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Laboratory for Regenerative Technologies in Orthopaedic Surgery


Hsu Lab


The overarching goal of our research is to improve upon current methods of bone healing.  In particular, we aim to develop more efficient and cost-effective methods of spine fusion that are associated with fewer adverse effects.  We utilize several different approaches to accomplish these goals such as:


  • Stem cell-based therapies
  • Nanotechnology-based and synthetic matrices
  • Demineralized bone matrices
  • Recombinant growth factors
  • Combination approaches to bone healing


One research arm involves the use of mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human adipose tissue to elicit spine fusion in a point-of-care protocol.  In this research, we isolate mesenchymal stem cells from human liposuction aspirates and evaluate their capacity—in conjunction with both standard and novel carriers—to elicit bone formation.  A second arm of our research utilizes a novel nanotechnology developed by our collaborator, Dr. Samuel Stupp, Director of the NU Institute for Bionanotechnology in Medicine (IBNAM).  Here, we employ a self-assembling, biodegradable nanogel composed of cylindrical nanofibers which contain an epitope directed at bone morphogenic protein-2 (BMP-2) in an attempt to facilitate spine fusion in our rat posterolateral spinal arthrodesis model.  


Our research also focuses more broadly on mechanisms of bone healing.  In this portion of our research, we investigate the molecular pathways by which normal bone healing occurs, as well as mechanisms by which these processes are disrupted, such as after exposure to smoke and other environmental contaminants.