Washington University Orthopaedic Surgery Ranked First in 2013 NIH Awards

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been ranked first in the nation in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for orthopaedic research, according to figures released by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. It’s the fourth time in the past five years that the department has held the top spot.

In 2013, the department received more than $6 million in peer-reviewed NIH research grants, more than 10 percent of the total NIH funding to support orthopaedic research. The University of Rochester, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Pennsylvania round out the top five orthopaedic surgery departments in NIH funding.

A good deal of the funding supports the Washington University Center for Musculoskeletal Research, a joint effort involving investigators from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases.

“The ranking is a testament to the hard work and creativity of our faculty, staff, students, fellows and colleagues in the Musculoskeletal Research Center,” said Matthew J. Silva, PhD, the Julia and Walter R. Peterson Research Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. “It also reflects the supportive research environment we have in the department and at the School of Medicine. Most importantly, with this support, we recognize our great responsibility to advance basic science and clinical research to improve orthopaedic knowledge and patient care.”

Silva, also a professor in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and materials science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is one of five Washington University investigators ranked in the top 25 in funding for orthopaedic research. Nine Washington University investigators are listed among the top 55 researchers receiving NIH funding.

“As recently as 1995, there were no NIH grants for our young department,” said Richard H. Gelberman, MD, the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “It has been very gratifying to see the growth of meaningful orthopaedic research in the years since then. We now have a group of extraordinarily talented scientists who are exploring critical musculoskeletal issues such as fracture healing, bone tumors, arthritis and cartilage regeneration, and tendon and rotator cuff repair. We believe the research currently underway will lead to markedly improved outcomes for patients for many years to come.”

Other research in the department involves better understanding the genetic roots of osteoarthritis; developing more effective treatments for osteoporosis; and learning more about bone healing and the biomechanics of orthopaedic implants to improve quality of life for patients who suffer fractures or require joint-replacement surgery.

For more information, visit the BRIMR website and click on the hyperlink next to Orthopedics:  http://www.brimr.org/NIH_Awards/2013/NIH_Awards_2013.htm.