techniques for ankle syndesmosis injuries, X-ray imaging techniques in the lower extremity, and evaluation of treatment trends in orthopaedic trauma. We expect that the information from these studies will be applied to clinical practice, improving our ability to treat these traumatic injuries.