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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science (CORTS)

Research in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation is performed through the Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science, which was created in 2005 as the Division of Musculoskeletal Sciences and expanded to a center in 2018 to accommodate the expanded scope of basic science, translational research and regenerative medicine interests within the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

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Research Leadership

April Armstrong, MD, MSc, is C. McCollister Evarts Professor and Chair, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

Read more about Dr. Armstrong

John Elfar, MD, FACS, is vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation and director of the Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science.

Read more about Dr. Elfar

Research Projects

Research Highlights Expand answer

The multidisciplinary scientific staff in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation consists of research technicians, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students and administrative staff. Orthopaedic residents and medical students are actively involved in both basic science and clinical faculty-sponsored projects.

Specific research interests of the faculty include:

  • Molecular biology of cartilage development and osteoarthritis
  • Transgenic animal models of musculoskeletal disease
  • Bone and cartilage cell biology
  • Biophysical signal transduction as it applies to orthopaedic problems
  • Pathophysiology of age-related and post-menopausal osteoporosis
  • Computational biomechanics
  • Effects of exercise on bone and cartilage
  • Assessment of orthopaedic implant function and failure
  • Matrix metalloproteinase expression in connective tissue
  • Tendon/ligament mechanics and mechanobiology
  • Roles of non-coding RNAs and retrotransposons in skeletal biology
Clinical Studies Expand answer

The Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has an active clinical science research program and frequently seeks volunteers to participate in clinical trials. These studies help scientists improve diagnostic techniques, develop better treatments and collaborate with other researchers.

Clinical research projects include investigation into thromboembolic disease and heterotopic ossification, as well as clinical outcome studies of implants and specific operative procedures.

Current Studies

View active orthopaedics clinical trials in StudyFinder, the searchable database of clinical research taking place at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.

Learn More About Clinical Research

Contact the Department

To speak to someone about current orthopaedics and rehabilitation studies, call 717-531-4686 or email dbennett@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

Research Facilities Expand answer

The Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has more than 5,000 square feet of laboratory space. Resources include state-of-the-art equipment for experimental and computational biomechanics, molecular biology, cell culture, image analysis and cellular electrophysiology.

Major equipment includes three cell-culture facilities, a dedicated darkroom with digital microscopic imaging and gel documentation facilities, HPLC, equipment for histomorphometric analysis of hard and soft tissue, Interlaken servohydraulic and Instron materials testing machines (with a fully supported computer network for data analysis) and graphic presentation.

Research facilitiesalso include a surgical suite suitable for small-animal surgery, cadaveric specimen preparation and demonstration of surgical techniques.

Areas are dedicated to the following:

  • Biomechanics
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Tissue culture
  • Histomorphometry
  • Image analysis
  • Fluorescent microscopy
  • Electrophysiology
  • Computer modeling

Additionally, all department members have access to four mass spectrometers, flow cytometry and flow sorting, automated sequencing, histological services, real-time PCR, confocal microscopy, laser dissection microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, DNA array analysis and custom DNA and protein array synthesis.

More About Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation

For Referring Providers: Ortho Update Expand answer

Penn State Health Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation offers a website dedicated to providing physicians with the latest in ortho news.

Penn State Health Ortho Update publishes articles by department personnel to share discoveries and successes.

See Ortho Update details

Continuing Education Programs Expand answer

Upcoming continuing education events in orthopaedics and rehabilitation, if available, are listed below.

Other Educational Programs Expand answer

Through Penn State College of Medicine, the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation offers educational programs for medical students, residents and fellows, all with a research component.

Learn more about residencies and fellowships here

Learn more about MD student clerkships, electives and acting internships here

Patient Care Expand answer

The Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation offers leading-edge care for conditions that affect the bones, muscles and joints (musculoskeletal system).

The department provides expert treatment for everything from arthritis, muscle and tendon injuries, foot and hand problems, sports injuries, complex spine disorders, traumatic bone injuries and bone cancer.

Learn more about adult orthopaedics at Penn State Health

Learn more about pediatric dermatology at Penn State Children’s Hospital

Latest News from Orthopaedics and Rehabilitiation

Contact the Department

For details on research in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and on the Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science, contact Sherry Hoffman at 717-531-4686 or shoffman4@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.